This week’s tester’s are: Brian and Crystal Hall from Salt Lake City, Utah. Here is what Brian had to say about himself and his wife and their experience with PaleoNick.com:
“I work for Wildworks Software, the makers of Animal Jam. I’m a Senior 3D Environment Artist responsible for many of the backgrounds in the game. I’ve been making video games now for nearly 12 years. Crystal has been working for an educational curriculum company for over 16 years and is currently pursuing her degree to get into the Physical Therapy Assistant program here in town.”
“My wife got me into CrossFit just over 3 years ago and she’s been Crossfitting for almost 5. Our new CrossFit home, as we moved to SLC this time last year is, Crossfit Helo in West Jordan.
“We love being outside on the patio having a cocktail or other beverage. We love spending time with our two French Bulldogs, Rogue and Monroe and our Boxer Cash; whether that’s around the house or a quick trip to walk around the lake near us. We love going to CrossFit together and encouraging each other to be healthier and more active. We love family and traveling. Crystal loves running when the weather permits. I love doughnuts, bacon and coffee and we know for those the weather always permits! I love cooking so we really enjoy having friends over and hosting large gatherings of friends and congregating around a big table with lots of great food and drink and making memories and sharing stories.”
“We heard about PaleoNick 2 years ago from a friend at our CrossFit gym when we were living in Las Vegas. He had shared with my Chef, Nick’s Paleo Butternut Squash Lasagna recipe and it quickly became a staple in our home. It was one of the first Paleo recipes we ever tried. We love lasagna and were so surprised at how amazing this tasted. We’ve given up using pasta when we make lasagna and stick to butternut squash thanks to that recipe.”
Approximate Meal Plan Cost As Prescribed:
Chain grocery store (Kroger): $180.00
Warehouse store (Costco or Sam’s): $145.00
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”- Barbecued Chicken” or the “Super Radical Rub Chicken Legs with Red Onion Remoulade, change the “1” below the heading to a “.5” and it will halve the listed ingredients for you.
- Click back to the tab that says “Meal Plan 16.38 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 Chili Lime Barbecued Chicken recipe and allow to marinade for the next 12-24 hours.
- Prepare the Barbecued Pork Skewer marinade and get it in the refrigerator to soak for the next 24 hours.
- Prepare the Sesame Orange Peel Chicken. Enjoy this as your lunch or dinner. Portion out any remaining servings 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:
- Prepare the Chili Lime Chicken that marinaded overnight. Portion out and properly store in the refrigerator for up to one week or freeze for up to six months.
- Prepare the Pork and Peach Skewers. Eat a portion for lunch. Portion out and properly store any remaining servings.
- Prepare the Pastel de Papa. Enjoy a portion for dinner. Portion out and properly store all remaining servings. This meal freezes and reheats wonderfully.
- Prepare the Super Radical Rub Chicken Legs with Red Onion Remoulade and a batch of Massie Mayo. Portion out and properly store in the refrigerator and/or freezer.
- Clean up the kitchen and polish up that sink!
In finishing session:
- Prepare the Acorn Squash Molcajete with Shrimp and Scallops. Enjoy this meal for lunch or dinner today. 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: “We really liked the flavor on these. We liked how we could portion out the chickens and pair it with other sides to make a very quick and delicious meal,” Brain exclaimed.
Brian dealt with the issue of overloading his grill with the chicken and it taking way longer than he had expected to cook. When Nick made this video he was grilling on a massive sized grill, so I would suggest doing half batches on the grill at a time in order to avoid this problem. Brian also notes that he drizzled a little honey on the chicken when he ate it to add a nice sweetness to the finish. Great addition Brian!
Brian spent 20-25 minutes prepping this meal, 2 hours grilling it and made all 4 chickens, yielding 32 pieces.
Notes: Brian shared “I really liked how easy this one was. Simple and straight forward. The flavors were bright and not heavy and it froze up really well.”
Brian and Crystal, as many testers have noted, weren’t the hugest fans of the orange peels in this recipe. Brian didn’t mind as much as Crystal, but that’s because it reminded Crystal of the orange peel candy her grandma used to make. Brian said he would most likely just zest the oranges next time and this is also what I like to suggest to anyone trying this recipe. Either that, or cutting the orange peels very small, as the texture is tough to deal with when they are larger. Brian chose to double this recipe and felt as if the veggie to chicken ratio did not add up. Next time he would triple the amount of chicken, while keeping the veggie amount doubled.
Brian spent 45 minutes prepping this dish, 25 minutes cooking it and doubled the recipe.
