This week’s tester’s are: Chris Capozzi and wife Cristie from Pittsburgh, PA. Chris is an electrician and owns CTC Electric in Pennsylvania. Chris has been doing CrossFit for about 3 years now and is currently doing is daily WOD’s at T2 CrossFit in Bridgeville, PA, which is owned by Anna Tunnicliffe (another Paleo Nick team member). Here’s what Chris had to share about himself:
“I enjoy spending time with my wife, nothing like going for a ride on the Harley in the summer. I also enjoy CrossFit. I like gardening, nothing beats picking what you’ll be having for dinner! And making wine. Look, it’s only not Paleo because the cavemen hadn’t discovered it yet, if they did, they would have drank it!”
“I heard about Nick through the CrossFit Kitchen series videos, and then found the website. I am yet to have a bad meal from any of his recipes. I kept waiting to be disappointed, but never was.”
“Eating Paleo has changed my life because 1 year ago I weighed 217lbs. By following a mostly Paleo diet and CrossFit I have lost about 37lbs. I feel so much better, and fitting into smaller clothing doesn’t hurt either!”
Approximate Meal Plan Cost As Prescribed:
Chain grocery store (Kroger): $160.00
Warehouse store (Costco or Sam’s): $135.00
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 would like to make a double batch of the “Honey Walnut Shrimp with Broccoli,” change the heading from “1” to “2” and it will increase the ingredient amounts for you. Make sense?
- Click back to the tab that says “Meal Plan 16.39 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 Spaghetti Bolognese, 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 Butternut Squash Lasagna. Eat a portion as your dinner. Portion out and properly store the remaining servings in your refrigerator for up to one week or freeze for up to six months. This meal freezes nicely.
- Clean up the kitchen and pat yourself on the back for a day well done.
In cooking session two:
- Portion out the Spaghetti Bolognese and refrigerate or freeze. Clean out the slow cooker. Prepare the Beef Brisket with Raisin Sauce (be sure to sear the Brisket first) 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 Prosciutto & Apple Crusted Salmon with Whittled Asparagus. Eat a portion for lunch. Portion out and properly store any remaining servings.
- Prepare the Honey Walnut Shrimp with Broccoli. Enjoy a portion for dinner. Portion out and properly store all remaining servings in your refrigerator for 5-7 days.
- Portion out the Brisket and blitz the Raisin Sauce. Properly store in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Clean up the kitchen and polish up that sink!
In finishing session:
- Prepare the Mexican Meatballs over Calabacitas. Enjoy this meal for lunch or dinner today. Properly store any leftover portions for 5-7 days in the refrigerator or freeze for up to 6 months.
- 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: “I liked that this meal was very easy to prep. I also liked that you just toss it all into the slow cooker and go about your day,” Chris noted.
Chris said he will make this meal again, except he would leave the spaghetti squash out and add it separately, due to his squash disappearing during the slow cooking process. I have had this same issue when preparing this recipe. The first time I made it, the squash was unrecognizable. The second time I made it, I cooked the squash less beforehand and it was very visible. I also chose to cook on a lower temperature for 8-10 hours instead. It really depends on how hot your slow cooker cooks. Either route will work.
Chris spent 30 minutes prepping this meal, 12 hours slow cooking it and yielded 8 portions.
Notes: “This was such a good meal! I can’t wait to have the leftovers! My wife, who doesn’t follow Paleo, want to make it again, but add ricotta and mozzarella cheese,” Chris shared.
I have made this meal many times and will continue to do so. It is so tasty and is a great option for freezing. You can even freeze the entire pan and reheat for a quick and easy dinner option any night. Be sure to whip up a batch of Massie Mayo to add as a garnish. It adds so much to the meal!
Chris spent 20 minutes prepping this meal, 90 minutes cooking it and made 8 portions.
Notes: “This was by far the easiest meal to make. Love just tossing everything into the crock and basically forgetting about it. If you cook this overnight, you will be dreaming about the brisket, as it smells so wonderful while cooking,” Chris said.
The recipe calls for you to sear the brisket before placing it into the crock pot. You will be blitzing what is left in the pot once the meat has finished cooking to make the raisin sauce, so be sure to save every last drop.
Chris spent 10 minutes prepping this meal, 10 hours slow cooking it and made 8 portions.
Notes: “This meal was fabulous! This was the second recipe I made (Mexican Meatballs were 1st) so the fast prep was a welcome change. My wife and I absolutely loved this recipe! This will definitely be going into regular rotation in our kitchen,” Chris exclaimed.
“I sliced the apples too thin. Next time I will cut them a little thicker to add more flavor,” Chris shared. For this recipe,it is recommended to get freshly sliced prosciutto from the deli counter at your local grocers for optimal flavor value. You also have the option of just steaming or sautéing the asparagus without “whittling” to save time.
Chris spent 10 minutes prepping this recipe, 8 minutes cooking it, and yielded 2 portions.
Notes: “Loved that this was a fast, easy meal. I had to shell my shrimp, so that added to my prep time,” Chris said.
Cristie thought the dish was a little heavy on the onion, but I disagree. I chose to use a few more walnuts in my recipe,” Chris shared. You are always encouraged to make any changes to these recipes as you see fit.
Chris spent 30 minutes prepping this recipe (a little longer than usual, due to having to shell the shrimp), 8 minutes cooking it and made 6 portions.
Notes: “This was by far, my favorite meal! So delicious and it was a real struggle to not eat the meatballs while cooking them,” Chris noted.
“My God, the prep time! And I broke it into a 2 day ordeal! I have made this once before, so I knew the results would be well worth it, but I can see it being a bit too much to handle for someone with little free time,” Chris proclaimed.
The process of cooking the meatballs for this recipe is the real time consumer. You always have the option of rolling them out and baking them to save on time, but they will not have that nice caramelized crunch on the outside if you try this option.
Chris spent 1.75 hours prepping this meal, 20 minutes cooking it and made 10 portions.
Here is the picture from Chris’s meals:
Thank you Chris and Cristie for participating in our meal plan testing procedure. While you didn’t take too many photos, your feedback is excellent and your effort highly noted. Your story of CrossFit, Paleo, and weight loss is an inspiration to us all. Keep up the good work! P.S. I totally agree with you on the wine thing 🙂
Chris! I’m glad to hear that you enjoy the recipes on the site. You are luck to have Anna and Bradletes as coaches, they are great people. I like your meal prep pictures, your organized garage and your bulldog! Thanks for taking time to work with Katie on this week’s meal plan. I hope to see you soon at a Cooking Class at T2! Be sure to ask Brad and Anna about it. In the meantime…
“Keep It Paleo!”