This week’s tester is: Chrystie Caserza and family from San Jose, CA. Chrystie is a client service rep for an animal hospital and also owns a baking business on the side. She is married to Tim and has a 2-year-old daughter named Sofia.
In their spare time, the Caseraz family enjoys movies, hiking, biking and being outdoors.
“I first met Nick in Gilroy at the Culinary Ninja course he had. My brother has been following him for quite some time and asked me to go to the class with him. I was hooked from there,” Chrystie shared.
Approximate Meal Plan Cost As Prescribed:
Chain grocery store (Kroger): $259.00
Warehouse store (Costco or Sam’s): $213.00
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 double batch of the Carne Asada Stuffed Mushrooms, change the “1” below the Mushrooms to a “2” and it will double the listed ingredients for you.
- Click back to the tab that says “Meal Plan 16.33 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 Beef Bourguinon, 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 Shrimp and Sausage Stuffed Zucchini, Salsa Chipotle and Massie Mayo. Enjoy this as an appetizer or a meal for this evening. The boats don’t reheat all that well, so I would suggest eating them all as one meal or reheating any leftovers within the next day or two.
- Clean up the kitchen and pat yourself on the back for a day well done.
In cooking session two:
- Portion out the Beef Bourguignon servings and refrigerate or freeze. Clean out the slow cooker. Prepare the Mexican Meatball Soup (this recipe calls for the meatballs and squash to be cooked prior to going into the slow cooker) and get it into the slow cooker. Place it on a foil lined sheet pan, and set it in your garage or leave it on the counter to cook for the next 6-12 hours.
- Prepare the Honey Walnut Shrimp with Broccoli. Eat a serving for lunch and portion out the rest. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.
- Cook the Garlicky Beef with Basil and Mushrooms and eat this for dinner today. Store any leftover portions in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 6 months.
- Portion out the Meatball Soup once it has finished cooking. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week or freeze up to six months. Clean out your slow cooker.
- Clean up the kitchen and polish up that sink!
In finishing session:
- Prepare the Carne Asada Stuffed Mushrooms and Guac. Enjoy these tasty treats right away. Properly store any leftover portions (highly unlikely) for 5-7 days 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:“Crock pot = ease of use, variety of vegetables, the meat just fell apart when it was done which was amazing! Chrystie shares.
“I opted for the whole bottle of red wine as opposed to the half wine/half beef stock option. I regretted my decision though because there was too much wine taste and even though it still tasted good, it was obviously too much wine and I didn’t know how to adjust that,” she noted. You also have the option of just using 2 cans of beef broth if you’d prefer to skip the wine all together.
Chrystie spent 30 minutes prepping this recipe, 10 hours slow cooking it and yielded 16 portions.
Notes: “The taste on this was amazing! I loved all the ingredients that were included in it and they all paired so well. It was easy to follow the instructions and there really wasn’t a way to mess it up which is great for beginner paleos,” Chrystie said.
“It took quite awhile to seed the zucchini for me. When it was done I felt it was a waste so I decided to save the centers in a baggie to use in my breakfast. Otherwise no complaints here,” she shared. The step-by-step instructions with this recipe show to use a spoon to scoop out the middle portion/seeds of the zucchini in order to achieve the boat like shape. Be sure to add the Salsa Chipotle and Massie Mayo garnishes to complete this dish.
Chrystie spent about 45 minutes prepping, 40 minutes cooking and made 16 stuffed boats.
Notes: “Super easy to make in the crock pot. Loads of flavor and surprisingly filling,” the tester said.
“It was challenging for me to learn how to peel and cook the butternut squash since I’d never done that before. Perhaps an option to get the frozen already diced for those like me who have no idea what to do with that,” Chrystie suggested.
No need to peel the squash on this recipe. Just slice them in half, de-seed, place on a foil lined sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil. You will want to roast the squash at 350F in your oven for about 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of your squash. Once it’s finished, allow to cool for a bit and then scoop out with a spoon. Nick also has an article on how to roast veggies found here.
Chrystie spent 30 minutes prepping this meal, 6 hours slow cooking on high, and split it into 20 portions.
Notes: “This was amazing!! Excellent flavor, easy to follow. Tasted so fantastic! A winner in our house,” Chrystie proclaimed.
She spent about 30 minutes prepping this meal, 30 minutes cooking it, including the broccoli, and portioned it out into 16 small meals. The recipe states that it can be split into 5-4 block meals. I am guessing Chrystie may have doubled this recipe.
Notes: “Easy to make, taste was fabulous.!A favorite that will be made over and over again. Ingredients I hadn’t ever used together, some of them I hadn’t even heard of. I was hesitant at first but then as the taste and flavors came together I knew this was going to be amazing,” Chrystie shares.
Chrystie spent 30 minutes prepping this dish with a cook time of 45 minutes.
Notes: “Unique style. I really liked the “appetizer” style of this while it still had us all full and satisfied,” the tester said.
This bite sized meal is sure to impress any guest, so make a batch for your next get together and blow their socks off. It calls for Super Radical Rib Rub, which you can make by following this recipe or you can purchase a bottle here. Be sure to add the guac (included in recipe) and Massie Mayo for that extra kick.
Chystie spent 30 minutes prepping this dish, 30 minutes cooking it, and made 16 stuffed mushrooms.
Here are some pictures from Chrystie’s meals:
Thank you Chrystie for completing this meal plan and providing us with some great photos and feedback from your meals. We appreciate you!
Thank you, Chrystie! I remember you from the Gilroy seminar and I appreciate you helping out with this meal plan. Any selection of recipes that included two shrimp dishes is a winner in my book! Add in meatballs and Carne Asada and you’ve practically stolen my heart! The only question is, when is your bro going to test a meal plan? 😉
Summer is quickly coming to a close, which marks the time to regroup, refocus and stop making excuses, right? We typically settle back into a routine in the calm months before the holidays. I hope you’ll all put some effort into your diet and stock your Paleo Bank Account while you have time. Have a great end to your week and do your best to…
“Keep It Paleo!”