Avocado Pesto: A Chicklets in the Kitchen Post

Avocado Pesto

I was scrolling through the channels the other day and landed on Food Network’s Trisha Yearwood’s show, Trisha’s Southern Kitchen. She had a vegetarian guest on and they were making Avocado Pesto Toast (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/trisha-yearwood/avocado-pesto-toast). I didn’t copy the recipe down and I didn’t go back to look it up when I made this for dinner but my recipe and hers is pretty close.  Next time I’ll remember the lemon. That would be even better.

Why avocado pesto? Some people, my daughter included, find a full basil pesto too much. Basil is a powerful flavor and it can be overwhelming. Cutting down on the basil with avocado (or Swiss Chard, Spinach, Arugula, Asparagus, or some other green) is a really good alternative. The avocado lends the sauce a smooth, rich mouth feel and is good for you too!

The best thing is that this is a no cook sauce and serves 2 – 4.

the ingredients



Serving Bowl

Pot for Spaghetti



2 oz package of pine nuts

1 package fresh basil (about 1/2 cup) stems removed

1 cup shredded parmesan

1 4oz package avocado (guacamole that is just avocado) (or 1 whole fresh avocado)

1 Tblsp minced garlic

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Lemon juice (2 Tblsp Optional)

In a large pot, cook 12oz spaghetti according to package directions.

It’s All in the Blender

While the water comes to a boil and you cook the spaghetti, add the pine nuts, cheese, garlic, basil and guacamole to the blender.

Add the oil and pulse to puree.

Blend until smooth drizzling in the olive oil. Add the lemon juice if you so desire. If it’s too thick, add up to 1/2 cup of water. Adding more oil can make the pesto too greasy and the avocado is already pretty fat.

It’s smooth and creamy!

(Note: I probably should have spun the dry pine nuts a few times to break them up first, then added the basil, then the rest but, it all worked out in the end.)

Time to Mix it Up!

Drain the cooked pasta, put in serving bowl, add the pesto and toss to coat.


My hubby loved the meal. He didn’t find the basil overpowering and the avocado gave the meal a nice rich feel.

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Do you have a favorite pesto supper? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.


BBQ Ribs and Twice Baked Potatoes

BBQ Ribs and Twice Baked Potatoes

BBQ Ribs and Twice Baked Potatoes

I live in Arizona so it’s grilling time just about all of the time. But even for the coldest places, you can grill well into the fall. I thought ribs and potatoes would be nice. Even better, the potatoes can be done on the grill, too! I went one better and used the last of my peaches to make the BBQ Sauce. Yummy.

So, here’s how you do it.

Rib Sauce Ingredients

8 small peaches, pitted

1/2 cup catsup

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1 New Mexico Chili, roasted, seeded, and chopped fine

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp dried minced garlic

1 T dried oregano

1 T Worchester sauce

Halved peaches, New Mexico Chili and Ribs

Halved peaches, New Mexico Chili and Ribs

I pitted and halved the peaches and roasted them on both sides on the grill. I roasted the chili as well. When they were well charred, I put them in a bowl and covered them with plastic wrap to let them steam. Turn the grill to low.

BBQ Sauce Ingredients

BBQ Sauce Ingredients

I put the remaining sauce ingredients in a saucepan and on low, began to heat it through.

Rib Ingredients

1 rack of ribs

Salt, pepper to taste

Olive oil

Coat the ribs with the oil, then salt and pepper.



Place the ribs on the grill, rack side down, and turn the temperature down to about 300 degrees. Cook, low and slow for about 4 hours.

While the ribs are cooking, finish the sauce.

Steaming the peaches and the pepper

Steaming the peaches and the pepper

Take the pepper out of the plastic wrapped bowl and with your fingers, remove most of the charred skin. It’s fine to leave a little on there. Cut the pepper lengthwise and deseed. Chop finely and drop into the saucepan.

Pureeing peaches

Pureeing peaches

Drop the grilled peaches into the bowl of your food processor or blender. Blend until the peaches are liquid.

BBQ Sauce Ingredients

BBQ Sauce Ingredients

Pour into the saucepan. Stir it all together and cook until the onions are cooked through and the sauce is thick and hearty. Take off heat and hold until the ribs are done. Then spread the sauce over the meat side of the ribs. Let cook at least 5 minutes.

Twice Baked Potatoes Ingredients

Three russet baking potatoes

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup chopped chives

1/2 cup shredded cheese, extra for topping the potatoes

Salt and pepper

Baking Potatoes

Baking Potatoes

Using one potato per person, scrub them clean, rub with oil and pierce with a fork. Bake on the grill or in the oven until completely done, 45 min – 1 hour. Take out of the oven. Let cool until you can handle them and cut them in half lengthwise.

