This week’s tester’s are: Brian and Crystal Hall from Salt Lake City, UT.Brian also tested 16.38 from six weeks ago. When Brian volunteered his time to test the first meal plan, he couldn’t decide on only 6 recipes, so he gave me a whole list and we split it into 2 weeks of testing. So here he is, 6 weeks later with another round of meals.
Approximate Meal Plan Cost As Prescribed:
Chain grocery store (Kroger): $198.00
Warehouse store (Costco or Sam’s): $160.00
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 half batch of the “Pecan Chicken Salad” this week, change the heading from “1” to “.5” and it will reduce the ingredient amounts for you. Make sense?
- Click back to the tab that says “Meal Plan 16.43 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 Coconut Dusted Chicken Wings. Eat a portion as your dinner. Portion out and properly store the remaining servings in your refrigerator for 5-7 days or freeze for up to 6 months.
- Clean up the kitchen and pat yourself on the back for a day well done.
In cooking session two:
- Portion out the Carnitas 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 Chicken Tikka Masala with Spaghetti Squash. Eat a portion for lunch. Portion out and properly store any remaining servings.
- Portion out the Tomatillo Pork Green Chile. Properly store in a few in the refrigerator and freeze the others in your Paleo Bank Account. Clean out the slow cooker once again and reload it with the Cinnamon Infused Short Ribs with Butternut Squash. Set back onto your foil lined sheet pan and place on your counter or in the garage to cook overnight.
- Clean up the kitchen and polish up that sink!
In finishing session:
- Portion out the Short Ribs and properly store in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Prepare the egg and avocado option with some of your Pork Green Chile and enjoy this meal for breakfast today.
- Prepare the Paleo Pecan Chicken Salad and a batch of Massie Mayo. Portion out and add to your refrigerator for quick go-to meals this week.
- 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 recipe was so delicious and easy. So much flavor with so little effort. We made some quick black beans and roasted bell peppers and onions to go with it. One of our favorite recipes in this batch,” Brian shared.
He spent about 25 minutes prepping this meal, 12 hours slow cooking it, and yielded 10 portions.
Notes: “These were delicious! Messy and delicious! The wing sauce did a great job of adding a ton of flavor. Loved the coconut and the batons were a nice addition to keep it fresh,” Brian proclaimed.
“I’m terrible at frying food, so they got pretty brown. So as far as battering them that was fine. It’s just lack of practice to know how to fry things well. I was trying to make sure that they cooked through enough but because of how long I left them for, I think I over browned the outside. Batter itself could use maybe a touch more seasoning, without the sauce they didn’t have a ton of flavor depth. Maybe adding some sort of seasoning mix to the flour,” he suggested.
You will need to purchase a bottle of PALEOCHEF Wing Sauce in order to prepare this recipe. Brian found his bottle at Whole Foods for around $9, but you also have the option of ordering online here, if you can’t find this product in the store.
Brian spent 30 minutes prepping this meal, 30 minutes cooking and made around 6 meals when doubling his recipe.
Notes: “This was really easy and really delicious. One of our favorites this time around,” Brian said.
“I decided to double the recipe and it ended up not fitting in my crock pot so I had to split the ingredients and then did half in my dutch over which took about 1 hour and 45 mins. I did cut up the chiles a bit so it was such large pieces,” Brian shared.
Brian spent 30 minutes prepping this dish, 7 hours slow cooking it, and yielded 12 portions.
Notes: “Really simple and very delicious. I liked how it froze so well and when reheated was great,” Brian proclaimed.
“This one was a bit more time consuming from the cooking standpoint. Just because I doubled the recipe. I would also say that even though I doubled the amount of chicken, when we were eating the portions it seemed like I never had enough chicken, so I could see adding even more chicken. Maybe a bit less onions – wife wasn’t a fan of how much onions were in it,” Brian said.
Brian spent 30 minutes prepping this recipe, 90 minutes cooking it, including the time it took to roast the squash, and made a double batch which made about 11 servings.
Notes: “I liked how easy this was, the most tedious part about prepping this dish was the squash, but that’s pretty typical with squash,” Brian shared.
“We decided to buy bone-in because it was cheaper for the ribs – so we went over a bit on the weight of the ribs. Figured the bones would give it more depth in flavor. I may have overcooked this because the squash ended up really mushy. Also I might have wanted to trim some of the fat off the ribs because it ended up really greasy and Crystal and I haven’t really enjoyed it because of that. The flavor is good, very, very rich. However because of the extra grease it makes it hard to eat, so I think that’s a “my bad” as opposed to an issue with the recipe itself. It also seemed like there might have been too much squash overall,” the tester said.
Brian spent 30 minutes prepping this meal, 10 hours slow cooking it, and made 7 portions.
Notes: “This recipe was quick and delicious, really loved the layers of flavor. It was a great go-to lunch for that week,” Brian shared.
The only thing that I had a hard time with was keeping my mayo thick after mixing it into the food mixture. The Massie Mayo I made ended up pretty thick but it seemed to separate once I got it folded into the salad,” Brian said.
You always want to make sure you are not using extra virgin olive oil when preparing the mayo. You can find extra light oil or use pure olive oil (which is what I have on hand at my house). If you do use pure, you don’t need to use quite as much as the recipe calls for. Brian chose to smoke his chicken breast, which is a great plan for some additional flavor in this meal. The recipe calls for you to roast the chicken, which can be achieved in a 350F oven for around 20-30 minutes. You will also want to toast your pecans while you have to oven on. This takes less than 10 minutes. Be sure to keep a watchful eye on the nuts, because they will burn very quickly.
Brian spent 30 minutes prepping this recipe, 30 minutes smoking his chicken breasts and mixing the dish together, and made 8 portions.
Here are the pictures from Brian’s second round of meals:
Another big shout out to Brian and Crystal for knocking out these recipes and sharing their photos and feedback. I am sure having these meals in your freezer helped you keep on track with your eating through your recent move. Thank you for doing such a great job and let me know when you’re ready to do it again 🙂
I love seeing repeat meal plan testers. Brian, you did an amazing job. I enjoy your pictures and how you snuck the PN logo/recipe into a few of them. Your meal selections are top notch as well, I love the chicken salad, the slow cooker carnitas and it looks like you even picked up a bottle of PALEOCHEF!
I hope you two have a great holiday season and that I see you again in 2017. The year has a lot of good in store for both of us, so let’s fuel through it properly all while…
“Keeping It Paleo!”