Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Healthy Chocolate Banana Quinoa Muffins (and an Alter Eco GIVEAWAY!)

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Healthy or not, these are the best muffins I've made in a long, long time. They're moist. They're packed with flavor. They're rich. They can be eaten for breakfast, a snack or dessert. They're absolutely amazing.
Alter Eco sent over some products for me to sample, and I was excited to whip something up using them. They always have the best globally crafted, organic products, so after all of the holiday indulgences I was roaring to get to the kitchen and use them. I was determined to use both the Organic Royal Black Quinoa and the Organic Mascobado Cane Sugar in one masterpiece, so that's what I did. I filled the rest of the gaps with delicious ingredients such as bananas, cocoa powder and chocolate chips. The result was nothing short of amazing.
The bananas made these muffins extremely moist. The muffins themselves had a subtle chocolate flavor because of the cocoa powder, but in every bite you also get a smooth chocolate chip to send your taste buds soaring. The cane sugar gave them the perfect amount of sweetness, and you honestly could barely tell the quinoa was even in there. It added a little texture, but it didn't make the muffins taste any different; it only made them a little healthier! My boys and I loved (like loooooved) these muffins and I'm planning on making them again this weekend!
Now on to the GIVEAWAY!! Alter Eco is generously providing 1 (one) bag of Organic Royal Black Quinoa and 1 (one) bag of Organic Mascobado Cane Sugar to 1 (one) lucky reader of The Savvy Kitchen!! Enter below for a chance to win and make these delicious muffins on your own! Contest is open until February 4th at 11:59pm. Good luck :)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway is open until Wednesday, February 4th at 11:59pm EST. Winner will be announced February 5th. Contest open to US residents only. Winner will be drawn at random and contacted by email. Winner will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen. Good luck!!

Note: Alter Eco graciously provided me with personal samples and the products for this giveaway. All comments and opinions are my own.

Printable Recipe

Makes 15 muffins
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 3 tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup organic black quinoa, cooked and cooled
  • 3/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with baking cups (you can also use mini muffin tins if desired). Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the bananas, milk, oil, eggs and vanilla. Add the cooked quinoa and stir to combine.

In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa power, salt, baking soda and baking powder. 

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin tins, filling about 3/4 full. 

Bake for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean (10-12 minutes for mini muffins). Remove muffins from the tin and allow to cool on a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container.

Source: SK Original

Monday, January 26, 2015

Individual Beef Bourguignon Pot Pies

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I've always been a big fan of Julia Child and her recipes, and Beef Bourguignon is one of her most famous dishes that I've always wanted to try but have been intimidated by. I don't know if it's because I saw the movie Julie and Julia and witnessed what a disaster her Beef Bourguignon turned out to be; or if it's because I know how intense the recipe is and how long it takes; of if it's just because Beef Bourguignon is such an extravagant dish and I'm just destined to mess it up. But whatever it is, I haven't taken on the challenge yet.
So in an effort to save myself some of the stress from making Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon, I made this copycat version and it highly exceeded my expectations. There are only a few steps and the directions are very straightforward! The recipe uses packaged beef tips for the protein, and that beef and gravy added a lot of complex flavors to the rest of the dish. It's also packed with tons of vegetables, which is always a bonus in my book. The wine gives it a rich, deep flavor, but the Dijon, thyme and rosemary brighten it up. My whole family loved these cute individual pot pies and I hope you do as well. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

Makes 6 servings
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 1/2 cups carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups celery, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup frozen small whole onions, thawed and halved
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 3 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup Burgundy (you can use Merlot if you cannot find Burgundy)
  • 1 tbsp. stone-ground Dijon-style mustard
  • 4 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
  • 2 (15 oz.) packages refrigerated cooked beef tips with gravy
  • 1 cup lower-sodium beef broth
  • 1 packaged refrigerated layered buttermilk biscuits

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray 6 ramekins with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large skillet heat the butter over medium heat until melted. Add carrots, celery, onions, and pepper. Cook for 10-12 minutes or just until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Remove skillet from heat. Add mushrooms, Burgundy, mustard, garlic, rosemary, and thyme. Return skillet to heat. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

Stir in beef with gravy and broth; heat through. 

