Sunday Cooking WOD

We totally scored at our local Sprouts this weekend: organic, grass-fed ground beef for $5.99/lb. I bought eight packages! Along with happy chicken, ground lamb, and a hunk of beef for stewing.

Then after a truly glorious two-hour nap yesterday afternoon, I shuffled to the kitchen – grumpy and grumbling – to prep food for the week. I really enjoy playing with flavors in the kitchen, but working the assembly line of meat and vegetable prep can bring me down. In my noggin, it officially signifies the shutting down of the weekend and the cranking up of Monday, man.

So like all things I dread, I decided to make it a WOD (workout of the day). Could I do all my prep in one hour? Dave and I started the clock, and I started rattling some pots and pans.

With the weather so mild, the oven made the kitchen pretty warm. After my first round in front of the stove, I stripped down to a tank top and opened the windows. I felt like this:


But I persevered, bouncing back and forth from the stove – where I had TWO pans going at once – to the grill outside the kitchen door. My iPod cranked out cooking-appropriate tunes (Hello, Social Distortion and The Clash!), and a timer went off at 5-minute intervals so I wouldn’t burn anything.

Sunday Cooking WOD

For time, 60-minute cutoff:
Steam a head of bok choy
Steam a head of Swiss chard
Roast a large spaghetti squash
Roast sweet potatoes
Grate cauliflower for rice
Grill 2.5 pounds chicken thighs
Grill 1 pound chicken sausage
Make rogan josh with ground lamb
Sauté 2 pounds ground beef
Boil 1 dozen eggs

My time: 61:00 – dang! Just past the cutoff!
Cleanup time: 5:00

Not too shabby! For anyone who thinks they don’t have to time to prep for clean eating, I call bullsh*t. One hour of chopping, steaming, and grilling netted us enough raw materials to build meals for at least four days.

It wasn’t really all that much fun, but every WOD in the gym isn’t a PR-inducing, love-fest either. Sometimes, you’ve just gotta get it done.

And the grilled chicken, spaghetti squash, and Swiss chard I ate for breakfast and lunch today (with Tsardust Memories)? Delish!

A loving shout-out to my teammate Dave for giving me an assist by cleaning 2 pounds of fresh green beans and cutting up a gorgeous pineapple for tonight’s dessert.


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  • slowmiles says:

    I made your moroccan pork chops two weeks ago…they are delish!

  • Maine says:

    That's amazing. My Sunday afternoons are like that, too, but I never manage to get through it that fast. I'm glad you've put this out there as a challenge (or at least that's how I'm taking it).
    When you say you roast the sweet potatoes, do you cube them and throw them in the oven?

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Maine –> I was COMMITTED to getting done in an hour. I was like a banshee, flying through the kitchen!

    Sometimes I roast the sweet potatoes in the oven, sometimes I just nuke them in the microwave. I always cook them whole, then cut them into cubes to be used in my egg white + sweet potato post-workout frittata.

  • Dawna says:

    Like Maine said… I can never get through it that fast. Last Sunday I felt swamped in the kitchen all day! After seeing this post, I'm going to have to make a WOD out of my Sunday cooking too!

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Dawna –> The trick was to think through what I wanted to make and figure out the fastest way to do it all. I made a list, got the rogan josh going on a back burner, threw the other stuff on the grill, and made an assembly line of veggies to steam. Same pan, no washing… one veggie out, next one in. I was MOVING, too. No dilly-dallying. Good luck!

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  • AustinGirl says:

    Hi!I found your WOD in Well Fed (LOVE the book, btw!! LOVE IT!) and that’s what I did this past weekend. It WORKS!! I’m so darn impressed!! I made enough food to get the husband I myself through almost an entire work week at 3 meals a day. Wow.

    • Mel says:

      Congratulations! Don’t you feel like the reigning champ when your fridge is filled with healthy, yummy food?! Happy cooking to you!

  • Holly says:

    How do you store the spaghetti squash after you bake it? Do you just scrape it out and store it in a container? I feel like it is usually too “wet” so I was going to put it in a strainer to drain and then in a container.

    • Mel says:

      Yes, scrape it into “noodles” and store, covered, in the fridge. If you follow my roasting instructions, it shouldn’t be watery, but you could always put it in a colander if you don’t mind the extra step.

  • Kristen says:

    Could you share what meals you made with all of that? I need help and I like how you list all of the things you prepped…but have no clue what you would make with all of that.

  • Jen says:

    I tried to click through to your recipe for Moroccan Pork Chops but it said the page no longer existed! Can you pass along the recipe (or link)?

    • Sorry! I’m updating old recipes, and I missed the link to that one. Here’s the spice blend — this is enough for about 1 pound of pork chops:

      2 garlic cloves, minced
      1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
      1⁄2 teaspoon ground coriander
      1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin
      1⁄2 teaspoon paprika
      1⁄2 teaspoon salt
      1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • April says:

    I just want to say thank you for coming out and saying “yes, prepping sucks sometimes but you gotta do it”. Sometimes I think paleo blogs are all “la la la, I just LOVE to cook and isn’t it great to prep all these things” and a lot of times I’m like no, it’s hard! I have a busy life and sometimes Sundays are only days I have to relax and I don’t want to prep, but I still do it 🙂

    • Heh. “Cooking” can be really fun for me… like, “I feel like making this one thing that I’m hungry for. I’ll just turn on some tunes and play in the kitchen.” But that is NOT what it’s like to get food ready for the week. That’s “Food Prep,” and that’s not always fun. I mean, I like to EAT more than I like to cook — and I like figuring out new recipes. But steaming a head of kale AGAIN? Meh.