Motherhood can swallow you up if you’re not careful. There is a constant supply of needs and worries that can become overwhelming. You’ve got dishes to do, laundry that is sky-high, homework to check, someone is crying, whose shoe is this?, I don’t know where your toy is, oh no–are we out of diapers?!, etc. etc.
At my oldest son’s kindergarten graduation last year I introduced myself to one of the classroom assistants as “so-and-so’s mom.” I momentarily forgot that I even had a name, that I had an identity outside of my role as “mom.” I quickly realized this and then gave my name, but it got me thinking about how all-consuming motherhood can be sometimes. Case in point: when my middle son hears me introduce myself he likes to say, “You’re name’s not Gretchen. You’re name is Mommy.”
When I feel myself sinking into the black hole of mommy worries, I try to pull myself out by doing something outside of my role as mom. Unfortunately, some of the things that I enjoy the most are hard to extricate from my maternal duties. I love reading through cookbooks: imagining how I would put my own spin on a recipe, getting lost in the intricate steps that make up a classic dish, reading through the stories that the author might add about how this recipe came about, etc. But then the mom thoughts creep in: this will take too long to cook, the baby will be hungry before it’s even halfway done; I’m the only one that will get excited about eating this. Kind of puts a damper on my imaginary meals.
Then I realize that right now I’m in the “just survive” section of motherhood that happens when you’ve got really young kids. I know that this won’t last forever–every elderly lady at the grocery store reminds me of how quickly this time will go by (which seems impossible at the moment, and yet must be true due to the sheer numbers of people who tell me this).
This recipe is for you if you’re in “survival mode,” whether you have kids or not. It is fast, healthy, and the lemon will perk you up when you need it. (Don’t worry if you don’t have a grill–I included the instructions for cooking this indoors in the “Notes” at the end of the recipe.) So if you’ve got a lot on your philosophical plate, then put this on your actual plate.
Greek Chicken Pitas (adapted from Everyday Food magazine)
1 pound chicken tenderloins
salt & pepper
1 lemon, zested & juiced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 large cucumber, cut in half cross-wise, seeds removed with a spoon (if necessary, see photo) & sliced
6 ounces plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup fresh cilantro or dill, chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
8 pita bread
Pound the chicken tenderloins until they are 1/4-1/2 inch thick. In a medium bowl combine the chicken, lemon zest & oregano. Season with salt & pepper.
Heat a grill to high. (See Notes below for indoor version.)
In a medium bowl combine the cucumber, yogurt, cilantro or dill, and lemon juice. Season with salt & pepper.
Clean the grill with a brush. Prepare the grill by wiping the grates with a paper towel that has been dipped in vegetable oil. Grill the chicken until cooked through (about 3 minutes per side).
Toast the pita bread on the grill (about 1-2 minutes per side). Cut the pitas in half.
Serve the chicken in the pita bread with the cucumber salad and halved cherry tomatoes.
Time: 25 minutes
Notes: To prepare this indoors, pan sear the chicken in a nonstick skillet in a few Tablespoons of olive oil (about 2 minutes per side). Toast the pita bread in a 200 degree oven while you cook the chicken.