Scoop out the potato, leaving a narrow shell of potato. In a bowl, mix the potato, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, salt and pepper and chives until creamy.

Filled potato shells

Filled potato shells

Scoop the mixture back into the shells. Bake for 20 minutes until hot and cheese has melted.


Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Please tell us about your garden or favorite potato or rib recipe in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Thrillers, Mysteries and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

Chicklets in the Kitchen Post: Swiss Chard and Basil Pesto

Swiss Chard, Basil, Pesto

Swiss Chard and Basil Pesto

Last month I talked about all of the fantastic fresh vegetables you can get at the Farmer’s Market. That’s still the case in July but also in July your home gardens should be producing like crazy. That’s when you want some recipes to use all of that wonderful fresh, organic bounty.

Pesto is just such a recipe. Traditional pesto calls for all basil as the green along with pine nuts, olive oil and parmesan cheese. I have found, however, that all that basil can be a little overpowering. So, the best way to tone it down is to mix it with another green. You can use spinach, arugula, beet greens, anything you have on hand. The best thing about a pesto spaghetti dinner is that it’s nearly no cook. The pesto is a raw sauce, just add hot pasta and you have a lovely meal.

In this case I had an abundance of parsley and just enough basil and chives in my garden, all I had to do was buy some Swiss Chard at the Farmer’s Market to make a delicious meal. I know, I did a Swiss Chard recipe last month. But it’s so good and if you have it growing in your garden, you want to use it, right? So, here’s how you do it.

Pasta, Primavera, Ingredients

Pasta Primavera Ingredients


1/2 pound of Swiss Chard, chopped, leaves and stems

1 small bunch basil,

1 handful chives

1 Cup parsley, picked from stem

1 4oz pkg pine nuts (or walnuts if you prefer)

Salt, Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes to taste

1 1/2 lb Gluten Free Pasta

1/2 Cup olive oil

Heat the water for the pasta while you’re chopping the vegetables.

Gluten Free, Pasta

Gluten Free Pasta

Drop the pasta in the boiling water and follow the package directions for al dente pasta. NOTE: I used this Hodge’s pasta because I really wanted an angel hair type pasta. I was disappointed to see that once I started mixing it into the pesto, the strands broke down into 1/2 – 1/4 inch bits. Not spaghetti at all. It tasted fine, just wasn’t spaghetti. Use your favorite pasta.

Bring a small skillet to medium high heat.

Toasting, Pine Nuts

Toasting Pine Nuts

Drop in the pine nuts to toast. DO NOT walk away. As soon as you can smell the nuts, it’s too late. Watch that pan, toss around to brown evenly. As soon as they brown, take them off the heat to cool.

Swiss Chard, Chopped

Swiss Chard, Chopped

Trim the stem ends of the Swiss Chard and chop. Strip the basil from the stems, same with the parsley. Have the chives on hand, ready to go into the food processor.

Grated, Parmesan, Cheese, Connie Cockrell

Grated Parmesan Cheese by Connie Cockrell

Using a grating blade in your food processor, grate the parmesan cheese. I just grated a whole brick of it. You won’t need all of it but it’ll be ready for your next pasta meal.

Pine Nuts, Food Processor, Connie Cockrell

Pine Nuts in Food Processor by Connie Cockrell

In the food processor, change out the grating blade for the regular blade. Add the pine nuts and whirl until nearly pasty.

Process, Swiss Chard, Connie Cockrell

Process Swiss Chard by Connie Cockrell

Add the Swiss Chard a batch at a time. Process until reduced then add more.

Add, Basil, Chives, Connie Cockrell

Add Basil and Chives by Connie Cockrell

Add the parsley and process.

Scrape down, bowl, food processor, Connie Cockrell

Scrape down the bowl of the food processor by Connie Cockrell

Scrape down the sides a little to get the nuts to mix with the greens.

Add the basil and chives. Whirl some more, drizzling in 1/2 of the olive oil to loosen the sauce.

Add, Parmesan Cheese, Red Pepper Flakes, Connie Cockrell

Add Parmesan Cheese and Red Pepper Flakes by Connie Cockrell

Add the cheese and the red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Process again adding more olive oil to loosen.

Finished Swiss Chard and Basil Pesto

Finished Swiss Chard and Basil Pesto

Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and do a quick rinse. In a large bowl, drop the pesto onto the spaghetti and toss. Add some of the pasta water, it just helps loosen the sauce. Stir to combine. Top with more basil and some grated Parmesan cheese.


Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Please tell us about your Farmer’s Market or favorite pasta recipe in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Thrillers, Mysteries and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at http://www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.