This week’s tester is: Ashley Dawley from Yuma, AZ. Ashley is a stay-at-home mother of 2, who loves cooking and working out.
“I heard about Paleo Nick through a Pinterest picture which led me to a blog and then to his Instagram and then his website! My favorite recipes are the Slow Cooker Carnitas & the Thai Turkey Throwdown. I’ve eaten Paleo on and off for a few years but consistently for 4 months now, I’ve seen a total change in my body,” Ashley shares. “I love cooking it calms me down after a long stressful day with the kids.”
Approximate Meal Plan Cost As Prescribed:
Chain grocery store (Kroger): $140.00
Warehouse store (Costco or Sam’s): $115.00
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 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 16.21 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 Slow Cooker Carnitas, 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 Sesame Orange Peel Chicken. Enjoy this as your meal and store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze up to 6 months.
- Prepare the Avo-Mango Shrimp Coctel. Properly store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Clean up the kitchen and pat yourself on the back for a day well done.
In cooking session two:
- Portion out the Carnitas. Enjoy a serving for breakfast with some eggs if you’d like. Refrigerate or freeze your portions and clean out the slow cooker.
- Prepare the Thai Turkey Throwdown.Portion this meal out and place the majority of your portions into your Paleo Bank Account, aka the freezer. This meal yields a large amount of portions and freezes beautifully.
- Prepare the Chipotle Bison Stuffed Yams and Massie’s Mayo if needed. 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 six months.
- Clean up the kitchen and polish up that sink!
In finishing session:
- Prepare the Shrimp and Sausage Stuffed Zucchini. 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: “AMAZING,” is the word this week’s tester used to describe this meal.
Ashley noted that she had trouble fitting the entire quart of water into her slow cooker, but the meal still turned out great. This is a newer slow cooker recipe on the site and is loaded with protein. Be sure to add some carbs and fats if you are looking to keep it in the zone.
Ashley spent 5 minutes prepping this meal, 10 hours cooking and yielded 10 portions.
Notes: Ashley loved all the veggies and the sauce in this simple Paleo Express meal.
She really enjoyed the orange peels in this recipe, but her partner Josh didn’t care for them at all. I have had many testers complain about the tough texture the orange peels produce. If they aren’t for you, try using orange zest and a bit of fresh squeezed orange juice instead.
Ashley spent 17 minutes prepping this dish, 20 minutes cooking, and made 8 portions.
Notes: For this recipe, Ashley shared “I like the shrimp-mango combo.”
The only change she would make when preparing this dish again is to add a whole jalapeno instead of the list half. I agree! I have made this recipe a handful of times since I tested it last year and I swear, my mom makes it every other week. It’s the perfect dish to take to any social gathering! Make sure you fry up a batch of Super Radical Plantain Chips to eat with it.
Ashley spent 13 minutes preparing this dish and yielded 4 small portions.
Notes: First off, if you haven’t tried this recipe yet, you have been missing out on life. Ashley noted that this is one of her favorite dishes and that she loved the water chestnuts and sauce. I agree 100%! The crunch of the water chestnuts and the Thai flavors are so tasty. This meal can be a little time consuming for the beginner, but once you make it a few times, it can be prepped and cooked in 40 minutes like Ashley.
She didn’t care for the bamboo shoots and would decrease the amount she adds to her next batch. She also thought the need for 4 cans of coconut milk was a little excessive and would cut it by a can or two next time. I, myself usually use 3 instead of the 4 listed in the recipe.
Ashley spent 20 minutes prepping, 20 minutes cooking and split her batch into 12 portions.
This meal freezes very well, so go ahead and stock some into your Paleo Bank Account.
Notes: Ashley stated that this recipe is “Great all around.”
She didn’t make any changes to her batch. The only suggestion I have for you is that if Bison isn’t your thing, feel free to substitute any ground meat instead.
The tester spent 10 minutes prepping this dish, with a 30 minute cook time and made 6 portions.
Notes: This was Ashley and Josh’s least favorite recipe from the bunch this week. Ashley said “The sausage and shrimp together was a weird texture for her and that the leftovers weren’t too exciting when cold (and that Josh eats everything cold). On the other hand, “the Salsa Chipotle is AMAZING!” she noted.
This just may be one of those dishes that you eat all at once. I can imagine that the zucchini doesn’t reheat well. If you aren’t serving 4 people while making this recipe, maybe just make the meat mixture and roast as many zucchini boats as you need, saving the remainder for another meal.
Ashley spent 6 minutes prepping, with a cook time of 20 minutes and made 4 portions.
Here are some of the pictures from Ashley’s testing journey:
Thank you Ashley for doing a knock out job on these meals! Your plated meals could be pictures on the website, they are so fancy. As a mother of two myself, I understand the battle it can be to find the time to cook healthy meals and fuel your body in the Paleo fashion, but it looks like you have it down. Hat’s off to you!
Ashley! I am nervous that you are going to start your own website, www.PaleoAshley.com, and put me out of business!!! Like Katie said, great job on the pictures. I enjoyed hearing that cooking calms you down, because cooking should be that way; not a stressful experience, but relaxing. Something that feeds not only your family, but your soul as well. That’s why I’ve said so many times that we are happier when we cook for ourselves. There’s just something about bringing together heat and food that the animals are missing out on. You know what I’m saying?
Great job all around. Thank you for being a part of our meal plan testing team, for picking a great array of grub and for doing it all while mothering two little humans. I hope we can meet and cook together someday. Until we do, continue on the path you’ve set out on and do your best to…
“Keep It Paleo!”
PS I checked and the URL www.paleoashley.com is available…