This week’s tester is Daniel Morrison from Mechanicsville, Virginia. Daniel works as a banker for a living. He works out at CrossFit Lacertus in Ashland, VA.

Here’s what he had to share about what he does in his spare time and how he first learned about Paleo Nick and eating Paleo:

“I like to stay active all year round. My favorite hobby is snowboarding, I’ve traveled out to Colorado twice so far. But I also enjoy slow-pitch softball, going to the beach, woodworking, going to Washington Capitals games and college football games, GO TIGERS! (Clemson alum).”

“I first heard about Paleo Nick while looking through the CrossFit Journal in my first year of CrossFit. Other than these recipes, I have also tried the Thai Turkey Meatballs and Cauliflower Rice. My two favorite recipes so far would have the be the Pan Seared Pork Chops combo is just made and the Acorn Squash Molcajete. Through CrossFit and trying to eat Paleo, I have been in the best shape of my life. I share my experiences with everyone around me who is willing to listen and may times they come to a WOD to check it out or ask me for a recipe of something I made,” he shared.

  

Approximate Meal Plan Cost As Prescribed:

Chain grocery store (Kroger): $98.00
Warehouse store (Costco or Sam’s): $75.00

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 double the Pork Chops with Apples and Onions recipe, 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 17.36 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 and two cooking sessions. 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 beef strips and marinade for the Beef with Broccoli. Place the beef into a ziploc bag with the marinade and put it in the fridge to soak overnight. We will cook this meal tomorrow.
  2. Prepare the Pan Seared Pork Chops with Apples and Onions and Balsamic Braised Red Cabbage. Enjoy this meal for dinner tonight. If you have any leftovers, store in the refrigerator and eat within five days.
  3. Clean up the kitchen and pat yourself on the back for a day well done.

In cooking session two:

  1. Prepare the Acorn Squash Molcajete. Enjoy a portion for lunch today. Portion out the remaining food and store in the refrigerator. Eat the leftovers within 5-7 days.
  2. Prepare the Beef with Broccoli. Portion this meal out and refrigerate for up to seven days or freeze for up to six months.
  3. Prepare the Paleo Nick Chicken Fingers with Maple Dijon Brussel Slaw. Eat this meal for dinner tonight. Portion out and properly store any leftovers. Eat this meal within five days.
  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 PaleoNick.com!

Pan Seared Pork Chops, Braised Red Cabbage, Apples and Onions

Notes: “I felt this meal was all around great! It was relatively easy to prepare and all of the flavors blended well together! I will definitely prepare this again in the near future. This was actually the first time I have ever touched a red cabbage to cook myself and I will add that as a side to other dishes,” Daniel proclaimed.

“I made one change and added an additional pork chop to make three servings. The apples and onions mixture was still, in my opinion, well balanced with the pork chops. Although, this threw off my cabbage portion a bit and I would use ¾ or a whole cabbage for three servings next time,” he noted.

Daniel spent twenty minutes prepping this meal, forty-five minutes cooking it, and yielded three portions with the extra pork chop.

Acorn Squash Molcajete

Notes: “I really enjoyed the Mexican flair that this recipe had. The Cheechako Tako seasoning added the perfect amount of spice to the meal without having to include any kind of peppers (although I love peppers as well!). There were a few firsts with this meal as well. First time I have ever used acorn squash and tomatillos, and the combination really hit the spot when it was all brought together. Plus I have lunch for every day of the week!” Daniel exclaimed.

Daniel noted that he would reduce the amount of water in this recipe to one and half cups instead of the two it calls for to allow for a chunkier sauce. He made the mistake of cooking with precooked frozen shrimp which he would not recommend due to the tough and chewy texture these shrimp took on.

We have two molcajete recipes on this site. This one and an Acorn Squash Molcajete with Shrimp and Scallops that yields a smaller amount of portions only using two acorn squash instead of the five in this recipe. Check this one out if you’d rather just use seafood instead of the carne asada and shrimp combo or mix and match the filling to satisfy your taste at any given time.

The tester spent thirty-five minutes prepping this meal, fifty-five minutes cooking it, and produced ten portions of food.

Beef with Broccoli

Notes: “I loved how quick, yet flavorful this dish was to make! Besides the time to marinate the beef, this was a breeze to run through,” Daniel shared.

“I used low sodium soy sauce and would like to try tamari next time. Also, I should have just pulled the meat out of the pan and let some of the garlic and ginger cook into the veggies a bit,” the tester noted.

This recipe goes great with the Cauliflower Fried Rice. If you want to make a batch to go along with it, print off the recipe and add the ingredients to your grocery list. The fried rice yields a larger amount than the beef, so you may want to double the beef or half the fried rice recipe if you choose to go this route.

Daniel spent ten minutes prepping this meal, twenty minutes cooking it, and came out with four portions.

Chicken Fingers with Maple Dijon Brussel Slaw

Notes: “This is a good alternative to greasy chicken fingers and fries that you get from most restaurants. The flavors in the sauce for the slaw blended together nicely. I was even tempted to make more as a dipping sauce for the chicken! The chicken was very simple and easy to make for any kind of meal,” Daniel proclaimed.

“I like my sauce; so for me, I would have increased the sauce for the slaw at least 50% more. I also think a little added spice to the chicken would’ve been a good enhancement,” Daniel shared.

The tester spent thirty minutes prepping this dish, twenty minutes cooking it, and yielded three portions.

Check out the pictures Daniel shared from her meal plan testing journey:

Pan Seared Pork Chops with Apple and Onions and Balsamic Braised Red Cabbage
Beef with Broccoli
Acorn Squash Molcajete
Paleo Nick’s Chicken Fingers with Maple Dijon Brussel Slaw

Thank you Daniel for doing a great job with this week’s meal plan! You chose some great meals and executed each one wonderfully. It’s always so fun to hear the impact eating Paleo and working out has on people’s lives.  Sharing this information with other people and influencing them to try something new is so inspiring. Keep up the good work!

Daniel and his dog Dakota enjoying some beach time

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