Lunching Leftovers: Harissa Chicken and Garlic Couscous

Harissa chicken and garlic couscous

I’m a big fan of killing two birds with one stone. I never feel quite so smug as when I’ve made something which does for dinner one night and can be remade in to something new for lunch the next day. And I want to spread this smugness around. So welcome to my new series for Maggie Bob Makes – lunching leftovers. I’ll be sharing my recipes with you and including neat tricks for turning the leftovers in to tomorrow’s lunchbox loveliness!

This first recipe has been a immediate favourite in our household. Really easy to throw together, and as satisfying for lunch as it is for dinner. The harissa glaze works great on most joints of chicken, or try it with gammon or lamb!

Harissa Chicken and Garlic Couscous
(serves 2 for dinner, and 2 for lunch)


1 tbsp. harissa paste
1 tbsp. runny honey
3 skinless chicken breasts
200g dried couscous
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
A handful finely sliced spring onion
Boiling water
Steamed carrots and sliced green beans, to serve

Method (Dinner)

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180oC.
  2. Place the chicken breasts in an ovenproof dish. Mix together the harissa and honey and glaze over the chicken. Place in the heated oven for 25 minutes (or until cooked).
  3. Just before the chicken is ready, prepare the couscous by mixing together the dried couscous, garlic powder (and salt & pepper if you wish) in a bowl. Pour over boiling water (to just a little above the level of the couscous). Cover and leave to  absorb while you steam your accompanying vegetables. When the couscous is cooked, stir through the spring onion.
  4. Serve 1 chicken breast per person with a large serving spoon of couscous and a hearty portion of veg – making sure to reserve some of each for your leftovers. Chill the leftovers while you eat.

Method (Lunch)

  1. Shred or finely slice the chicken breast. Stir the steamed veg through the couscous and divide between two lunchboxes, placing the sliced chicken on top.
  2. Serve as is, or with a small flat bread if desired. You can see by the picture that I had a boiled egg with mine, which worked quite well too.

So there you go – two meals for the effort of one. Let me know if you give this recipe a try – I’m hoping to add more to this series in the near future.

Weighing on my mind

I have recently lost (deliberately) over 3 stone in weight, dropping 2/3 dress-sizes in the process. Please don’t feel the need to congratulate me on this – I feel a little weird people telling me ‘well done’ for essentially… well, eating less food. In fact, I’m struggling with my whole attitude to losing weight, and in particular lately – clothing.

I have never lacked in body confidence. I know I am lucky (and frequently) rare in this attitude. I accept that my body is not perfect, but I know that neither is anyone else’s. I’ve never felt the need to ‘dress appropriately for my size’. In my late teens/early twenties I was very experimental with my dress, verging on punk. Then I got a sensible job, got married and started matching my husband portion for portion. I didn’t mind that I was gaining weight, but my wardrobe didn’t cope very well with the changes in my life. It became a hodge-podge of old clothes I was still squeezing myself in to, functional pieces bought out of necessity, hand me downs and ill-conceived impulse buys. I still had my body confidence . I would happily strut around our flat starkers with no qualms about how I looked, but I felt depressed whenever I had to get dressed – my clothes were just serving to cover me. There weren’t saying anything about my personality or my mood or anything.

Then we moved house, found ourselves in happier living conditions, and with the advice of an understanding doctor, my husband and I decided to lose weight together for the sake of our health. And it worked – in just over 6 months we’d each shed around 3 stone, and we are both feeling the health benefits of it. But I have started to feel guilty.

In dire need I threw out 95% of my existing wardrobe (I hung on to some memorabilia t-shirts, 1 dress and a couple of cardigans – absolutely nothing else fit me any more). I went on a shopping spree, and now suddenly I have clothing confidence. And this is why I feel bad. I feel bad that it’s taken losing weight to give me this confidence to wear clothes I love, and feel like I look good in them. I’ve always been a loud advocate of loving the skin you’re in, so I feel like such a hypocrite. I’m fairly certain though that it’s not the actual weight-loss that has spurred my new found love of fashion – I think it’s because I was forced to replace my entire wardrobe. At least, that’s what I’m going to keep telling myself!

PS – we used Weightwatchers to kick start our weight loss – once we’d taken the decision to eat healthier it all kind of fell in to place on its own.

PPS – you can indulge my vanity and check out my daily outfits on