This week’s tester is: India Wood from San Diego, CA. India admits to having a boring desk job in Southern Cali. She said she’s been pushing the stand-up desk option in her office, but the boss man isn’t feeling her idea. (I’d start a petition. Is that even an option in the average work place?) She enjoys getting in her WODs at CrossFit ATR and loves to spend time with her pooch Whiskey and her friends when she has the time.

India has participated in our testing program quite a few times now, and her work is beyond great. She discovered Paleo Nick on Instagram, when his breakfast creations grabbed her attention. She even said they made her drool – “Every time he posts an image of a breakfast dish he created, it makes my mouth salivate.”

   

Approximate Meal Plan Cost As Prescribed:

Chain grocery store (Kroger): $162.00
Warehouse store (Costco or Sam’s): $140.00

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:

  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 double batch of the Chocolate Chunk Cookies – just change the “1”  to a “2” and it will increase the ingredients for this recipe. Make sense?
  3. Click back to the tab that says “Meal Plan 17.3 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 make sure to scroll down to the notes on each meal below. They are listed beneath each picture.

In cooking session one:

  1. Prepare the Oxtail Stew, place it in 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 6-12 hours overnight.
  2. Prepare the Chicken and Mushroom Arrabbiata. Enjoy this as a dinner for two. Properly store any remaining portions in your refrigerator for three to five 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 Oxtail Stew. Portion out and refrigerate for up to seven days or freeze for up to six months. This one freezes and reheats very well.
  2. Prepare the Chianti Braised Short Ribs. Portion out once cooked and refrigerate or freeze. This one freezes really well also.
  3. Prepare the Greatest Paleo Pizza and enjoy this meal for lunch.
  4. Prepare the Chocolate Chunk Cookies. Portion these out into zip-loc bags with 2-3 cookies per bag and freeze.
  5. Clean up the kitchen and polish up that sink!

In finishing session:

  1. Prepare the Acorn Squash Molcajete and invite your friends over to share. Properly store any leftovers and refrigerate for up to five days.
  2. Sit back and take it all in. Your Paleo Bank Account is stocked and you’ve become a Culinary Ninja ready to tackle life with energy, clarity and confidence. Be sure to tell your friends about PaleoNick.com!

Oxtail Stew

Notes: “My friends and family were convinced this dish was gourmet once they saw the dish laid out on a plate but I told them… ‘It’s not gourmet, Bro!’ I liked that I got to choose my favorite type of red wine and I absolutely loved it when the meat was pretty much falling off the bone,” India shared.

“I had to cut the amount of ingredients in half because the oxtail was pretty expensive (2 pounds for $20). It worked out because it would be impossible to fit 6 pounds of meat in my slow cooker,” she noted.

India spent one hour prepping her stew, six hours slow cooking it, and yielded eight servings.

Chicken and Mushroom Arrabbiata

Notes: “This dish was an ace in the hole. It was both time and cost effective and the flavors were out of this world. It was simple to cook and very healthy to eat (duh),” India said.

“I didn’t dice the chicken breast; it wasn’t on purpose – I accidentally missed that part on the recipe. Fortunately, the entire breast was still cooked thoroughly without drying in the skillet,” she noted.

India spent fifteen minutes prepping this meal, seventeen minutes cooking it, and made two portions.

Chianti Braised Short Ribs

Notes: “I liked how easy this dish was to prep and how simple it was to throw the ingredients together in the casserole dish before placing it in the oven. The presentation of this dish turned out beautiful as well, but I forgot to get a good photo of it plated,” India said.

“The only dislike I have about this dish was the cooking time. Personally, I have a busy schedule and I felt I was unable to leave my home until this dish was finished cooking in the oven,” she added. She also used pork short ribs instead beef ribs listed in the recipe.

India spent fifteen minutes prepping her short ribs, two and a half hours cooking it, and ended up with ten servings.

Greatest Paleo Pizza

Notes: “This is a great Friday night recipe when you and the squad are hankering for some pizza. The taste of the crust was a pleasant surprise – I wasn’t expecting a tremendous nutty flavor. It was very delicious and I can see myself making this recipe again for a movie night in,” she said.

The crust on this pizza is seasoned with Super Radical Rib Rub. There is a recipe for the seasoning included with this week’s recipes, but if you already have a bottle of the rib rub on hand, you won’t need to add these ingredients to your grocery list. The recipe also gives a list of optional garnishes, including Salsa Chipotle and Massie Mayo. The mayo ingredients are listed on your grocery list, because it is also used to garnish the Molcajete recipe this week. The Salsa Chipotle recipe is on your recipe compilation, but you will need to add these items to your list if you plan to make it.

India spent forty-eight minutes prepping her pizza, twenty minutes baking it, and made a six-slice pizza.

Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Notes: “These cookies are ADDICTING!! I shared them with my co-workers and the cookies quickly disappeared. A week later, one my colleagues asked if I was ever going to bake them again sometime soon! I love how they can quench a craving without having all the granulated sugar,” India said.

“It will be a good idea to wait for some of the ingredients to go on a sale if you’re a person on a budget. The cost of the almond four, coconut oil and honey can quickly add up; but I am a firm believer of ‘pay the farm now or pay the pharm later’,” she noted.

India spent forty-three minutes mixing up her cookie dough, sixteen minutes baking them, and made 10-20 portions, depending on how many cookies per serving.

Acorn Squash Molcajete

Notes: “This dish is the BOMB DOT COM!!!!! I know the last step of the recipe says to share with your friends but I’m not sharing with anyone!! I never had acorn squash before and I loved it. The Cheechako Tako spice is amazing – I put that stuff on everything. The combination of the meat/shrimp with the tomatillo salsa were meant to be together forever,” India exclaimed.

She spent one hour and twenty minute prepping this dish, twenty-five minutes cooking it, and yielded six servings.

Here are the wonderful photos that India captured this time around:

Oxtail Stew
Chicken and Mushroom Arabbiatta
Chianti Braised Short Ribs, the pork version
Greatest Paleo Pizza
Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Acorn Squash Molcajete

India, you have once again knocked my socks off with your amazing food photos and ninja feedback! You are a superb cook and I can tell that you take pride in your food by your organization and eye for presentation with each meal. It has been a pleasure working with you over the past year and I appreciate your dedication and reliability. Please continue to share your recipe choices and photos with me as many times as you’d like this year.

From Nick:

Thank you, India! I love the pics of the food and the picture of your pooch as well. I hope that you find success with your stand up workstation request. We have adjustable desks at the Paleo Test Kitchen, so I spend some time sitting, but most of the time standing. This is the one we use.

I’m glad to hear that you enjoy the breakfast pictures. I like cooking and plating them in blocks because it helps people understand The Zone system. The best part about making the breakfasts, however, is EATING THEM! You’ll have to come to the CrossFit Games this summer and help out with chorizo, eggs, guac and pico. What do you say? Thanks again for everything. 🙂

“Keep It Paleo!”

Your Pal,

Paleo Nick

India and her bestest pal Whiskey, doing the things she enjoys in life

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