With Christmas just around the corner, there are endless opportunities for my 5-2 resolve to fall by the wayside. Every Sunday I sit down and peruse my diary. Mondays are always unapologetically fast days. My goddess days. A good way to recover from my weekend indulgences. It’s scheduling in that second weekly fast day that is often problematic; particularly around mounting festive season social invitations.
Lately, I’ve modified my 5-2 diet approach to fast all day and save the majority of my calories for my evening meal. Quite easy to do, here in the Southern hemisphere in the midst of our summer, as long as I remember to stay well hydrated and busy. With careful and clever planning, this gives me leeway to share in the socialising and enjoy a glass of wine or aperitif at night, even on a fast day.
One of my favourite summer meals is Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken With Rosemary and Garlic, incredibly delicious with it’s gutsy, robust Mediterranean flavours. With just a little tweaking this dish is also perfectly suited to fast day feasting. Chicken thigh fillets are juicier and more flavoursome than breast meat, energy wise, however, they also carry a slightly higher calorie count than breast. For comparative purposes 100g of skinless, boneless thigh fillet has an average 130 calories versus just 105 calories for breast.
The secret to successful 5-2 fasting lies in keeping a close eye on portion size. The average serving size of one medium free range chicken breast fillet is 300g, whilst the average thigh fillet is just 100g. The perfect, portion controlled size. Just one prosciutto wrapped thigh fillet seasoned with rosemary and garlic has a calorie count of just 187 calories. I like to serve this dish with roasted sweet potatoes (54 calories per small sweet potato) and a side salad of mixed greens (9 calories per cup shredded salad). Depending on my day I may or may not include a vinaigrette dressing (43 calories per tablespoon),
As an aside, I always buy free-range chicken. It’s non negotiable. It tastes better and is better for you According to The Sustainable Table free-range chickens have 21% less total fat, 30% less saturated fat and 28% fewer calories than their factory-farmed counterparts. Now that’s food for thought.
Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken Thigh Fillets with Rosemary and Garlic
Makes 6 portions (187 calories per portion)
6 free range boneless, free-range skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat (600g)(780 calories)
6 very thin slices prosciutto (60g) (114 calories)
1 tablespoon olive oil (120 calories)
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped (4 calories)
1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves stripped and finely chopped (2 calories)
freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon (12 calories)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (88 calories)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
kitchen twine, cut into six 15cm lengths
PREHEAT oven to 180 C.
COMBINE finely chopped garlic and rosemary in a small bowl.
LAY chicken thighs on work bench boned side up. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle generously with the garlic and rosemary mixture.
FOLD each thigh over to cover the seasoning and wrap in prosciutto.
SECURE with kitchen twine, as you would tie a parcel with string.
HEAT oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.
WORKING in batches add the prosciutto wrapped chicken parcels and sear, turning occasionally, for 5 minutes until prosciutto is brown and crisp.
TRANSFER to a medium-sized baking dish. Drizzle chicken parcels with lemon juice and balsamic vinegar.
BAKE in 180 C oven for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Using kitchen scissors remove the twine and discard.
TRANSFER chicken to a serving platter. Spoon over pan juices. Serve.