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.


Spaghetti Sauce

Gluten Free Spaghetti with Meat Sauce by Connie Cockrell

Gluten Free Spaghetti with Meat Sauce by Connie Cockrell

Last month I talked about my Paleo diet. That worked well until mid-August when my work on the Payson Northern Gila County Fair ramped up. Any diet at all went straight out the window. I still had to be gluten free, of course, but mainly I was just trying to stay fed. The week-end of the fair I was lucky. We had four food vendors and three of them had gluten-free options. Yay! Don’t you just love fair food?

My garden here in central Arizona is beginning to look a little tired. The tomato plants have sprawled all over. The butternut squash has filled all of the space between the raised beds. The mint has grown wild and is in full charge of the one raised bed it’s in. I have to cut the mint back. I let it flower because the bees love it but now the whole mess is producing seed. Can’t have that. The oregano I hung to dry was nice and crisp so I took it down, stripped it off of the stems and put it in big steel cans I have for storing herbs. The whole kitchen smelled like oregano. I cut thyme, washed it and hung it from the drying rack I made. It’ll be dry in about 2 weeks. Then I’ll dry sage.

Want to dry herbs but don’t have a rack? I made mine from an old plastic picture frame I got for a quarter at one of the local thrift shops. I stapled garden netting to the back of it. I can lean it against the wall on top of my cupboards where it’s nice and hot and it fits just right and hang bunches of herbs from the frame or the netting. I’ll never have to buy oregano, thyme, sage or rosemary again.

So on to a recipe. I love spaghetti or pasta in any form, to be honest. I make my own sauce as I find the jarred stuff too sweet.

Basic Spaghetti Sauce
1 lb ground meat
1 c chopped onion
1-2 cloves minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp capers
2 – 3 anchovy filets
Dried basil, oregano to taste
1/2 cup of red wine
2-3 T tomato paste
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1 T Olive Oil
1 32oz can crushed or diced tomatoes

Heat a large, deep frying pan. Add the olive oil. Salt and pepper the ground meat and put in the hot pan. Brown the meat till nearly done. Add the wine to deglaze the pan. Add the onion, garlic, capers and anchovies. Cook 3-4 minutes then add the herbs, tomato paste and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine. Add the canned tomatoes. Stir to combine. Fill the tomato can with water to get all of that tomato goodness and add to the pan, stirring to combine. Cover and let simmer for 2 – 4 hours until the sauce has cooked down to a thick consistency. Pour over the cooked pasta of your choice.

My mom likes to add sweet peppers to her sauce. I add a couple of bay leaves. Both are optional.

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

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

Spinach Roll-Ups

Spinach Roll-ups | Chicklets in the Kitchen Hello again! It has been a while since I have posted, but I have been kind of busy lately.

I have decided to take on a new task these days. Instead of going with the old favorites of my family, or exotic meats, I am instead going to go through old recipe books that I have lying around. Many of them were passed down from my mother, who is still alive, but no longer uses these books (or never used them in the first place!) Continue reading

I did so well this week!

Okay, first, I joined Weight Watchers.  Seeing my flabby arms in pictures at the RWA conference made me go… hmmmm.

So I planned all my meals this week (and by this week, I mean Sunday through Wednesday), including chicken strips and antipasto and tacos and hamburgers.  And we had leftovers last night.

But last night … I completely forgot about dinner.  So we had Chinese takeout.

Now, I did get the diet dish of steamed chicken and veggies.  But I also had an eggroll.  And lo mien.  And some fried rice.  And a piece of honey chicken.  And more lo mien.

Good thing my week restarts on Friday, right?