Notes: “The flavors on these were fantastic! Really like the combination and they froze well once we made them,” Brian said.
The recipe calls for the meat to be marinaded for up to 24 hours, so for the best flavor, you will want to get the meat soaking the day prior to preparing this meal. As Brian realized while making this meal, it is best to have peaches that are not super ripe. This can be an issue when removing the pit in order to slice, but stays together on the skewer much better than the ripe or overripe peaches. Again, Brian felt he didn’t heat his grill hot enough when starting to cook his skewers, resulting in the meat being tougher than he’d liked. He thinks he would try a short rib cut of meat next time he prepares this meal.
He spent 30 minutes prepping this meal, 25-30 minutes grilling and doubled the recipe.
Notes: “I loved how straightforward and easy this was. The recipe sounded intimidating but this really wasn’t at all. I tasted the filling after it was all mixed together and it was delicious. We ended up loving this so much we’ve made it again since the first time we prepared it and it has become part of our regular rotation. We even made it for some friends from our CrossFit gym who just had a baby and they ended up loving it!” Brian stated.
Brian noted that he wasn’t able to fit all of the ingredients into one pan when preparing the filling for this meal. He ended up just putting the cooked meat into a large mixing bowl and adding the tomato product, raisins, olives and seasoning, and stirring to incorporate. This worked out well, since you then bake the mixture in the oven anyway. Next time he will use his dutch oven. If you don’t have a large saute pan, try Brian’s approach or split the meat and other ingredients into 2 saute pans.
Brian spent 60 minutes prepping this dish, 45 minutes cooking it and made 20 portions.
Notes: “I really liked the rub that Chef Nick made for these. It was smokey and had this nice depth of flavor. It honestly reminded me of eating a Lays BBQ potato chip! Ended up being grate on the wings we got from Costco. I did let them thaw out first so I could ensure that the rub stayed on them. The Remoulade was very tasty and paired well,” Brian noted.
“Making the mayo from scratch was quite the work out, I did it by hand and next time I’ll try my stand mixer. I’ve not had much luck trying to make paleo mayo with my food processor. Crystal was lovely and helped pour the olive oil while I whisked vigorously for what seemed an eternity. It didn’t end up as thick as I thought it would but I also didn’t let it chill in the fridge which seemed to help for the next time I used it,” Brian said. Brian also chose to use wings instead of chicken legs for this recipe, because he finds that wings are just so much more fun to eat.
Making Massie Mayo can be tricky, but if you are sure to watch the video prior to attempting and follow the recipe, being sure NOT TO USE EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL, you should be able to nail it.
Brian spent 10 minutes prepping this meal, 45 minutes cooking and yielded 5lbs of wings.
Notes: “This was probably one of our favorite dishes, and tied with the Pastel de Papa. We couldn’t get enough of it, such rich deep flavors from a recipe that was not hard to do at all. We have started to fight over the last few of these,” Brian notes.
There are currently two Molcajete recipes on the website. The first being with Shrimp and Scallops and the second being made with Shrimp and Carne Asada. This meal plan recipe compilation lists the Shrimp and Scallop recipe, but Brian decided to go with the second choice. The recipes are very similar, but one yields more squash than the other. If you’d like to make the later choice, just compare your printed grocery list with the other recipe and make any changes needed to your list. You can’t go wrong with either one, but if scallops aren’t your favorite, the carne asada choice may suit you better.
Brian noted that he had a tough time getting the squash halves to sit flat for roasting, so he simply sliced a small piece off the back side of the squash to achieve a flat surface. He also said that this recipe is a little on the pricier side, but well worth it. They made this meal and froze all the portions. After reheating he thought it could have used a little more tomatillo sauce and meat, as one squash half didn’t fill his belly.
Brian spent 1 hour prepping this meal, 1 hour cooking it and made 10 squash halves.
Here are the pictures from Joshua and Crystal’s meals:
Thank you Brian and Crystal for KILLING this weeks meal plan!! You guys did an amazing job and the food looks delicious! I appreciate testers like you who take this task and make me proud. Looking forward to seeing the results from your next round.
Nice work, guys! Especially with the pictures of the dogs eating donuts. Brian, you’re right, donuts, bacon and coffee can be consumed rain or shine. Katie was impressed with your effort and I am as well. Your pictures are killer and I’m looking forward to the next time you test a meal plan. I’m not sure we’ve seen Chicken Legs with Red Onion Remoulade in a meal plan before, so good on you for choosing that one. Did you make the mayo by hand? Anyhow, keep up the good work, keep those dogs exercise, and by all means…
“Keep It Paleo!”