This weeks tester is: Jenna Van Winkle and her family from Ames, IA. Jenna is a wife and mother to two handsome little boys, Kruise and Riggins. Her husband is a varsity football couch at the local high school in Ames, IA and also helps manage the Ames Max Oxygen CrossFit gym.
Here’s what Jenna had to say about the meal plans and Paleo Nick:
“I absolutely love Paleo Nick’s meal plans and what is has done for our family. I was so happy to be able to be a tester. Kruise and Riggins helped me with a couple of the recipes, mainly because they insisted that they get to press the blender button and stir things. Paleo Nick came to Max Oxygen CrossFit about a year ago and I immediately fell in love with the concept of someone else deciding what we were going to eat and giving me a grocery list. It takes all of the thinking out of it for me. I enjoy the cooking aspect, it has always been finding recipes and assembling a grocery list that was cumbersome. Adopting the meal plans from Paleo Nick has allowed our family to eat a good amount of our meals from fresh, home-prepped, paleo meals, which brings me comfort as a momma and wife to know that I am making my men stuff that they enjoy and I know is good for them. I do PaleoNick meal plans 2-3 times a month.”
Approximate Meal Plan Cost As Prescribed:
Chain grocery store (Kroger): $125.00
Warehouse store (Costco or Sam’s): $105.00
The amount you will spend will depend on your geographic location and how much you rely on bulk purchases. As an example, you can get 1 quart of extra light olive oil at Kroger for $19.99 or you can get 4 quarts at Costco for $16.50. You follow? Meat and produce will also be less at the warehouse stores, but might require you purchase more than you’ll need for this plan.
Customize Your Plan and Shop It Up!
I have created a customize-able grocery list in the form of an Excel spreadsheet. Even if you’re not good with Excel, I’ve set it up in a foolproof way that even “The Jo!” could handle. Follow these instructions:
- Open the document and click on the tab at the bottom that says “Menu item & Ingredient Brkdown”.
- At the top, you’ll see the number “1” in bold just below each menu item. You can change this number to correspond with the number of portions that you’d like to make. Say you want to make a half batch of the Chipotle Jicama Slaw, change the “1” below the Slaw to a “.5” and it will halve the listed ingredients for you.
- Click back to the tab that says “Meal Plan 16.14 Grocery List” and your quantities will be updated.
- Print out the grocery list from the first tab only.
- Compare what you need to what you have on hand and finalize your list.
Then, head to the grocery store and make your purchases swiftly and efficiently.
I want you to knock this out in one shopping session, two cooking sessions, and one short finishing session. I’ll explain these now, but want you to scroll down to the notes on each meal below. They are listed under each picture.
In cooking session one:
- Prepare your Super Radical Slow Cooker Ribs and Sweets, place it in the slow cooker, set the slow cooker on a foil lined sheet pan, and place it on your counter or in your garage to cook overnight.
- Prepare the Chicken Tortilla Soup. Enjoy this as your meal and store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze up to 6 months.
- Clean up the kitchen and pat yourself on the back for a day well done.
In cooking session two:
- Portion out the Ribs and Sweets. Refrigerate or freeze your portions and clean out the slow cooker. Prepare the Beef Stew with Green Chiles & Yams and place into your slow cooker. Place on a foil lined sheet pan, and place in it your garage or leave it on the counter to cook for the next 10-12 hours.
- Prepare the Chipotle Jicama Slaw. Portion out and properly store in the refrigerator for up to one week. (You may not want to dress the slaw all at once if you’re not planning to feed an army, or halve this recipe, because it makes a very large portion)
- Prepare the Bacon Wrapped Chicken Fingers and Massie Mayo (if needed), to make the chipotle mayo garnish. Pair this with a portion of the slaw from above and you have a nicely balanced meal. Properly store any remaining portions in your refrigerator or freezer, but this is highly unlikely.
- Portion out the Beef Stew once it has finished cooking and portion it out. Store these in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze up to 6 months.
- Clean up the kitchen and polish up that sink!
In finishing session:
- Prepare the Sausage and Greatest Paleo Pizza. Enjoy this as your lunch or dinner. Properly store any leftovers for up to a week.
- Sit back and take it all in. Your Paleo Bank Account is stocked and now you are a Culinary Ninja who is ready to tackle life with energy, clarity, and confidence. Be sure to tell your friends about PaleoNick.com!
Notes:“This dish takes minimal effort to prepare. It requires very few ingredients, which leads to a simple process and minimal time needed for prepping! I love how it makes the house smell. I served this to my parents who were in town for the weekend, along with my husband and two boys. This reheats really well for my one and two year old boys who absolutely love the meat and sweet potato combination” Jenna stated.