Antipasto is so easy.  Pasta.  Meat.  Cheese.  Veggies.  Dressing. Voila!  Here’s mine:



1 box of ronzoni garden harvest anything.
1 (or more or less, depending on how long the slice) thick slice of deli turkey (like, a quarter inch thick), chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 (or more or less, depending on how much you like cheese) thick slice of provolone cheese (or your choice of cheese), chopped into bite-sized pieces
Mini Turkey pepperonis.  I tried salami, but it didn’t have the kick I wanted. These already come in bite-sized pieces.
Italian dressing.  I’d be extremely impressed if you were able to cut this into bite-sized pieces.  I’d also want pictures.
Vegetables, chopped into … right.  Bite-sized pieces.  Cucumber and tomatoes are my staples.  I also add artichoke hearts and hearts of palm.  Sometimes I add red pepper.  Heck, you could even add fruit if you want (and purists everywhere, who were mostly okay with the pepperoni, now full-out disagree).

One thing, though.  I hate olives.  HATE THEM.  With the passion of a thousand burning suns.  So you won’t find them anywhere near my recipes.  Or even in my house.   And I’m certainly not suggesting you add them to your meal.  Even if you do chop them up into bite-sized pieces.

Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Mix it with some dressing so it doesn’t get sticky, then put it in the fridge to cool down.  I usually do this the night before.

THEN – add everything else and mix it up good!  Add more dressing as you see fit.  Eat and enjoy.  I think one cup of it is maybe around 12 points.  Which is kinda a lot, but my breakfast and lunch are usually light on point values.

… yeah, I got nothing by way of questions for you.  What did you have for dinner last night?




Linguine alla Carbonarra


Hello Chicklets readers! Lis’Anne here with a past Guest Rooster in the house today. Jon Akers is sharing one of his culinary masterpieces, a hearty pasta dish. Welcome back to the Kitchen, Jon! 😀

Looking at the past month or so of posts, I note that there is a severe lack of dishes and recipes that are, well… not necessarily healthy for you. As such, I present to you a favorite pasta dish of mine that is possibly going to set your taste buds into overdrive and your heart into palpitations of distress. Linguine alla Carbonarra!

The finished product, linguine alla carbonnara!

The finished product, linguine alla carbonnara!

Continue reading

Cheryl Norman Shares Her Hasty Tasty RV Meals


Cheryl NormanGood morning roosters and chicklets! Please welcome Cheryl Norman to the kitchen! If you dream of some day traveling across the U.S. in an RV, having Cheryl’s cookbook sure will make meal planning a breeze!

The Traveling Cook

I believe recreating dishes from other regions is the next best thing to travel. Continue reading

Pasta Salad, Today & Tomorrow–Gluten-Free Style

Hi Chicklets! Today I’m going to talk about pasta salad. Whether you’re in Florida battening down for Debby or in the Outer Banks on vacation or in Canada battling a heat wave, this pasta salad is right for you. And it’s SO EASY to make. Continue reading

Gluten-Free Girl & Homemade Veggie Crab Soup

Our Writing Space

Last weekend, a writer buddy and I escaped from life to spend two days at an intensive writing retreat. This was the third time we’d done gone off to get some serious work done on our manuscripts.

Since Elle found and secured accommodations, it seemed only fair that I cooked for the weekend. And being the good sport she is, Elle didn’t complain when I served a strictly gluten-free menu.

Friday night we ate a frozen GF pizza, Saturday night it was GF veggie lasagna. But Saturday afternoon, I made Veggie Crab soup from scratch-ish. Continue reading

Helpful Hands

It’s happened to all of us.  Someone has a baby, or is in the hospital, or just needs some help in the kitchen.  The call goes out for those who can provide a meal.  And you want to help, but what can  you do?

The Great Fallback of pasta is a good idea, but it’s common, and how many days in a row can a family eat spaghetti?  (Plus the  Things have decided they don’t like tomato sauce unless it’s on pizza, so this wouldn’t go over well in my house.)  Deli meats are okay, but I prefer to bring something with a little more originality.

Enter the Junior Leagues In the Kitchen With Kids recipes and activities for healthy living and the Italian Meatball Soup. Continue reading