January 29, 2008

Chicken Cacciatore with Balsamic-Mustard Green Beans

(My chicken is hiding under the peppers!) 


Another Cooking Light inspiration! This recipe was very simple and delicious. I would have wanted to use boneless, skinless chicken for this, but we bought those drumsticks and thighs a few weeks ago SUPER cheap and froze them, so following our goal to “use what we have,” drumsticks it was. We removed the skin, coated in flour and basically followed the recipe exactly – with 1/4 cup red wine, 1/2 a bag of frozen peppers (which were HALF the price as a fresh pepper for a POUND of them!) and a can of diced tomatoes. Super simple, and very delicious!

Braising –


Chicken uncovered. It was “fall off the bone” tender in just about 10 minutes of braising!


Green beans, sauteed in a balsamic vinegar-ground mustard sauce. Again, so simple but adds so much flavor.


Since this recipe called for 1/4 a cup of red wine, we opened a little single serving bottle of Cabernet we keep on hand for “cooking emergencies” when we don’t want to open a whole bottle. I couldn’t let the 3ish oz left (the husband had some too) go to waste so I had a small glass while cooking.


Dinner kcal here were about 450 but midway through dinner we decided to eat up the last piece of homemade sourdough!



I had trail mix during my Cultural Foods class –


And a handful of nuts when I got home. I didn’t really realize I had double nuts! I wanted to make a snack, but I also wanted to finish my school work so I could relax tonight and didn’t want to stop and make something. Nuts were easy to nibble and although they’re not really filling per se, they always tide my hunger.



I’ve got a packed day tomorrow and am not that excited about it, but I have a fun Thurs/Fri and a weekend of skiing with my family to look foward to :)  And I guess oatmeal in the AM!

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Katie January 29, 2008 at 8:20 pm

I would love to hear Kath and everyone’s opinion.

Since most of the readers appear to be female, how do you all exercise during that time of the month? Literally all week I just feel crappy. Obviously, the first few days are the worst, but the last thing I feel like doing is getting sweaty when I feel so gross. How do you all continue your programs such as weight lifting? I would appreciate any advice. Thanks!


2 Jules January 29, 2008 at 8:23 pm

How did you satuee the beans- how much balsamic and mustard? Do you use fresh or frozen beans. Thanks, as always I learn so much from you!


3 Mandy January 29, 2008 at 8:31 pm

katie- I usually don’t feel like working out during that time of the month, but I do it anyways and I always feel better. I tell myself I can go and just have an easy workout so that always gets me there. Sometimes I get there and do have an easier workout and sometimes I workout just as hard, depending on how I feel! The point is to move, even if it is light movement, it is supposed to help with cramps, bloating, mood, etc. :) All major pluses in my opinion!


4 VeggieGirl January 29, 2008 at 8:34 pm

mmm, the green beans look fabulous!! as does your trail mix snack.

your cultural foods class sounds quite interesting!!

good luck with your busy day tomorrow, and just look forward to the weekend!! :0)


5 goalie30 January 29, 2008 at 8:37 pm

I agree with Mandy, no matter how tired or crummy I feel, if I can just get my foot out the door to start a run or get myself over to the gym, I too tell myself I can just get a light/short workout in, and usually about 5 or 10 minutes into my workout, I end up feeling so good that I usually end up doing my usual routine, and I almost always feel better after my workouts; must be an adrenaline high!
You can try increasing calcium during your time of the month, you might find this decreases cramping some; I know it’s a supplement, but some gals don’t even get the best relief with the Midols and Aleves!


6 Marsha January 29, 2008 at 8:41 pm

Kath I love breakfast and sometimes want waffles for dinner. However, this is a heavy carb dinner with little protein. Any ideas of what to add to it? I usually do fritattas when I make eggs, so I’d rather not have eggs with waffles as well. You are so creative with low cal meal ideas I figured you might know of something. Thanks!!


7 Kath January 29, 2008 at 8:53 pm

I don’t usually have that much trouble with PMS, but I think the old “I’ll just do 10 minutes” trick would apply here. Just go out for a brisk walk or tell yourself you only have to do 15 minutes on the ET and you can be done – I bet once you’re there the exercise will feel so good that you’ll stick with it. It’s a great mood booster when you’re feeling icky. (Just read Goalie’s response – ditto)

Fresh beans. Sautee with cooking spray until tender. Stir in 1 heaping tsp of stone ground mustard and 1 tbsp high quality balsamic vinegar. Done.

