This week’s tester is: Judith Mansfield from Reno, NV. Judith is an educator and fitness instructor at a martial arts academy. She works full-time, is currently taking graduate classes at the local university and she’s the mother of four children – and three of them are teenagers. Let’s just say she is one busy lady!
Approximate Meal Plan Cost As Prescribed:
Chain grocery store (Kroger): $365.00
Warehouse store (Costco or Sam’s): $300.00
(Judith hasn’t done too much Paleo cooking in her kitchen, so she needed to buy almost every ingredient on the grocery list. She also doubled the SW Chicken recipe. This caused the cost of her meal plan to be very high.)
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 half batch of the Asian Chicken Salad- just change the “1” to a “.5” and it will decrease the ingredients for this recipe. Make sense?
- Click back to the tab that says “Meal Plan 17.6 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 Southwest Chicken, 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 10-12 hours overnight.
- Prepare the Chicken Wings with Paleo Ranch. Enjoy this as a dinner for two. 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 SW Chicken 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 prepare the Beef Bourguinon. Place it on a foil lined sheet pan and place it on the counter to cook for the next 6-10 hours.
- Prepare the Asian Chicken Salad. Enjoy this for lunch today. Portion out and store the remaining salad in your refrigerator for up to five days.
- Prepare the Sweet Potato, Shrimp and Chicken Chowder. Enjoy a bowl for dinner. Portion out and set in the refrigerator to cool overnight. Freeze and portions you wish once it has cooled completely for up to six months.
- Portion out the Beef Bourguinon and allow to cool in the refrigerator overnight. Place any portions you wish into the freezer once completely cooled.
- Clean up the kitchen and polish up that sink!
In finishing session:
- Prepare the Tom Kha Gai – Chicken in Coconut Soup . Enjoy a bowl for lunch/dinner. Portion out remaining soup and refrigerate to cool once again. Feel free to freeze any portions you may desire for up to six months once cooled.
- 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!
Notes: Judith thought this recipe was easy, hearty and had great flavor.
She chose to double this recipe in order to feed her family of five, but then realized she wouldn’t be able to fit a double batch into her slow cooker, so she cooked this low and slow in her oven instead.
This recipe calls for the use of hot green chiles, but if heat isn’t your thing feel free to use mild chiles instead. You can also substitute chicken breast or thighs for the whole chicken if you’d like. You would need 4-5 pounds. If you do choose to try this route, you will need to lower your cooking time by an hour or two to avoid the chicken from drying out.
Judith spent forty-five minutes prepping this meal (noting that the garlic alone took her 10 minutes) and three hours cooking it in her oven instead of a slow cooker.
Notes: Judith noted that she and her family really enjoyed the flavor of the wings with this recipe, but were a little disappointed in the ranch dipping sauce. She thought maybe it should be called garlic parsley dipping sauce, it may have been better received. She also chose to broil her wings for a bit at the end of cooking time to achieve a crispier wing.
She spent fifteen minutes prepping this recipe and cooked the wings for thirty minutes.
Notes: This recipe was the family favorite in the Mansfield house!
Besides the prep time, Judith really enjoyed preparing this meal and the flavors it produced. She thought it got better as it sat in the refrigerator and the flavors had even more time to meld together. She thought the wine produced a bitter taste and would cut back the amount of wine the next time she makes this.
The recipe calls for either an entire bottle of red wine, or half a bottle and one quart of beef stock. If wine isn’t your thing, feel free to use two quarts of beef stock instead. There is a list of notes at the end of the recipe on the recipe compilation that can add even more flavor to this recipe. Be sure to read through them before starting this recipe.
Judith spent forty-five minutes prepping this meal and slow cooked it for 10-11 hours.
Notes: “This recipe was easy to follow and produced a healthy, crunchy salad,” Judith noted.
She spent twenty minutes prepping the salad and yielded a HUGE bowl which meant leftovers for days. You may want to only dress this salad as you eat it to avoid soggy leftovers.
Notes: Judith thought this recipe was “delightful” and rather easy to make.
This soup is great for a cold day or just anytime you are in the mood for some comfort food. It freezes really well. Fell free to make a double batch and stock your Paleo bank account. You will need a bottle of PALEO GRIND Ga Ga Garlic to make this recipe.
Judith spent twenty minutes prepping her soup and twenty minutes cooking it.
Notes: Another great soup option, Judith thought this recipe had a good base and was filling.
She noted that she would either shred her chicken next time or slice it thinner and would choose to cook it separately from the soup base. She also had a hard time finding coconut cream and drove all over town to get a can. I have always found the coconut cream next to coconut milk in my local grocery store.
Here are the pics that Judith shared from her meals:
Thank you Judith for taking the time out of your mega-busy life to test these recipes for us! You did a great job and really helped me out by stepping in last-minute to prepare these meals. I hope that you have found some new ideas for family meals and that your husband and children appreciate all your hard work.