This week’s tester’s are: Ally and Will Seal from Hopkins, MN. Ally works as a Marketing Account Manager. She sometimes visits CrossFit Uffda in Eden Prairie, which just happens to be my other brother Jason’s gym (in case you didn’t know Paleo Nick is my brother). 

Ally says she loves to keep busy checking out new restaurants and breweries with friends, playing soccer, practicing yoga or coaching youth rugby. When she’s at home, she spends most of her time obsessing over her dog Penny.

When asked how she first heard about Paleo eating and Paleo Nick,  here’s what she had to share: 

“I actually first heard about Paleo Nick from Jason! I have always been a meal planner, but oftentimes I get stuck in a rut. For a long time, it was all about “chicken breast and ______”, which gets old very quickly. But honestly, it’s really hard to plan a wholesome, nutritious meal that everyone enjoys andthat I can get done in a reasonable amount of time!”

“I used to rely on Pinterest for ideas, but oftentimes those recipes are misleading or just plain terrible for you. These recipes were exactly what I needed to add into my routine. They have enough variety to keep things interesting, but are easy to execute. Plus, I know that they are full of healthy ingredients that aren’t impossible to find.”

  

Approximate Meal Plan Cost As Prescribed:

Chain grocery store (Kroger): $125.00
Warehouse store (Costco or Sam’s): $100.00

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 halve the Thai Turkey Throwdown recipe, just change the “1”  to a “.5” and it will decrease the ingredients for this recipe. Make sense?
  3. Click back to the tab that says “Meal Plan 17.46 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 Pork Belly for the tacos and place in the slow cooker. Place the slow cooker on a foil lined sheet pan and set aside to cook for the next six hours. Once it has finished cooking and slice. Store in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Prepare the Chicken Fingers and Maple Dijon Slaw. Enjoy this meal for dinner. Refrigerate any remaining portions for up to five days.
  3. Prepare the Paleo Hoisin in the Tacos and Mayo in the Bang Bang Shrimp recipes for tomorrows meals.
  4. Clean up the kitchen and pat yourself on the back for a day well done.

In cooking session two:

  1. Prepare the pickled veggies for the Pork Belly tacos. Make the tacos and eat this meal for lunch. Store any remaining meat and veggies in the refrigerator. Enjoy within the next 3-5 days.
  2. Prepare the Thai Turkey Throwdown. Portion this out and store in the refrigerator for up to seven days or freeze for up to six months.
  3. Prepare the Bang Bang Shrimp for Two. Enjoy this for dinner. Portion out and properly store any leftovers in the refrigerator or 3-5 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!

Slow Cooker Pork Belly Tacos

Notes: “I’m a sucker for anything with pork belly, so this recipe called my name for sure. It’s relatively simple, and I loved that the Cheechako Tako seasoning was prepackaged and ready to go. I do like playing around with seasoning, but for a quick “get it done” meal it’s just so much easier to have something prepared. My favorite part about this recipe is that it’s so different than what I normally would make. I’m not sure why it hasn’t ever crossed my mind to use pork belly, but it’s going to become a regular in my household. Plus there’s something about having leftovers that I can eat out of the container that I kind of really love,” Ally shared.

Ally made a few changes with her recipe by eliminating the raw carrots, substituting yellow onion for red, and using cabbage instead of lettuce for more structure in her “taco” boat. You will also need to make a batch of the Paleo Hoisin sauce and the recipe for it is included in this plan along with the ingredients on the grocery list.

The tester spent twenty minutes prepping this meal, four hours slow cooking it and yielded three portions of meat along with a jar of hoisin sauce. Ally spent $24.50 on ingredients.

Chicken Fingers with Maple Dijon Brussel Slaw

Notes: “I am a HUGE fan of chicken tenders. Like I crave them on a regular basis. That being said, I have never been able to make good chicken tenders from scratch. This recipe was easy to follow and super flavorful. I was very skeptical of the brussel slaw and it was a huge hit! ” Ally proclaimed.

“Why are brussel sprouts so dang hard to prep? Shredding those bad boys was a pain in the butt. My food processor ate up the first few I threw in (perhaps user error – they were like crumbles), and the shredding attachment wasn’t as effective as I wanted so I had to shred by hand. That didn’t really work either, so I ended up slicing and just called it a day. I’d say for future prep I would just quarter them and call it a day. There’s not much else about this recipe that I would change – it was absolutely delicious,” Ally noted.

Ally spent one hour prepping this recipe, forty-five minutes cooking it, and yielded 3-4 portions. She spent $18 on the ingredients she needed for this meal.

Thai Turkey Throwdown

Notes: “This recipe has all the things I love and is lean enough that it felt guilt-free. I would consider this the most versatile of the Paleo Nick recipes I tried, simply because the leftovers have been great for stir fry, wraps, and even on a bed of cauliflower rice. Like most things in my life, I love the idea of a project more than actually doing the project, so this list of ingredients was initially daunting. Thankfully, most of the ingredients I could toss into the food processor with the slice/shred attachment, so even though there are a lot of little pieces prep wasn’t painful,” Ally noted.

“For starters, this made a LOT of food – I would halve the recipe at least for future preparation. I would also cut the ginger down a teeny bit to about 1/3 cup instead of ½ – it was just a little strong for my tastes. Personal preference number two would have been significantly less mushroom. While cooking this recipe, I chose not to cook the ginger & garlic first. Yes, moving it aside should prevent any burning but I just didn’t want to end up with overdone, burnt garlic taste. Instead I prepped the turkey, added in the ginger, onions and garlic, and continued that cooking process. Long story short, I rearranged the order in which things were added to the mixture,” she said.

Ally spent forty-five minutes prepping this dish, thirty minutes cooking it, and made ten portions. She spent the most on the ingredients for this recipe with a hefty price tag of $60.

Bang Bang Shrimp for Two

Notes: “I’ve never made homemade mayo before and holy cow was that easy! Also is it magic? How does that even work? I don’t even normally like mayo. But that Massie Mayo mixed with a little sriracha and lime was the highlight of the meal. I want to dip everything in that sauce. This was also probably one of the easier meals I made, out of my Paleo Nick recipes (and also my entire week of planned meals), which is a huge selling point. The slaw itself was so straight forward. The whole recipe was easy to make, and had so many great flavors. I really enjoyed the cilantro slaw and would make that for future meal planning,” Ally exclaimed.

Ally noted that she didn’t buy all of three types cabbage for the slaw and would recommend using the biggest shrimp you can find.

She spent twenty minutes prepping this recipe, fifteen minutes cooking it, and made two portions. She spent $26.50 on the groceries to prepare this meal.

Scroll down to see how the tester’s recipes turned out for this weeks plan:

Slow Cooker Pork Belly Tacos
Bang Bang Shrimp for Two
Thai Turkey Throwdown
Chicken Fingers with Maple Dijon Brussel Slaw

First off, thank you so much for participating Ally and Will! Ally, your feedback was a dream to read through! It was so thorough and helpful and made my job a breeze this week. Your photos turned out amazing and the food looked SO GOOD. You totally killed it with these recipes. I am glad to hear that you and Will enjoyed your time in the kitchen together and that you have some new recipes to add to your weekly meal prep cooking.

Ally

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