She says “I have made this in the past and did not cut apart the ribs, this time cutting between each of the ribs made it a lot easier to assemble and fit into the crockpot. I don’t think I used enough of the Super Radical Rib Rub, so we ended up salting it lightly before eating.”
Jenna spent 20 minutes, looked for 10 hours and yielded 10 servings from this recipe.
Notes: “This soup is amazing! I was blown away by the delicious taste of flavors. I didn’t think I would like the blended texture, but topping it with the corn tortillas, avocado and cilantro makes the dish. We will definitely be making this recipe again” Jenna says.
“I had a hard time with the transfer to my blender and back to the pot. The soup did not all fit in my blender, so I had to ladle the liquid back into the pot in order to fit in all the chunks of vegetables. Additionally it was difficult for me to get the corn tortillas crispy without burning some of them. Baking the chicken did not produce any juices for me to pour into the pot, but can’t say it made a difference” she notes.
Jenna spent 50 minutes prepping and cooking this meal and made 5 good-sized, 4 block portions.
Notes:“I make this stew often, it is one of my husband’s favorites. It re-heats well and is so hearty” Jenna says.
“The last few times I have made it, I cut the salt to 1.5-2 Tbs, rather than 3. I also have attempted to mix this in the crockpot, but found out it gets difficult to mix everything unless you use a REALLY big bowl!”
She spent 15 minutes prepping this meal, 11 hours in the slow cooker and made 8-4 block meals.
Notes: “I love that this recipe provides an opportunity for me and my family to eat veggies that we don’t eat regularly, like jicama and cabbage. In the past I have made this dish for football parties and it always goes over really well with a crowd, especially when you tell them it is paleo. The chipotle chive dressing is so tasty” Jenna shares.
It worked really well to use 2 bags of shredded carrots; I will do this next time I make it too. I would recommend using less green cabbage, or at least holding off on mixing it all in until you see the ratios of everything else mixed together. Cutting this recipe in half would still make a very large mixing bowl of slaw. I doubt we will get through all the slaw. In the future I would make only half the amount” she states.
Jenna spent 15 minutes chopping all the veggies and mixing together the dressing, and said it made “A WHOLE LOT!”
Notes: “This feels like a cheat meal! The chipotle mayo and cilantro garnish are key. It is great to serve for guests because it looks so fancy yet is perfect for events like the superbowl or parties” Jenna boasts.
Be sure to whip up a batch of the Massie Mayo to make the chipotle mayo garnish for this recipe. You won’t be disappointed, I promise.
“We didn’t have any propane for the grill, so I ended up baking these which left the bacon a little less crispy. I baked for 8-10 minutes at 400 degrees and flipped them over for another 8 minutes” she said.
She spent 45 minutes prepping and 16 minutes cooking this meal and she choose to make a TRIPLE batch for 8-10 people.
Notes: “This is a really fun recipe to get the kids involved with. Making the crust was a lot easier than I expected. The green chiles were a surprising and tasty touch. We made the Salsa Chipotle for topping and it has now become one of our favorite condiments” Jenna shares.
“For the sauce I took plan tomato sauce and added garlic salt and Italian seasoning. I make two of the pizzas with pork and mine with shrimp, since the kids and husband aren’t big shrimp fans. I had a hard time getting the crust fully baked without having the ends get a little burnt and set off the fire alarms :/ Next time I plan to get a little more creative with toppings, mixing various veggies and proteins” she noted.
Jenna spent 40 minutes prepping her pizzas, 16 minutes cooking them and yielded 5-6 servings, she made 3 small pies.
Here are some photos from Jenna’s experience:
Thank you Jenna for doing such an AMAZING job at documenting your journey for this weeks plan!! You made my job rather easy this week by providing such detailed feedback. I can tell it makes you happy to be able to feed your family this way and I am glad we can help make the process easy for you each month.
Jenna! You are amazing. Kyle is amazing, too! I will never forget my trip to Ames. The seminar was a ton of fun and the CrossFit Max Oxygen community was beautiful. I appreciate you sharing your testimony about the meal plans and for taking time to document your results for 16.14. Katie couldn’t say enough good things about working with you and we both hope to enlist you as a RCNMPT (Regular Culinary Ninja Meal Plan Tester)!!!
Give K-Dogg my best and let me know what you think of those Ice Age Meals. They should be arriving to your doorstep tomorrow to help you…
“Keep It Paleo!”