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||
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.