I was recently interviewed by EveryDayEveryMom, a blog and podcast developed by my friend and neighbor Lindsay Ambrose. Lindsay is just about the kindest, most relaxed mother-of-three-under-5 you’ll ever meet and her website and podcast reflects that style completely. It’s all about making everyday moments more meaningful by slowing down, being present and being more loving. Plus her voice super relaxing (seriously, download and give it a listen), so just the act of listening to her can probably make you a more chilled-out parent.
Since my parenting style tends to veer more towards high-strung, always-rushing and usually-shouting, I was a little surprised when Lindsay asked to interview me for her show. I was worried that I wouldn’t be the best or most inspirational mom. But the great part of what Lindsay is trying to do is encourage all of us to let go of the guilt and self-judgement we all feel and instead work on embracing and supporting ourselves, each other and, ultimately, our children and spouses. After listening to a few of her podcasts I realized she is talking to all sorts of moms who are experiencing all sorts of challenges every day. It’s both inspiring and relatable.
During my interview, she let me talk very frankly about my struggles with postpartum depression, as well as the ups and downs of balancing a work-from-home career and full-time parenting. She also asked me to share a “Life Recipe,” a simple strategy for creating, improving or simplifying something in your life. I shared some strategies for getting the kids involved in planning and cooking meals. I also suggested serving dinner deconstructed, which has definitely made our lives simpler and easier at mealtimes.
Dinner In Pieces: The Deconstructed Way
If you’re unfamiliar, you can read my first post on the topic here. Essentially, this is a great way to please picky eaters by letting everyone at the table create their own custom meal. For each deconstructed dinner, I arrange all of the potential ingredients on a large platter. I serve everyone a helping of the “foundation” food on which to build their meal. That could be pasta, rice, tortillas, salad or, in this case, couscous. From there, everyone builds their own plate. I encourage my children to select at least one or two veggies from what’s offered, but otherwise, its completely up to them. The results have been nothing but positive.
This week, our deconstructed dinner is a twist on an old favorite: Greek-style grilled chicken, served with couscous salad and a variety of veggies. The base is couscous, which cooks in mere minutes and if you have a gas grill the chicken takes only slightly longer, so the entire meal comes together in less than 30 minutes. It’s fresh, fast and super healthy. The veggies can be adjusted based on your taste and whats in season, but the essentials for me are cucumber, grape tomatoes and green onions. My kids love chickpeas and black olives and the husband loves feta so all of those made appearances. Hummus and grilled flatbread pitas round things out.
This is one of my favorite summertime weeknight meals and I think it is even better served deconstructed. If you decide to make the recipe, you should download Lindsay’s EveryDayEveryMom podcast. By the time you’re done listening to the show, your dinner should be ready. Talk about making everyday moments more meaningful.
Deconstructed Greek-Style Grilled Chicken and Couscous Salad
3/4 to 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1/4 cup olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups whole wheat couscous
3 3/4 cups water
1 lemon, juiced
3 green onions, diced
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup grape tomatoes
1 cup diced cucumber
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup black olives
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts (optional)
1/2 cup hummus (optional)
Flatbread-style pita bread (optional)
- Place chicken breasts in a 1 gallon zip-top bag, add garlic, olive oil, juice of one lemon, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper. Seal bag and shake to combine. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
- Heat a gas grill to medium high. Discard marinade and grill chicken breasts on a closed grill over medium high heat until cooked completely, turning halfway through cooking time (about 10 minute per side).
- While chicken is cooking, prepare couscous according to package instructions. Fluff with fork and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add juice of one lemon, green onions, salt and pepper to taste.
- Slice chicken and arrange on a large serving platter surrounded by tomatoes, cucumber and other toppings.
- Place serving bowl and platter in the center of table and allow everyone to create their own meal as desired.
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