Happy post-Labor weekend! It was filled with beautiful beach barbecues at the Montage beach and yummy dinner parties. My boyfriend and I celebrated our anniversary with a backyard dinner with our friends. Since I had a packed weekend, I picked a menu that was easy to assemble early so I could just throw things in the oven.
My summer dinner menu:
Cheese Board – Italian truffle cheese, Pesto Gouda
Baked Brie with Honey and Thyme
Fresh baguette (made by my friend!)
Fruits – Green grapes and Pears
Toasted Cashews and Pistachios
Lemon Chicken over Basmati Rice
Roasted Rosemary Potatoes
Avocado Pesto Pasta with Roasted summer vegetables
Peach + Blueberry Cake a la mode with fresh vanilla ice cream
I made most of the items the day before, or they were at least easy to prepare (less than 15 min) the day of. And I pretty much always go for no-cook/bake appetizers…you don’t want your guests to get full on appetizers anyways! It turned out to be a perfect stress-less dinner party where I actually got to enjoy and drink wine. The key was making a 3-day to do list, and a time schedule on the day of so I know exactly when to start throwing things into the oven.
I made some easy flower arrangements as centerpieces, too. You can buy flowers for pretty cheap at Trader Joe’s and make your our arrangements rather than buy pre-made bouquets! I chose summer retro colors blue and red, so I had 2 mason jars filled with blue-white hydrangea with red gerber daisies tucked in between. And the main centerpiece were white calla lilies with red roses in a skinny vase.
I had some ingredients left over so I decided to whip up a quick fresh lunch today – Avocado and spinach pesto pasta! During the dinner, I had oven roasted grape tomatoes and yellow squash for it, but I’m in a rush over the week so fresh grape tomatoes sufficed. It’s more refreshing and fast and oh so good! Did I mention it was healthy for you too?? In the end, you have a creamy pesto pasta with all the summer flavors you could ask for – creamy avocado, fresh basil and garlic, tangy lemon hints and sweet juicy tomatoes!
Fun tip: After I use my avocados, I like to save the skins because there’s usually enough left to make into an avocado face mask! Just rub the skin all over a fresh clean face!
Avocado and Spinach Pesto Pasta
Prep TIme: 15 min, Total time: 15-20 min
- 8 oz of fettuccine (1/2 package) – I like to use whole wheat fettuccine, but you can really use any kind you want
- 1 Avocado
- 1-2 cups of Spinach
- 1/2-1 cups of fresh Basil
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- Juice of 1 small lemon or half a large lemon
- Pine nuts (optional)
- 1 pint grape tomatoes
- Parmesan for garnish (optional)
1. Cook the pasta according to the package, saving a small cup of pasta water on the side before draining.
2. While the pasta is cooking, place your avocado, spinach, basil, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, 1 1/2 tsp salt and a pinch of pepper into a food processor or blender. If you have pine nuts, you can add them in, too. Blend until smooth.
3. After you grain your pasta, dump your pesto sauce into the original pot. Toss in your pasta, adding in as much pasta water as you like to get a more saucy texture.
4. Toss in your fresh grape tomatoes and garnish with freshly grated pepper and parmesan. Enjoy!
Note: If you have left over sauce, you can always store it in the freezer.