This week’s tester’s are: Taylor and Brittany Ray from Vero Beach, Florida. Taylor is a chef and spends plenty of time in the kitchen each week. He also works out at CrossFit Vero Beach and enjoys spending time with family and friends, hiking, and fishing.
Taylor made most of his chosen meals on his own, but Brittany did help with the Pork Chile California recipe, which they brought to game night, and it was a “fan favorite” among all their friends.
Approximate Meal Plan Cost As Prescribed:
Chain grocery store (Kroger): $185.00
Warehouse store (Costco or Sam’s): $149.00
Your final tally will depend on your geographic location and how much you rely on bulk purchases. As an example, you can get one quart of extra light olive oil at Kroger for $19.99 or you can get four quarts at Costco for $16.50. You follow? Meat and produce will also be less at the warehouse stores, but might mean you’re buying more than you’ll need for this plan.
Customize Your Plan and Shop It Up!
I have created a customizable grocery list in the form of an Excel spreadsheet. Even if you’re no good with Excel, I’ve set it up in a foolproof way that even “The Jo!” could handle. Just 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 double batch of the Chicken Tortillas Soup just change the “1” to a “2” and it will increase the ingredients for this recipe. Make sense?
- Click back to the tab that says “Meal Plan 17.13 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 make sure to scroll down to the notes on each meal below. They are listed beneath each picture.
In cooking session one:
- Prepare the Oxtail Stew, place it into the slow cooker, set the slow cooker on a foil-lined sheet pan, and leave it on your counter or in your garage to cook for 10-12 hours overnight.
- Prepare the Massie Mayo and Acorn Squash Molcojete with Shrimp and Scallops. Enjoy this as a meal or dinner tonight. Properly store any remaining portions in your refrigerator for three to five days.
- Clean up the kitchen and pat yourself on the back for a day well done.
In cooking session two:
- Portion out the Oxtail Stew and refrigerate for up to seven days or freeze for up to six months. This one freezes and reheats very well. Clean out the slow cooker and start the prep work for the Pork Chili California. Once prep is complete, load up the slow cooker once again and place it on a foil-lined sheet pan and set it on the counter to cook for the next ten hours.
- Prepare the Chipotle Braised Short Ribs with Sweet Potatoes. Get these in the oven to slow cook for the next couple of hours. Mix up the Salsa Chipotle for later. You should already have the Massie Mayo from yesterday.
- While the ribs cook, prepare the California Roll and snack on this while you are waiting for the ribs to finish cooking. Place any leftovers in the refrigerator and eat within three to five days.
- Once the Chipotle Braised Short Ribs are finished cooking, enjoy a portion for lunch/dinner and properly store remaining ribs in the refrigerator for up to seven days or freeze for up to six months.
- Portion out the Pork Chili California once the ten hours is up. Enjoy a portion for dinner and refrigerate any leftovers. Store these in the refrigerator for five to seven days.
In cooking session two:
- Prepare the Chicken Tortilla Soup. Enjoy a bowl and portion out and refrigerate or freeze what remains.
- 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: If you’ve never cooked with oxtail before, this is the perfect recipe to try it out. It’s also a great way to eat parsnips and turnips. The red wine gives this meal a rich, hearty flavor. Portion this out into individual servings and freezing them is a sure way to stock up your Paleo bank account!
This meal should take about twenty minutes to prep, 6-12 hours to slow cook, and yields around 8-10 good sized portions.
Notes: “The spice level is fantastic and this recipe was super easy to make,” Taylor noted.
There are two molcajete recipes on the site. Both are very similar, but this recipe highlights seafood and the other uses shrimp and carne asada. The carnes asada recipe also yields a larger amount of portions using five acorn squash instead of the two called for in this recipe and it’s a CrossFit series recipe, so it’s free to non-members. Be sure to whip up a batch of Massie Mayo to give this amazing meal some bonus flavor and some added fats. The mayo is so much better for you than the store bought stuff, so be sure to have a stash in your refrigerator at all times. One batch will stay good for 3-4 weeks in the refrigerator if properly stored in an air tight container. I place mine in a squeeze bottle for easy access and drizzle it on many meals for added fat and a zing of extra flavor.
The tester spent ten minutes prepping this meal, forty minutes cooking it and yielded four half-a-squash portions.
Notes: Taylor shared this recipe with a group of friends at game night and it was a fan favorite for all who sampled. “The recipe is so easy to prep and has a nice balance of spices,” Taylor shared.
He had to swap the California chiles for a medium spice red chile, because he had trouble locating the CA chiles at his local grocer. These chiles are dried and usually can be found in the Mexican spice section of your grocery store. The bed of veggies used in this recipe is not cooked in the slow cooker, so be sure to have those prepped and ready to quickly saute whenever you are prepared to indulge in the seasoned pork.
Taylor and Brittany spent thirty minutes prepping this meal, six hours slow cooking it, and yielded eight portions from this recipe.
Notes: “The mix of peppers, onions, and sweet potatoes work well with the short rib. Massie Mayo is a nice way to smooth out the heat for people more sensitive to spice,” Taylor shared. “I added an avocado to the mayo and blended it, which my wife thought was a great idea. I also used fire roasted tomatoes in the Salsa Chipotle.”
Salsa Chipotle is another wonderful garnish to have stocked in your refrigerator to add some kick to any recipe or meal you choose. It’s quick and easy to throw together and has a wonderful kick of flavor. While this recipe uses a whole cup in the ingredients, most of the time it is just added garnish to amp up the heat on other dishes. Like the recipe is titled, you can put this S#&% on everything!
Taylor spent twenty minutes prepping this recipe, three and a half hours cooking it, and made six portions.
Notes: A great take on the classic California sushi roll, this recipe is sure to please any sushi lover without the need for all that rice. You have the option of garnishing or eating this with Nori chips (seaweed) and topping it with Ikura or Tobiko (fish eggs). If you have trouble finding these items, it still tastes great without them. While fresh crab is the best option for this roll, lumped crab in a can is also an option. You will need a ring mold, which is just a fancy circle shaped cookie cutter with deeper sides, to achieve the shape pictured above, but if you don’t have one, try using a ramekin or small circular dish instead.
This is another recipe you can garnish with Massie Mayo, so for real, mix up a batch drizzle away!
You should be able to create this eye-pleasing snack in less than twenty minutes and eat it in half that time. 😉
Notes: “This was a really nice, relatively quick soup that is still hearty enough to fill you up,” Taylor says. And he should know, because he made it twice while testing these recipes for the meal plan.
The second time around, he placed two soft tortillas into the soup pot with the stock and allowed them to simmer for a few minutes before blending the soup. He noted that it acts as a thickening agent and imparts a very nice background flavor to the soup. What a great idea, chef Taylor! Thanks for this tip!
Taylor spent ten minutes prepping this recipe, forty-five minutes cooking it, and yielded four portions of lip-smacking, hearty soup.
Check out Taylor’s awesome meal plan photos:
Taylor! You did an AMAZING job with your recipe selections! Your chef skills shine through in all your photos. I am so glad you enjoyed this process and I agree, I believe these meal plans can be very beneficial to all who give them a go. Thank you for your participation and I hope you will sign up to test another plan for us later this year.