Top with fresh fruit and nuts? Yogurt? Cottage cheese? Use a whole grain mix? Pumpkin and cinnamon? Ricotta cheese? What do you like!?



8 chandra January 29, 2008 at 9:52 pm

I just want to say I love your blog and I love the way you and your husband both love to be healthy and cook! I hope when I find Mr. Right he loved food and health as much as I do too! I just recently started blogging, and have hit a few snags, but I’m trying to keep on top of it! I, like you, have decided I do not like the career I chose, and after 2.5 years I’m looking to start school this summer or fall to become an RD! So good luck on your journey, and I can’t wait to be right there with you! :)


9 Cara January 29, 2008 at 10:01 pm

Katie, speaking of that, it is my time now and I just worked out for 1.25 hours. haha. But it was definitely hard to get myself to go today, since its the first day and I had terrible cramps, as per usual. But what happens usually is that it makes the cramps go away and all the irritability. I swear exercise is the best drug for it. :-) Think about it as reaching for the midol but getting some extra calories burned in the meantime :-)


10 Karen January 29, 2008 at 10:05 pm

Your chicken looks great! I love cooking light. I bet it would be good from the crockpot too.


11 Alicia January 29, 2008 at 10:07 pm


Your post really resonates with me. It was the second day of my period yesterday so my flow was probably the heaviest. I decided to go for a jog yesterday despite my mum asking me to rest.

I wish I listened to my mum. Somehow I was just lacking in energy and the jog felt harder than usual and I had to really drag myself to complete my usual route. Thank goodness I do not run long distances! I think it’s because i’ve lost so much blood, hence the lack of energy.

So I think we should still have a light workout during the heavy days of our periods if we are up for it. I may do some yoga later. Will see how it goes.


12 sp January 29, 2008 at 10:42 pm

MUST TRY THIS RECIPE!! There are new chalupa shells that are baked not fried, only 45 cal per chalupa. Load them up with a little bit of:

fat free jalapeno refried beans (no trans fats either)

ground turkey seasoned with chile powder and comino.

skim 2% cheese

lots of veggies and whatever other peppers or salsa you like!!

I had 3 healthy huge chalupas for about 530 cals! ARIBA! OLE!


13 NCCarter January 29, 2008 at 10:46 pm

Marsha – I don’t usually eat waffles for dinner, but when I have Kashi waffles for breakfast, I like to have Boca breakfast links with them. Tasty little meal, especially with some fresh blueberries on top.


14 SC January 30, 2008 at 7:09 am

Hey All, Happy Hump Day!!

I made a half invented recipe for banana bread I’d post it!

1 1/4 c whole wheat flour
3/4 c white flour
2 thoroughly smashed bananas
1/4 cup sugar (or more if you like it sweeter)
1tsp baking soda
12 oz light beer
1 oz almonds chopped (or any nuts)

combine all of the ingredients then add the beer last, stir just until combined but still foamy/bubbly. Pour into a cooking sprayed casserole pan, (or bread pan, or bunt pan…) top with nuts and bake at 375* for 20-30 minutes!
makes about 24 servings at about 83 kcal each

I was surprised at how good it turned out bc I found a recipe for plain beer bread and just added bananas, sugar and nuts to it!

Also, for variety in oat/oatmeal pancakes: try shredding an apple and adding it into the pancake batter with lots of cin. My mom always used to make us oatmeal apple pancakes and they were soooo yummy! (except now I substitute wheat flour for white!)


15 Kath January 30, 2008 at 7:17 am

Banana bread sounds great! I like how simple it is. I’m saving this recipe for later :)



16 goalie30 January 30, 2008 at 7:28 am

I had a really good breakfast this morning, and I wanted to share:
I know it’s cold foods, I just can’t do oatmeal every day, I love it but I get bored and need more variety :)

Mix 1 container of yogurt (I like Dannon Light) with
1-2 servings of cottage cheese (2% milk)
Add 1/2-3/4 cup of Post Grape Nuts Granola cereal (I like the kind w/ almonds and raisins)

I’m also going to have either an apple or banana with peanut butter but I think I will eat it a little later in the morning for snack.

Real quick, can take it on the go, and plenty of energy and protein to keep you full for the morning!


