This week’s tester is: Tina Gallegos from Upland, CA.Tina is a Retail Business Manager. She is also the mother of a “wonderful” 22 year old named Ashley and is married to her wife Fran.

Tina and Fran workout at Roeic Crossfit in Claremont, CA, She also enjoys playing tennis and spending time with her four puppies.


Approximate Meal Plan Cost As Prescribed:

Chain grocery store (Kroger): $183.00
Warehouse store (Costco or Sam’s): $150.00

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:

  1. Open the document and click on the tab at the bottom that says “Menu item & Ingredient Brkdown”.
  2. 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 double batch of the Ice Cream , change the “1” below the Ice Cream heading to a “2” and it will double the listed ingredients for you.
  3. Click back to the tab that says “Meal Plan 16.22 Grocery List” and your quantities will be updated.
  4. Print out the grocery list from the first tab only.
  5. 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.

Step-By-Step Instructions:

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:

  1. Prepare your 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.
  2. Prepare the Chipotle Bison Chili with Butternut Squash. Enjoy a portion of this as your meal. Portion out and store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5-7 days or freeze up to 6 months.
  3. Clean up the kitchen and pat yourself on the back for a day well done.

In cooking session two:

  1. Portion out the Cinnamon Infused Short Ribs. Refrigerate or freeze your portions and clean out the slow cooker.
  2. Prepare the Chianti Braised Short Ribs over the next 3 hours…
  3. Prepare the Breakfast Gallimaufry. Eat this meal as your breakfast and portion out and properly store any leftovers, keeping the greens seperate, in your refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  4. Portion out the Chianti Braised Short Ribs once it has finished cooking. Store these in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze up to 6 months.
  5. Prepare the Coco Choco Ice Cream with Bananas and Mangoes. Portion these out and get them into the freezer to set. Enjoy as you wish.
  6. Clean up the kitchen and polish up that sink!

In finishing session:

  1. Prepare the Beef Tongue Tacos “Al Pastor”. Enjoy this as a meal today and refrigerate or freeze any leftovers.
  2. 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!

Cinnamon Infused Short Ribs with Butternut Squash

Notes: Tina spent 45 minutes preparing this meal, cooked it for 12 hours in her slow cooker and yielded 8 portions.

The only comments she made on this dish was that it was too salty. She suggests cutting the amount down for 3 tablespoons to 1 1/2 instead.

Chipotle Bison Chili with Butternut Squash

Notes: “This was a terrific recipe and my family really enjoyed the flavor immensely. It had just the right amount of heat and was simply delicious,” Tina noted.

She decided to substitute the Bison for ground beef and used chipotle powder instead of the chipotle chiles, as she prefers the less powerful taste of the powder. The recipe calls for 42oz of butternut squash, which is equal to almost 2.5 pounds. Since you remove the seeds and skin, I would suggest looking for a squash as close to the 2.5 pounds that you can find.

Tina spent 1 hour prepping this meal, 45 minutes cooking it and made 11 portions from her batch.

Chianti Braised Short Ribs

Notes:“We loved the flavor! It was very tender. This was a fun recipe to prepare. I don’t often cook with wine, so it was fun,” Tina said.

Tina added a forth sweet potato to her recipe. The recipe doesn’t give instructions in the preparation instructions on how to prepare the sweet potatoes, but it does list them as “roasted, skin removed and pureed” in the ingredients list. If you’ve never roasted a sweet potato before, please click here for directions. As far as pureeing goes, you can use a hand mixer while they are still warm, or toss them into your food processor and mix until smooth. Season to taste with salt if wanted.

Tina spent 30 minutes prepping this meal, 3 hours cooking it and yielded 7 portions for her Paleo Bank Account.

Breakfast Gallimaufry

Notes: Tina says “I love the flavor of the flavor of this recipe. It reminds me of a frittata.”

This dish should yield 5 portions. If you won’t be using all 5 portions at once, be sure to keep the greens separate until consuming. This will help avoid soggy greens.

Tina spent 30 minutes prepping this meal, 45 minutes cooking and made 5 portions.

Coco Choco Ice Cream with Bananas and Mangoes

Notes: “Love this!” Tina stated.

This recipe uses the smaller yellow mangoes. You can always use the larger red mangoes,  but I would then suggest reducing the amount due to the size difference. The more ripe the fruit is, the sweeter taste it will achieve.

Tina’s wife Fran made this dish, spending 30 minutes prepping and mixing and yielded 8, 12oz portions.

Beef Tongue Tacos “Al Pastor”

Notes: “This was the first time cooking with beef tongue and my family was reluctant to try it. They LOVED it! It was delicious and the flavor was simply awesome. I will keep this recipe around to try over and over again,” Tina shares.

“I cooled it overnight in the juices and the meat shredded when I pulled it apart from the skin. Next time I would suggest cooling for 30 minutes to see if the meat will stay in cubed form,” Tina notes.

She spent 30 minutes prepping and 5 1/2 hours cooking this recipe.

Here are some of the pictures from Tina and Fran’s testing journey:

Groceries for 16.22
Chipotle Bison Chili with Butternut Squash
Chianti Braised Short Ribs
Food prep and portions of the other recipes this week

Thank you Tina and Fran for the time and effort put forth to make these meals. I loved the variety, yet hearty beef recipes options you provided for anyone who wants to particapate! I know the “Al Pastor” is scary for many,but you have proven it was a great and tasty option to add to your recipe collection. Going outside the box can be hard, but your willingness to “try” may change the minds of other meal plan doers out there. Way to go!

From Nick:

Tina! Nice work! I love that you chose the Chianti Braised Short Ribs! I don’t think we’ve seen that one tested before. I remember creating that recipe and loved how it turned out. I hope yours turned out as tender and tasty.

Thank you for taking time out of your life to help us with this week’s meal plan. I appreciate you and hope that we can cook together one day. I actually spent a weekend in Claremont a few years ago. I wrote about the experience in this article: Konstructing A Kulinary Kanopy In Klaremont. Keep up the good work, work out often, cook daily and, at all times, do your best to…

“Keep It Paleo!”

Your Pal,

Paleo Nick

With my Claremont friends, Ryan and Rachel circa 2014

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