Divide beef mixture evenly among the ramekins. Flatten biscuits so they are about the size of the ramekins and place one biscuit on top of each ramekin.

Bake for 7-10 minutes or until biscuits are golden.

Source: Adapted from Better Homes and Garden

Friday, January 23, 2015

Healthy Protein-Packed Breakfast Cookies

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Chris is still on the hunt for something low-calorie, substantial and portable, yet flavorful, that he can take to work for breakfast in the morning. He's gone through the typical smoothie, oatmeal, fruit and yogurt, but none of those peak his interest anymore. That's where these cookies came from.
I know cookies are probably the last thing you think of when thinking of breakfast items. Until now. These are jam-packed with tons of protein and good-for-you fillers that will fuel you and curb your appetite. Feel free to switch up the nuts, seeds and dried fruit to suit your preference. The recipe below is mainly a guide, but these can be transformed into anything you want! Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 3/4 cup chunky natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 tbsp. agave nectar
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease two baking sheets and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix peanut butter, oil and agave. Stir in banana. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.

Drop the dough in 2 tbsp. rounds onto the prepared baking sheets. Flatten with wet fingers and shape into circles. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are brown. Let cool on the baking sheets for 2 minutes then transfer to a baking rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Source: SK Original

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Slow Cooker Sesame-Ginger Chicken

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My new chicken obsession is chicken thighs. Dark meat is so tender no matter what you do to it, so if you often find yourself overcooking chicken so that it becomes dry and chalky, you should give thighs a try. You could seriously cook the crap out of them and they will still be moist. I dare you to try to mess up chicken thighs! It's practically impossible. 
My other obsession is the slow-cooker, so obviously this recipe was a game changer for me. The chicken became even more moist than slow-cooked chicken breasts usually become (I didn't know that was possible) and the meat was falling apart with a touch of my fork. The fresh Asian flavors in this dish make for a great sauce, so thickening up the cooking liquid at the end makes a perfect glaze. Feel free to go the chicken breast route if that's what you prefer, but I honestly think you should give thighs a try. Plus they're so much cheaper! Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. fresh orange juice
  • 5 tsp. hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp. cold water
  • 2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds, for serving
  • 2 tbsp. scallions, sliced, for serving
Add chicken to a slow cooker. Combine sesame oil, soy sauce, brown sugar, orange juice, hoisin sauce, ginger and garlic; pour over chicken. Cover and cook on HIGH for 2 1/2 hours or until chicken is tender. Transfer chicken to a platter; keep warm.

Pour cooking liquid through a sieve into a small saucepan. Discard solids. Skim extra oil off the top of the reserved liquids with a spoon and discard.

Bring cooking liquid to a boil over medium-high heat. Combine cornstarch and 1 tablespoon cold water in a small bowl. Add cornstarch mixture to sauce, stirring with a whisk until blended. Return to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until sauce thickens, stirring constantly. Serve sauce over chicken. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Cinnamon Raisin Bread (Gluten-Free)

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This month's Secret Recipe Club post is from Chelsy at Mangia. She really opened my eyes to a new way of eating. I like to dabble in some gluten-free recipes every chance I get, but everything on her blog is gluten-free and/or vegan. It's just incredible to me and I loved seeing how she transformed some of my favorite types of recipes to meet these diet restrictions!
Bradley loves eating Cinnamon Raisin English Muffins for breakfast, so I decided to narrow down my search and look for something similar. Luckily this recipes was staring me straight in the face, so I went for it. I don't think I have ever cooked a gluten-free dessert using almond flour and coconut oil (mostly because I thought it would drastically change the flavor and turn out dry), but this bread instantly changed my viewpoint on that. You could hardly tell the bread was gluten-free and both my husband and son enjoyed it. Chris even took a slice to work every day for breakfast! I ate this warmed up with some butter melted on top, and it was delightful. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar (or honey)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup raisins
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a large loaf pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, agave, vanilla and eggs. 

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well until thoroughly combined.

Fold in the raisins. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. 

Bake for 30-35 minutes (times will vary depending on oven), until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let the bread cool completely in the pan.

Using a serrated knife, run the knife around the edges of the pan and gently turn the pan upside down. The bread should fall out very easily. Store in an airtight container.

Source: Adapted from Mangia Blog