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15 Minute Dinner

December 8, 2014

Cooking is one of the (many) things in my life that has changed since having a child.  When we lived in Pennsylvania (remember that?!), I found it incredibly relaxing to come home after a long day of teaching and cook dinner.  I thought nothing of trying new dishes, buying strange ingredients, and taking on meals that took upwards of an hour to prepare.  Eating was really fun then—we were new vegetarians, and we really made a big effort to not just live off of a few staple meals, but rather to step out of our comfort zones and explore new dishes. 

But now?


Honestly, the thought of cooking after a long day at school, or especially a long afternoon with Lila…it just feels exhausting.  It’s so much more…involved now.  I have to get Lila distracted with something—usually a Daniel Tiger—and even then, she’s in the kitchen every five minutes asking for more milk, or help putting on her Cinderella dress, or (the worst), she doesn’t come in at all, but instead just yells “UH OH!!!”, and waits for me to come in to see what the fallout is. 

Good times.

Cooking used to be something that relaxed me—I’d sip on a glass of wine and Ryan would hang out in the kitchen while I cooked, both of us sharing stories about our day.  Now it’s something I do frantically most nights, pulling ingredients out of the refrigerator and pantry and trying to come up with some way to throw them together that will be halfway palatable.  Of course, I still like to cook, and I think it’s important—I want Lila to grow up in a home where dinner is made, not unwrapped or delivered.

This is all to say that for us, right now, the best dinners are the ones that take about 15 minutes to make.  Thirty minutes? Please, Rachel Ray.

I’m thinking about doing a series of 15 minute meals, to show you what WE get on the table in record time.  I’d like to hear your speedy dinners as well.

Last night’s dinner was definitely a quick one.  Of course, I had a sous chef helping me, so that speeds things along. Winking smile 


Lamb Pitas with Easy Tzatziki Sauce


1 package ground lamb (1 lb.)

1 onion, diced

4 tbsp. fresh oregano, minced

1 small cucumber, chopped

1 cup Greek yogurt (I use Fage 2%)

garlic salt

1 tbsp. lemon juice

store-bought pitas, feta cheese, chopped cherry tomatoes


In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil.  Add onion and cook for 10-15 minutes, until starting to brown.  Add lamb and 2 tbsp. of oregano.  Season with garlic salt and continue to cook, breaking up the lamb with the back of the spoon.

While lamb cooks, in a mixing bowl, combine cucumber, yogurt, the other 2 tbsp. of oregano, and lemon juice.  Mix well and set aside.

Once lamb is cooked, transfer to a serving bowl.

Top pitas with lamb, sauce, and feta cheese and tomatoes.



This meal is Lila-approved.

Happy Monday!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 8, 2014 5:36 pm

    Just YES! Anything that involves ground turkey or beef is a go too…and breakfast for dinner! 15 minutes is IDEAL!!

  2. December 8, 2014 6:43 pm

    I’m all about 15-minute meals! Even without kids, I find cooking to be a little exhausting, so I’m really looking forward to reading more of these (this one sounds delicious)!

  3. December 18, 2014 4:11 pm

    Your post really resonated with me. We have a toddler who wants to eat NOW and mealtimes can be a challenge. We try to partially assemble dinner the night before, or at least measure out some ingredients if at all possible. I really miss cooking the way I used to! Now a 15 minute meal is a necessity. Please keep these quick recipes coming! Love your blog.

    • January 1, 2015 5:27 pm

      Thanks Jamie!! Cooking has definitely changed in our house over the last few years. I guess we can devote more time for cooking when they leave for college. 😜

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