This weeks tester’s are: Nicolette and Gordon Rice, currently stationed in Fort Hood, TX. Gordon is an Infantry officer, originally from Pennsylvania and graduated from West Point. Nicolette grew up in Colorado and graduated from CSU.
“We are both very much into CrossFit & are members of CrossFit Cataclysm in Harker Heights. We have two dogs, enjoy running (currently training for our first half marathon), stand up paddle boarding and finding new ways to live healthier lives. I’m a chair for the ‘Kids in the Kitchen’ program for the Junior League of Bell County, by which we educate children on healthy life style habits through on-site demonstrations and nutritional education; something of which the CrossFit community and Paleo Nick have greatly influenced” Nicolette shares.
Approximate Meal Plan Cost As Prescribed:
Chain grocery store (Kroger): $153.00
Warehouse store (Costco or Sam’s): $130.00
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 16.18 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 Cinnamon Infused Short Ribs with Butternut Squash, 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.
- Clean up the kitchen and pat yourself on the back for a day well done.
In cooking session two:
- Portion out the Short Ribs. Refrigerate or freeze your portions
- Prepare the Butternut Squash Lasagna and a batch of Massie Mayo(if needed). This meal freezes wonderfully! Portion out and choose to refrigerate and freeze the portions.
- Prepare the Chunky Chipotle Chili Colorado. Eat a portion as a meal today and properly store any remaining portions in the refrigerator for up to one week or freeze for up to 6 months.
- Jalapeno Mango Pork Tenderloin. Portion out and properly store.
- Clean up the kitchen and polish up that sink!
In finishing session:
- Prepare the Prosciutto & Apple Crusted Salmon with Whittled Asparagus. Enjoy this as your lunch or dinner. Properly store any leftovers for up to a week in the refrigerator.
- 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: “The flavors were great! We felt like it was a little over salted but other than that it was a great Crockpot meal” this weeks tester stated.
“This meal made me realize that I may need to invest in a bigger Crockpot. And unfortunately, I accidentally bought short ribs bone in, so that really slowed the process down. . If one executes it correctly (oops) it’s a super simple meal to throw together. We did find pre-chopped butternut squash which helped with that time aspect” Nicolette said.
Notes: “I loved this meal, but I’m also a huge fan of proteins with fruit. This was a hearty and colorful dish but is also something that a lot of people may easily throw together on their own. As my husband said, it wasn’t anything crazy at least to what we are used to with PaleoNick recipes” Nicolette stated.
Notes: “This was our absolute favorite meal! Cutting the butternut squash was difficult, which we were well aware of, but it was totally worth it. Neither of us are big pasta fans but we loved this meal and would prefer it to pasta anytime. We froze this dish as well and when we had it weeks later after moving houses, it was still as good as we remembered it being” Nicolette shares.
The butternut squash is tricky to cut. You can always piece together the C shaped bottom half if you run short, but the shafts work best as the noodles. Be sure to mix up a batch of Massie Mayo to garnish this dish if you don’t already have some in your refrigerator. It adds an surprisingly AMAZING flavor to this dish. Be sure to cook until the squash becomes fork tender. If your slices end up on the thick side, it will take longer to achieve this.
Notes: “Cooking with cactus definitely made me feel like a sophisticated chef. This dish was the perfect texture combination and was extra special on a gloomy day. We were able to freeze this meal as well for fantastic leftovers” the Rice’s said.
Notes: “We had a bunch of yellow and orange bell peppers left over so we ended up swapping those for the red bell peppers. I’ve never liked pork tenderloin because it always seemed to be dry and boring when I’ve had it, so I avoided cooking it. This dish surpassed all of my expectations and was very moist and flavorful. We can both eat Mango for days so that was an added bonus for us as well” Nicolette shared.
Notes: “I went into this meal thinking I would whittle the asparagus but after just a few stalks, I gave up. It seemed like an awful lot of work and waste for presentation/cooking speed. I ended up just cutting the stalks down to cook them and added extra asparagus. The flavors of the asparagus ‘dressing’ paired perfectly with salmon. I could live without the prosciutto but the apple, salmon & asparagus combination will certainly be used again. The salmon lost its overly fishy taste in the process, which is something I prefer” Nicolette said.
Here are some collages of Nicolette and Gordon’s meals:
Thank you Nicolette and Gordon for sharing your meal plan journey with us! We always enjoy hearing people’s stories and how eating Paleo has made a difference in their lives. Keep on “Keeping it Paleo.”