The 5-2 Challenge. Keeping Busy. Oven Poached Chicken Breast With a Roast Capsicum, Tomato and Couscous Stuffing.

Oven Poached Chicken With Couscous

This morning I woke up hungry. Contemplated poached eggs on toast for breakfast. Then it hit me. Today was a fast day. Nothing but cups of tea until midday. Usually I’m able to cruise through my fast day mornings. Usually I’m not hungry at all. Perhaps I subconsciously eat sufficient for dinner the  night before to compensate for any potential hunger pangs. Today was different. I had to keep busy, very busy to avoid any unscheduled grazing.

In the five short weeks that I have embarked on the 5-2 eating plan one pattern is crystal clear. Eating breakfast in the morning seems to whet an insatiable appetite. If I can abstain from eating until midday  my fast day is immeasurably easier. Keeping busy in the morning is key.

By the time mid-day rolled by I was ravenous.Ready to eat anything in sight. Moments like these are saved by  soup. Thoughtfully stashed away in the freezer. Today it was a thick and hearty, dairy free, homemade  vegetable and lentil soup.  Defrosted. Reheated. Incredibly filling at a tiny 83 calories per cup.

Before too long my thoughts turned to dinner. This afternoon I’m craving protein. With a relatively generous calorie allocation still on hand, I want something satisfying and delicious. This Oven Poached Chicken Breast with a Roast Capsicum and Tomato Couscous Stuffing fits the brief perfectly. A dish I would happily enjoy on a feast day. High praise indeed.

Here is today’s fast day menu and my latest 5-2 diet recipe offering.

Breakfast 2 cups of tea


Lunch 1 cup Vegetable and Lentil Soup


Mid Afternoon 2 small mandarins


Dinner Oven Poached Chicken Breast with Couscous Stuffing


1 cup of tea


Total Calories


Oven Poached Chicken Breast With a Roast Capsicum, Tomato and Couscous Stuffing

Serves 4 ( 325 calories per serve)

1/2 tablespoon  olive oil (60 calories)
1/2 onion , thinly sliced (15 calories)
4 x 150g chicken breast fillets,  thinly sliced and pounded (990 calories)
1 teaspoon fresh root ginger, grated(1 calorie)
1 teaspoon fresh harissa paste (22 calories)
1 red capsicum, roasted, deseeded, peeled and sliced (30 calories)
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, peeled and quartered (15 calories)
1/2 cup (80 g) couscous (160 calories)
1/2 cup water
handful fresh soft herbs, chopped, (2 calories)
freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon (1 calorie)

To Prepare the Couscous Stuffing

HEAT olive oil in a large frying pan and cook the onion for 1-2 minutes  until just softened.
ADD harissa, grated ginger and couscous. Cook for a minute more, stirring well to make sure the grains are coated with the spice paste and oil.
ADD hot water. Once couscous is just beginning to bubble remove pan from heat. Cover with a lid or tightly cover the pan with foil and leave for about 5 mins until the couscous has soaked up all the liquid and is soft.
FLUFF up couscous with a fork.Stir through roasted capsicums and tomatoes, lemon juice and herbs.
SET aside to cool.

To Assemble and Poach the Chicken

LAY thinly pounded chicken breast fillets out flat on a chopping board.
SPOON 2-3 tablespoons of the cooled couscous mixture into the centre of each fillet. Roll up and secure with toothpicks. Reserve unused couscous for serving.
PLACE filled and rolled chicken breasts in a single layer in a roasting dish. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
POUR 2 -3 cups of hot boiling water over the chicken. The water should not completely cover the chicken, just reach halfway up the dish.
COVER and  bake at 180 C  for 15 – 20 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove toothpicks and transfer chicken to a serving platter.
TO SERVE slice the chicken on the diagonal and sprinkle over reserved couscous.

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5 Responses to The 5-2 Challenge. Keeping Busy. Oven Poached Chicken Breast With a Roast Capsicum, Tomato and Couscous Stuffing.

  1. This dinner looks very satisfying. Keep going, you are doing fantastic! 🙂

  2. DJ says:

    This blog is such a support, seeing great ideas to make ‘fast days’ like a normal part of life, just more aware of what you choose to eat.
    Your recipes are really innovative and interesting..thank you 🙂

    • Thank you!. I’m glad you find my blog posts useful. I use them as a journal to keep me motivated and on track. An easy reference to see what does and doesn’t work.I dislike calorie counting as much as anyone. Posting what I eat each fast day and the associated recipes makes life so much easier. I’m always surprised at how much you can eat with a little careful planning. And yes the benefits of mindful eating on just two fast days do seem to carry through to my feast days. just because I can eat anything I want on those days doesn’t mean I actually do.

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