This week’s tester is: Kiefer Vaughn of Little Rock, Arkansas. Keifer is a geologist and also coaches CrossFit at his gym, West Little Rock CrossFit. In his spare time, Kiefer enjoys watching movies. Here’s what Kiefer had to say about his experience at PaleoNick.com:
“I first heard about Paleo Nick from CrossFit’s YouTube channel. Like everyone else that is addicted to CrossFit, I watched every video on the main site and Nick was always doing the nutritional videos so I finally decided to check him out and see what other things he had going.
Other than the recipes that I tried during the meal plan, I have made the Paleo Pecan Chicken Salad,which was a staple of my diet for a few weeks, but the prep game for that one got to me after a while.
My favorite recipe has to be pico from the “Lime Seared Skirt Steak with Avocado Pico.” It amazes me how something so simple can taste so good. I’m still blown away by it.
I have lost about 100 pounds in the past three years and I can speak from experience that you can’t out-work your diet – especially if you’re overweight. I had always hit plateaus while trying to lose weight in the past, then I would gain any weight I lost back and maybe even add a few pounds. It wasn’t until I improved my relationship with food and took a better interest in what I was putting in my body that I really started seeing results. These recipes allow me to eat things that are good for me as well as tasting great.”
Approximate Meal Plan Cost As Prescribed:
Chain grocery store (Kroger): $130.00
Warehouse store (Costco or Sam’s): $112.00
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 “Greek Freak Chicken, Beef & Shrimp Skewers”, change the “1” below the Skewers to a “.5” and it will halve the listed ingredients for you.
- Click back to the tab that says “Meal Plan 16.36 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 Paleo Nachos. Enjoy this as your dinner tonight. Portion out any remaining servings and properly store in the refrigerator for up to one week or freeze for up to six months.
- Prepare the marinade and dice up the meat for the Greek Freak Skewers. Place the marinading meat in your refrigerator until tomorrow.
- Clean up the kitchen and pat yourself on the back for a day well done.
In cooking session two:
- Portion out the Carnitas servings and refrigerate or freeze. Clean out the slow cooker. Prepare the Tomatillo Pork Green Chile 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 hours.
- Prepare the Skewers and grill them up. Eat a portion as your lunch today. Portion out the remaining servings and store in the refrigerator for 5-7 days or freeze for up to 6 months.
- Prepare the Lime Seared Skirt Steak with Avocado Pico. Enjoy this meal as your dinner.
- Portion out the Green Chile 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 Sweet Chorizo Hash with Eggs and Guac. Enjoy this meal for breakfast. Properly store any leftover portion 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: “This meal had good flavor, and wasn’t that challenging to throw together. I paired the meat with a baked sweet potato and some massie mayo. It actually gets better every time I eat it,” Kiefer said.
“I chose to do half portions due to slow cooker size. For the slow cooker recipes it may make sense to put equipment list (ex. 5 quart slow cooker) so if you’re going to have to ‘scale’ the recipe you know that from the get go. I know for me anything with a long ingredient list is a bit daunting so when I first looked at this recipes I almost didn’t want to make it. But after looking through I noticed that it was really just a few whole ingredients plus spices so that made it easier to accomplish. The one problem I had making this was the trimming of the fat from the meat. I’m not sure why but I couldn’t remove much fat without taking a bunch of meat with it,” he noted.
Kiefer spent 15 minutes prepping this meal, 12 hours slow cooking it and made a half batch of the original recipe.
Notes: “This was super simple with great flavor. This is a very good lunch option and I love the texture differences with the mixture and the chips. A healthy version of nachos,” Kiefer shared.
“I RX’d this recipe the best I could. I didn’t have a good source for the ground protein so I had to get 1 lbs. packages which had me working with two pound of meat for the recipe. But everything else when smoothly. I omitted the maple syrup, I am currently cutting as much sugar as I can from my diet,” Kiefer noted.
He made this meal in 20 minutes total, with 5 minutes of prep time and 15 minutes to cook.
Notes: “The marinade was awesome and gave great flavor to the meat. It was way simpler than the recipe give the impression of being. I will definitely be making this again in the future. I served it family style and just let people choose their own portions,” Kiefer said.
“I chose to do a half portion on this recipes just for the sake of cost and not being sure if I would like it. I let the meat marinate for 24 hrs, but when I was about to start grilling it started raining, so I had to cook it in a skillet. I also chose a smaller shrimp as all of the large shrimp available to me were farm raised overseas and I didn’t quite trust them.The shrimp I did choose was peeled, and deveined which was a great time saver. This good with some steamed broccoli and a tzatziki mayo, or is that just me?” he exclaimed.
Kiefer spent 20 minutes prepping this meal, 24 hours marinading the meat, 40 minutes cooking it (due to rain) and did a half sized portion of this recipe.
Notes: “I liked using an ingredient that I wouldn’t normally gravitate to in the tomatillo. I loved the breakfast suggestion with the egg and avocado, I ate it the whole week after cooking. Very simple, and I really enjoyed the rib rub on this,”the tester said.
“I RX’d this recipe as well. But as you can see in the photos, my slow cooker was at its limit. Again maybe a prescribed size on the slow cooker will clear up some confusion,” Kiefer noted.
All slow cooker recipes on this site use a 8qt sized. Some of the recipes I have made have filled my 8qt to the brim, but once the ingredients start to cook, they seem to settle down into the crock.
Kiefer spent 10 minutes prepping this meal and 7 hours slow cooking it.
Notes: “This may have been the best thing ever! The pico was amazing and the steak was so perfect. Who knew how simple ingredients could come together and taste so amazing?” Kiefer exclaimed.
“I only had one tomato when I made the pico, I lost one to the “elements” aka my kitchen. The steak was a little pricy especially since was more or less one serving. But besides that it was perfect,” he noted.
Kiefer spent 5 minutes prepping this meal, with a cook time of 10 minutes. A 15 minute meal!!
Notes: “Simple and easy to make. I can make a big batch at a time and freeze for later use,” the tester said.
“It may be too simple sometimes if that makes any sense. I could have used a bit more of a kick of flavor from something. It was great but after eating it a few days it’s kind of like, what’s next?, Keifer noted. You can always add any spice or seasoning you like to kick up the heat department on any dish.
Kiefer spent 15 minutes prepping this meal, with a cook time of 20 minutes and made a triple batch of the hash.
Here are the pictures from Kiefer’s meals:
Hey Kiefer, thanks for completing this week’s meal plan! Looks like you killed it. And after reading about your weight loss journey, I’d say you’ve dialed in the key ingredient to reaching your goals. Keep up the good work!
Kiefer! Nice work. I love hearing the weight loss story and how you had to take a deep look at your relationship with food. I agree that nutritious food can taste good and your pictures prove it. Your selection of meals was epic and the sear on your skirt steak is next to none. I can taste the crunchy crust just by looking at it and, you know what they say… “The first bite is with the eyes.”
As Katie said, keep up the good work. I hope that I have the chance to meet you someday and I hope even more so to see you as a tester again. In the meantime…
“Keep It Paleo!”