17 Ally January 30, 2008 at 8:48 am


I’ve heard that moderate exercise during that time actually helps to aleviate (i can’t spell that word lol) cramps. It works for me and actually puts me in a better mood during the day bc i feel good that I worked out! I also take a midol (or something similar) before my workout and that seems to help too.

Happy work out! :)


18 jenna January 30, 2008 at 9:09 am

Wow, that looks really good!! Ive had a random bag of mixed frozen peppers in my freezer for months so I might have to make this soon! It seems to easy!


19 Sara January 30, 2008 at 9:29 am


Like a lot of the others that responded, I work out as well during that time of month.
I am fortunate to really not have many experiences with cramps and heavy days so I have been fine, but there are of course days that I feel yucky sometimes. At times, a workout does make me feel better, but others I just have no desire to go to the gym so I use my free weights at home for about 20 min and then do some crunches/exercises on the ball and stuff like lunges, squats, streatches, etc. All stuff you can do at home and still feel like you are at least doing something!
Hope that helps :)


20 tracy January 30, 2008 at 10:27 am

does the husband work? with you in school how do you pay the bills AND afford all the yummy food you eat?


21 Allison January 30, 2008 at 10:49 am

Frozen peppers….I’m going to have to hunt for those. We spend quite a bit on fresh bell peppers because my husband loves them!


22 Elizabeth January 30, 2008 at 10:56 am


Peanut butter (or almond butter) is GREAT on waffles, and would up the protein.


23 Christin January 30, 2008 at 11:47 am

Wow, I just discovered this blog today, and I absolutely LOVE IT! So much positive energy, very refreshing! I will be sure to switch to this one from another one I was reading before…
Katie, you mentioned exercise issues during that time of the month…I struggle with this as well, but what works for me is to take a group exercise class…usually Yoga (which feels really good stretching out those muscles!) but my reasoning is that in a way, it’s a no-brainer because the instructor tells you what to do, when to do it, and for how long…that way I can focus what little energy I have on getting through it. :)


24 BethT January 30, 2008 at 12:18 pm

Hey Tracy, Kath and Hubby posted last week that they don’t want to discuss their finances on the blog (and rightfully so), but since someone brought it up again I thought I’d comment. My hubby and I both went back to school and for four years, only one of us worked full time. We still made wonderful meals like Kath and her husband because we found ways to buy quality ingredients at lower prices (like Kath’s frozen peppers!). We also made it a point to prepare more quality meals at home rather than going out, so the amount we were spending on food wasn’t that much.

Just thought I’d weigh in because I, too got this comment a lot – and really, it’s not that much more expensive to cook meals like this versus mac and cheese or hamburger helper. It just takes a little creativity and coupon clipping.


25 AM January 30, 2008 at 12:32 pm

When you’re talking about no income at all, it helps to have wealthy extended family members. Not everyone has that luxury, nor does everyone have savings/trusts/etc. to fall back on. It can be very, VERY difficult to manage to eat healthy, homecooked meals three times a day, have a gym membership, etc. Especially when you’re cooking for a full family (ie: including kids). Now THAT’S a blog I’d like to read!


26 BethT January 30, 2008 at 1:15 pm

To further reiterate my point:

– We worked out at the student gym which was free to us. If we didn’t have that, we’d walk/run outside and do strength training in our house.

– We, like millions of other students, received financial aid to help with cost of living. And not all of it was loans.

I just don’t think people should be discouraged if they think they can’t afford meals like those posted on blogs like this. You can swap out a LOT of ingredients and get the same nutritional benefits.


27 AM January 30, 2008 at 2:24 pm

That’s not the only issue for those on a limited budget. And I am talking about a VERY limited budget, with no wiggle room. I’m not trying to discourage people, I’m just saying it would be nice to hear some real-world advice from those of us in the lower tax brackets who might be single moms, working one or more jobs, raising children, etc. Not everyone is a student and can receive breaks like free gym membership and financial aid.


28 tracy January 30, 2008 at 6:49 pm

Beth T
Sorry, must have missed the post you are referring to.


29 Kristin Point January 31, 2008 at 9:59 am

I’ve been holding out on making this comment for a while but….

I REALLY think it’s rude to make comments about Kath and the husband’s money/work situation. They way they choose to spend their money is their business.


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