Pear Vinaigrette

A few months back, my husband challenged me to create a great tasting yet low-fat salad dressing.  Of course, I accepted the challenge and came up with this Pear Vinaigrette.  For my attempt I wanted to try to avoid the typical thickeners of xanthan gum or guar gum.  What I turned to instead was . . . . baby food!  My thought was that the smooth puree would make a great base for a vinaigrette that would hopefully avoid separation.

I paired this Pear Vinaigrette with a semi-sweet salad made with pecans and apples or berries. We enjoyed the results, though the real question is – will I be brave enough to try a different puree? I think it will be more challenging to create a dressing with a savory puree.  Perhaps that will be the real test – in this quarantine time, what unique, outside of the box dish will come out of our kitchens next?

In the meantime, if you are looking for other great dressings you can try some of my other recipes:

Bacon-Avocado Dressing

Blueberry Vinaigrette

Ponzu Dressing

Pear Vinaigrette

  • 2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 4 ounces pear pureed baby food
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Mix all ingredients together until well mixed. Store in sealed container in refrigerator when not using.


Parsley & Turmeric Chicken

In the May issue of Better Homes & Gardens there was a method of cooking chicken that intrigued me – baking chicken starting from a cold oven.  The magazine article was adamant that the result was perfectly cooked, tender chicken.  Since I am currently living in an apartment without a grill, I thought I would give it a try.


  Rather than try one of the seasoning blends discussed in the magazine, I concocted my own blend.  A few weeks earlier I had bought jarred turmeric in a local store on an impulse and have been waiting to use it.  One of my favorite recipes for chicken involves turmeric ( from Steve Raichlen’s book Planet Barbecue,  Chicken Brochette in the Style of Fez), so it was a natural starting point for  my seasoning.  For my Parsley & Turmeric Chicken, I added a bit of Mrs. Dash Table Blend, salt, pepper, and cream to make my coating. A quick dunk in the coating and my chicken was ready for the cold-oven test.

Sure enough, my chicken was ready in 30 minutes and was amazingly tender (though I do recommend testing based on final temperature since ovens vary).  I will most certainly use this baking method again.  I highly recommend that you give it a try!

Parsley & Turmeric Chicken

  • 2 tablespoons turmeric paste
  • 1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Table Blend
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon half and half
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken

In a large glass bowl, mix together the first 7 ingredients.   Coat a glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray, then coat the chicken with the turmeric sauce and place in the baking dish.  Place the baking dish in a cold oven. Heat the oven to 450 °F and bake the chicken for 30 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 °F.

Note: Turmeric stains (it is what makes mustard yellow!).  This includes metal baking sheets, so a glass baking dish is recommended.


Banana Split Layer Drink

Banana Split Layer Drink

With the start of the school year comes the flurry of science fair projects.  While my kids are too little to participate, my daughter is enamored with science and knows I love it too.  She even bought me a kitchen science kit for Christmas (I guess you could say she knows me pretty well!). Needless to say, we try to do fun experiments at home as time permits.

Banana Split Layer Drink

One of the typical at-home science experiments I have wanted to do is the density demonstration, like this density tower done by Steve Spangler. The only trick is that I wanted to make a completely edible version that tastes good but didn’t involve alcohol (think the colorful, layered party drinks) since I wanted to keep it a teachable moment for my kiddos.  This has meant a bit of tinkering in my kitchen.  In the end, I ended up with the Banana Split Layer Drink.

The least dense layer for most other density towers is alcohol.  Here, I have replaced it with a pureed banana layer.  Why does this work? First, I mixed the banana with a bit of water which is the least dense fluid out of my ingredients.  Second, by mixing the banana with the water using an immersion blender traps air into the mixture, resulting in a lighter than water fluid.

The full banana split density tower is layered as follows: a chocolate syrup layer gets topped with grenadine, half and half, and pureed banana. Each layer has to be poured slowly and carefully, preferably with a turkey baster.

When consumed, the Banana Split Layer Drink does taste like a melted ice cream sundae.  Who knew that a density science experiment could taste so good?

Banana Split Layer Drink

Banana Split Layer Drink

½ banana
2 Tablespoons water
Chocolate syrup
Half and half


In a tall cup, blend the banana and water with an immersion blender until smooth and foamy.  Pour the chocolate into the bottom of a tall, skinny glass.  Pour on a layer of grenadine, and then using a turkey baster carefully pour on the banana layer.  Clean the baster and then carefully pour on the half and half layer.

Note: While the banana layer is less dense and would seem to be the last layer to add, a cleaner separation occurs when the pour order of the half and half and banana layers are done in the order described above.







bone broth

Bone Broth Experiment

Bone broth is one of the “it” food items these days.  This nutrient dense stock is praised for its vitamin and mineral content thought to improve health.  I figured I’d give it a try and incorporate the bone broth into a soup.

I’m sorry folks, but I didn’t like the taste. In addition, for the soup I was trying to make, the other ingredients and spices didn’t mask the taste. Let’s call this a food experiment fail.


breakfast burritos

Make Ahead Breakfast Burritos

A few weeks back a friend asked me if you can freeze cooked eggs.  Even though cooking eggs usually doesn’t take too long, there are those mornings when you are running a bit late but you don’t want to scrimp on breakfast. I told her I’d do some experimenting (and a bit of research), which led to these breakfast burritos.  

breakfast burritos

From everything I read online it seemed that cooking and freezing eggs was easy, with a few simple tips.  First, undercook the eggs a bit as they will cook more on reheating.  Second, let any make ahead burrito contents cool before rolling to ensure the tortilla stays together. Finally, choose mix-ins that freeze well (tomatoes, for example, would not have a great texture on reheating).

For my experimentation I first tried just scrambled eggs (two) with cheese.  To reheat it took only about 1-1.5 minutes to warm them up from completely frozen, and they tasted great.  I was now ready to venture into Make Ahead Breakfast Burritos. 

I typically eat a lighter breakfast, but there are definitely days I enjoy the treat of eggs or a breakfast burrito.  For these burritos I added cheddar cheese and precooked pork sausage, which is a combo I have always enjoyed in breakfast casseroles. The meat and eggs cooked up fast and the burrito rolling was easy once I watch a tutorial to make sure I was doing it correctly.  Then came the fun part – freezing and reheating for breakfast to determine the correct thaw time.  These burritos can be reheated from frozen and only take 2 minutes.  I found this time ensured that the entire burrito was thawed throughout, but did require a minute or so to cool a bit before eating.  Now that I know having a quick and healthy breakfast on hand is so easy, I think I will always keep a stock in my freezer.  I love food challenges posed by friends!

breakfast burritos


Make ahead Breakfast Burritos

12 large eggs
1 pound breakfast sausage, cooked,drained, and cooled
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
8 burrito (large) tortillas (~10 inch in diameter or larger)


beat and pour eggs into a large pan that has been coated with a bit of nonstick spray. Scramble the eggs for 4-5 minutes or until barely set; stir in cheese.  Let cool, then stir in breakfast sausage.   Evenly divide the egg mixture between the burrito tortillas, placing slightly over to one side. Roll one side over the filling until the filling is covered, then fold in the left and right side and then continue to roll to the end. Wrap in a sheet of foil and continue with remaining burritos.  Place the burritos in a gallon sized freezer bag and freeze until ready to eat. To reheat, remove the foil and then microwave each burrito for 2 minutes on high, flipping once.  Let cool slightly before eating. (Note: 1.5 minutes left the burritos still a bit cold in the center).