This week’s tester is: Melissa Freas-Kampf and family from Horsham, PA. Melissa is married to her husband Steve, and they have a son and daughter. She works as a Program Manager.
Melissa, her husband Steve and their 12-year-old son all workout at Crossfit FiveStar. They also have a 4-year-old daughter who participates in swimming and gymnastics. “Our schedules are very busy between work and activities and we do not slow down on weekends either. I normally have at least one 5K and we also find fun family activities to fill our free time with like boating and hiking,” Melissa shares.
“I started to follow Paleo Nick after a post on the Crossfit Facebook for Fajita Pie. I have been Paleo (eating zone block portions) for almost a year and it has dramatically changed my life. I am the healthiest/fittest I have ever been. I feel great (looking good doesn’t hurt) and it’s trickled down to my family as well and they aren’t 100% Paleo but are eat way better than before. I just ordered my first sample package of Ice Age meals for vacation! Makes packing and preparing so easy! I was stressed about the whole thing and getting everything cooked/prepped but this took all the stress away and makes me feel so much more relaxed and ready for vacation,” Melissa said.
Approximate Meal Plan Cost As Prescribed:
Chain grocery store (Kroger): $240.00
Warehouse store (Costco or Sam’s): $195.00
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 half batch of the Chili Lime “Pollo Asado”, change the “1” below the Chicken to a “.5” and it will halve the listed ingredients for you.
- Click back to the tab that says “Meal Plan 16.34 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 Stew with Green Chiles & Yams, 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 Chili Lime “Pollo Asado” and allow it to marinade overnight. We will cook this meal tomorrow.
- Prepare the Paleo Polpettone (Meatloaf). Enjoy this as your dinner tonight. Portion out the remaining slices and properly store in the refrigerator for up to one week or freeze for up to six months.
- Clean up the kitchen and pat yourself on the back for a day well done.
In cooking session two:
- Portion out the Beef Stew servings and refrigerate or freeze. Clean out the slow cooker. Prepare the Peppered Pineapple Short Ribs 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 7-12 hours.
- Prepare the Bacon Berry Protein Muffins. Go ahead and sample one, because you know you want to and portion out the remainder into 1-2 muffin servings to refrigerate or freeze.
- Cook off the Chili Lime Chicken. Eat a portion as your lunch or dinner today. Portion out the remaining chicken and store in the refrigerator for 5-7 days or freeze for up to 6 months.
- Roast your pork butt and sweet potatoes for the Pulled Pork Coconut Frittata that you will make for breakfast tomorrow.
- Portion out the Peppered Pineapple Short Ribs once they have 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 Pulled Pork Coconut Frittata. Enjoy a chunk for breakfast. Properly store any leftover portion for 5-7 days in the refrigerato or freeze.
- 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:“Great flavor and super easy to make. The whole family loved it! My husband even said it was better then my dads home made beef stew,” Melissa said.
“I am not a fan of spicy things and my daughter is sensitive to spice as well. If I put too much black pepper in something she will not eat it, so I forwent the chilies in this receive an kept it mild. I also lowered the salt content and cut it down to 1.5 tablespoons I felt that 3 was too much sodium,” she noted. You can always use mild green chiles instead of the hot for this recipe if spice isn’t your jam.
Melissa spent 20 minutes prepping this meal and 10 hours slow cooking it.
Notes: “Very tasty and easy to make for the most part,” Melissa commented.
I would suggest trying chicken breasts. Whole chicken is a little more difficult and I didn’t get a lot of meat. My husband thought that a little less lime juice could be used. He thought it was slightly overwhelming. I loved it so I guess it’s a matter of taste,” Melissa shared.
This recipe is HUGE, using 4 whole chickens. Nick made this meal for a large BBQ he hosted at a box event in Minnesota. If you aren’t looking to stock your “Paleo Bank Account” with tons of chicken, you may want to follow Melissa’s lead and 1/4 or 1/2 this recipe. You also always have the option of using already broken down chicken or substituting breasts or thighs. Just be sure to allow your meat to marinade for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours. The longer time it has, the more flavorful it will be.
