This weeks tester is: Darcie Gillock from Tigard, OR. Darcie and her family have been eating Paleo as often as possible for about 3 years. She says “It just makes me feel so much better when I’m eating strictly Paleo.”
Darcie works out in her garage gym at home and loves cooking Paleo for her family of 5. She also cooks large batches of Paleo meals for a few other people she knows as a side job.
Darcie was introduced to PaleoNick through her husband who follows Nick on Instagram. She signed up for the membership and hasn’t looked back since. Her favorite recipe is the Paleo Pecan Chicken Salad and her husband loves the Chipotle Colorado Chili.
Approximate Meal Plan Cost As Prescribed:
Chain grocery store (Kroger): $185.00
Warehouse store (Costco or Sam’s): $153.00
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 already some Massie Mayo on hand, change the “1” below the Massie Mayo to a “0” and it will remove the listed ingredients for you.
- Click back to the tab that says “Meal Plan 16.16 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 the 80 Clove Garlic Chicken, 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 Pineapple Chicken with Broccoli. Enjoy this as your meal and store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze up to 6 months.
- Place your wood chips into a bucket to soak if you will be smoking the burgers tomorrow. If you don’t have a smoker, you can just roast these in the oven or cook them on the grill.
- Clean up the kitchen and pat yourself on the back for a day well done.
In cooking session two:
- Portion out the 80 Clove Garlic Chicken. Refrigerate or freeze your portions and clean out the slow cooker. Prepare the Southwest Chicken 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 Hickory Smoked Burgers. Portion out and properly store in the refrigerator for up to one week.
- Prepare the New York Strip, Crab Salad and Tomatoes and Massie Mayo. Portion out and properly store the portions in your refrigerator or freezer.
- Portion out the Southwest Chicken once it is finished cooking. 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 Butternut Squash Lasagna. Enjoy this as your lunch or dinner. Properly store any leftovers for up to a week in the refrigerator or freeze for up to 6 months.
- 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: Darcie did not complete this recipe, so there is no tester feedback for you this week.
The recipe calls for 2 whole chickens halved, but you are always welcome to subsitute chicken breasts or thighs instead. There are also a whole list of optional ingredients to add to your slow cooker with this meal, so be sure to read through the recipe before heading to the store to see if you’ll need any additional ingredients.
This recipe can be prepped in under 30 minutes, with a cook time of 10-12 hours and yields about 8-10 portions of mainly protein.
Notes: Darcie loved that this was a one pot meal!
She wasn’t overly impressed with the sauce flavor on this one as she is with the other “Paleo Express” meals on the site. She thinks she will try soaking the chicken in the sauce from the Beef with Broccoli next time she attempts this recipe. I have made this recipe before and found out that I am not a big fan of the toasted Sesame oil taste.
She spent 15 minutes prepping this meal, 25 minutes cooking it and made 8 portions.
Notes: “Simple ingredients made this dish easy to prep” Darcie said. She spent the majority of her prep time cutting up the sweet potatoes. She also loved the smell it produced while in the slow cooker.
She went with the option of subbing out the whole chickens with chicken tenderloins and noted that it made portioning this dish out much easier. This one went straight into her Paleo Bank Account and she added cherry tomatoes instead of sliced whole tomatoes along with the cilantro as a garnish.
Darcie spent 40 minutes prepping this meal, 5-6 hours cooking on high in the slow cooker and yielded 14 meals.
Notes: Darcie used her Traegar to smoke these burgers and said they “turned out AMAZING.” She served them with a side of her own recipe for Paleo Potato Salad. I just may need to get that recipe Darcie.
She went with 4oz burgers instead of the suggested 8oz size for herself and the kids. She said her husband could have used an 8oz burger though. She also went with the Super Radical Rib Rub to season her burgers. If you don’t have a bottle on hand, there is a rib rub recipe included in this recipe on the recipe compilation. If you don’t need to make your own, be sure to adjust your grocery list appropriately. The recipe also gives you some garnish options at the end of the preparation instructions of PaleoQ sauce, onions, avocado and cilantro. If you would like to try any of these options, be sure to add them to your grocery list.
Darcie spent 10 minutes prepping her burgers, 20 minutes cooking them on her grill and made 10-4oz portions.
Notes: Darcie said “Either I was starving or this meal was AMAZING!” As a steak lover myself, I would go with the later.
She also chose to add some grass-fed herb butter, only because she had it on hand. The only thing she would change is adding more black pepper to the crab salad.
Darcie spent 15 minutes prepping this meal, 10 minutes cooking, making 2 steaks and 5 portions of crab salad.
Notes: Darcie didn’t complete this recipe either, but I have plenty of feedback on this recipe to share with you, because it is one of my FAVORITES! The rich Italian taste with the garnish of basil and Massie Mayo will knock your socks off.
The key to this recipe is the butternut squash. The recipe calls for approximately 2 larger sized squash. If you can’t find a good sized squash you may need 3 in order to get the larger sized pieces, but you can also slice the bottom portion and piece them together. You will mainly want use the shaft portion, thinly sliced to 1/4″ thickness. This can be tricky, but taking your time and watching the video can be helpful.
Be sure to taste and almost over season your meat mixture, because, as the recipe states, the squash is not seasoned and takes up a substantial amount of the dish. I believe the fresh basil really boosts the yumminess of this recipe, so be sure to use it.
This dish can be time consuming, with a prep time being up to 45 minutes and a cook time of 60-90 minutes, but it’s so worth it. This recipe yields 8-3 block portions. This is a really great freezer meal!
Here is a collage of Darcie’s meals:
Thank you Darcie for participating in this weeks meal plan. It’s quite impressive to hear that you are able to “Keep It Paleo” with a family of 5 and cook meals for others on the side, not to mention the neatly organized refrigerator you have (I’m jealous).
Nice work, Darcie! Thank you for helping us out this week. I’ll actually be up in Oregon in a few weeks for the CrossFit Games West Regional. I hope you are coming to the event so that we can meet in person and chef it up! Maybe you could come help cook eggs one morning????
It sounds like you have a busy life, but that you value eating well enough to make it a priority. I applaud you for this. In your comments you shared above about feeling good when eating well, I was reminded of a quote of mine that Paleo Rick shared with me this week:
“I am a firm believer that our moods, attitudes, productivity, and energy levels are tightly tied to the foods we consume. I also believe that we are happiest when we cook for ourselves and that, if it is our goal to eat healthy, then we need to know how to do just that.“– PN
I’m not sure when I wrote this, but it hit home when he shared it with me, so I wanted to share it with you. Hit me up if you are going to be at the West Regional and we’ll hang out!
In the meantime, “Keep It Paleo!”