This weeks tester is: Tara Shuster and her roommate Karen from Sacramento, CA. Tara works for the State of California. She also spends time at CrossFit Stompinground getting in her WOD’s.

I like to try new recipes (especially from Nick!) every week. I also enjoy being outdoors bike riding, hiking, running, walking, or anything that involves sunshine,” Tara shared. “I first heard about Paleo Nick through CrossFit on YouTube. I have made his Calabacitas recipe a few times, and it is a favorite of mine.”


Approximate Meal Plan Cost As Prescribed:

Chain grocery store (Kroger): $137.00
Warehouse store (Costco or Sam’s): $118.00

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:

  1. Open the document and click on the tab at the bottom that says “Menu item & Ingredient Brkdown”.
  2. 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 Chicken Paisano’s, change the “1” below the heading to a “.5” and it will halve the listed ingredients for you.
  3. Click back to the tab that says “Meal Plan 17.21 Grocery List” and your quantities will be updated.
  4. Print out the grocery list from the first tab only.
  5. 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.

Step-By-Step Instructions:

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:

  1. Prepare the Chicken Paisano’s, 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.
  2. Prepare the Honey Walnut Shrimp with Broccoli. Enjoy this as your meal and store any leftovers in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
  3. Clean up the kitchen and pat yourself on the back for a day well done.

In cooking session two:

  1. Portion out the Chicken Paisano’s and refrigerate for up to seven days or freeze for up to six months.
  2. Prepare the Paleo Pork Egg Rolls. Enjoy this meal for lunch. Portion out and properly store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to five days.
  3. Prepare the Baked Fruit Cups. Eat a portion for a snack or desert today and properly store the remaining portions in the refrigerator for up to one week.
  4. 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!

It’s Not Gourmet – Chicken Paisano’s

Notes:  The flavors were amazing in this recipe! I was initially skeptical, but they all married well together. The cooking time was just right. I can not wait to cook this again!” Tara exclaimed.

“This recipe is massive. The issue I had was that my slow cooker was not big enough. I put a cup of the sweet potatoes into the Crockpot, but with the rest of the ingredients I could not fit, so I roasted them instead. Other than that, this recipe is a keeper, and I will be making it again,” Tara noted.

This recipe is huge, but if you watch the video, you will see that Nick overloads his slow cooker and it all cooks down. I always suggest placing the slow cooker onto a foil lined sheet pan to avoid a mess if anything boils over.

Tara spent twenty minutes prepping this recipe, ten hours slow cooking it, and yielded lots of portions.

Honey Walnut Shrimp with Broccoli

Notes: I loved the flavors of the shrimp and broccoli. I had never blanched broccoli before, so it was definitely a fun recipe,” Tara shared.

“I think the biggest issue with this recipe, like the above one, is that it cooked a lot of food. I ended up just making ½ of this recipe, as opposed to the whole amount,” the tester noted.

If you have never blanched broccoli before, it just means that once you’ve cooked the broccoli, you place it into a large bowl of ice and water to stop the cooking process. It leaves the broccoli a bright green color rather than the dull, mushy broccoli you get if you don’t blanch it.

Tara spent twenty minutes prepping this meal, twenty minutes cooking it, and made three portions making a half batch.

Paleo Pork Egg Rolls

Notes: I loved everything about this recipe. The Napa cabbage added an unexpected sweet flavor that really complemented the vegetables. Placing the plate on top of the pork while it was cooking was an excellent tip to get the pork cooked evenly,” Tara said.

“The sauce that was to accompany this recipe had too much vinegar for my taste. I ended up just using Tamari as a dipping sauce,” she shared.

Tara spent thirty minutes prepping this dish, twenty minutes cooking it, and made five rolls.

Baked Fruit Cups

Notes:  I cooked this recipe for a family BBQ. Everyone loved the flavor of it. It resembled a yummy pie filling, but was light and flavorful. The citrus flavor really added a nice tang to the rest of the fruits. It was a wholesome and filling dessert/snack. I would even consider serving this cold too!” Tata proclaimed. “I would not change a thing about this recipe!”

A previous tester made this recipe in a casserole dish instead of the individual portioned cups. It is great either way.

Tara spent twenty minutes prepping this recipe, thirty minutes cooking it, and yielded ten portions.

These are the pictures that Tara shared from her testing experience:

Baked Fruit Cups
Honey Walnut Shrimp with Broccoli
Paleo Pork Egg Rolls

A great big thanks goes out to Tara and Karen for participating in this week’s meal plan. Trying new recipes is also a favorite past time of mine and Nick’s recipes are some of my favorites. Keep on enjoying that sunshine and do your best to “Keep it Paleo” when you’re indoors and out.

Tara in her kitchen blanching some broccoli

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