Melissa spent 30 minutes prepping, 30 minutes marinading and 25 minutes to cook her chicken.
Notes: “Very Delicious. The whole family loved this one! I think the sausage flavor is key for this recipe. Without the sausage it is very bland. I do not normally eat sausage so maybe a replacement for this would be nice to have,” Melissa said.
Melissa went with a 1/2 batch for this recipe. It calls for 12 pounds of meat and makes 2 very large meatloaf’s, so again, if you’re not looking for meatloaf for days, you may want to do the same. This is a great freezer meal though, so if you want to stock up your freezer, stick to the full batch. Nick tops this recipe with Paleo Pomodoro and Massie Mayo(mayo recipe is included at the end of the recipe compilation, but not on your grocery list this week) in the above photo. If you’d like to go this route, you will need to add the ingredients to your grocery list.
Melissa spent 35 minutes prepping her meatloaf and 60 minutes cooking it.
Notes: “The meat was so tender it feel apart as I was serving it! I thought the cilantro was a MUST HAVE but my friend preferred it without,” Melissa noted.
Melissa chose to omit the Sambal garnish due to her dislike of heat.
She spent 1 hour prepping this dish with a cook time of 7 hours.
Notes: “AMAZING!! So easy to make and I love that one muffin was 1 block! No thinking involved and such an easy snack! They were so good I made a large batch for a Crossfit Games viewing party and everyone LOVED them! The key is to make sure there are no big chunks of bacon. If the bacon pieces were too large it distracted from the other flavors,” Melissa shared.
“I personally love everything about this recipe and would not change a thing! I do have a friend that does not eat meat so I made a batch with no bacon, not sure if I should’ve added more protein powder to make the blocks work but she loved them as well,” she noted.
Melissa spent 10 minutes preparing this dish, with a bake time of 20 minutes and made 12 muffins.
Notes:“This recipe is a good breakfast /morning snack option to change things up,” the tester said.
“This was the most difficult of all the recipes and I am not sure I did it correctly. I have never made a Frittata before so I am not sure what to look for when it’s done. I am not sure if it should’ve cooked longer or if it was the onions, but it was watery. I was also hoping for more of the coconut flavors to come out but I didn’t really get anything there. It would also be nice to have would be suggestions on how to prepare the pork. What spices to use, roast , crock pot, or smoke, ect. I was not sure what flavor to give the meat that would mesh well with everything else in this recipe,” Melissa said.
In this video, Nick throws together this Frittata with leftovers in his refrigerator. The pork butt can either be roasted, smoked or slow cooked, your choice. I would suggest seasoning it with some Super Radical Rib Rub if you have it on hand, but kosher salt and black pepper will also do the trick. You can also make slits in the pork butt and add whole garlic cloves. Go with your gut on this one. If you’ve never cooked a pork butt before, I am sure you can google it for a quick and easy description on how-to. Also, to address the watery comment from Melissa, you will want to bake it until it is set, or no longer watery.
Melissa spent 30 minutes prepping this dish, she roasted her pork for 6 hours and cooked the Frittata for 30 minutes.
Here are some pictures from Melissa’s meals:
A big “Thank You” goes out to Melissa, Steve and kids for being a part of this weeks meal plan. It sounds like you have one busy family and it makes me happy to hear that you are doing your best to “Keep it Paleo” for the whole bunch! Keep up the good work and continue to venture outside of the ‘comfort zone’ with the children.
Great job, Melissa! The example you are leading for your family is invaluable. Your pictures are great and meal selections top notch! I look forward to hearing how you like the Ice Age Meals. Your story is perfectly in line with why we’ve created the meals. While we are all better off cooking for ourselves, sometimes, we need a little help. In order to feel relaxed about your vacation, we send a box of meals to your door and you’re able to “Keep It Paleo!” in fine fashion. I hope you enjoy your vacation and that you keep leading your family in good health. After all, a good example has twice the value of good advice.
“Keep It Paleo!”