Multi Herb Pesto Does It Alway Have to be Made with only Basil

Pesto is familiar to many people these days and still many have never tasted it. It is readily available in most stores and also easy to make. Generally pesto is made with basil, garlic, pine nuts, cheese, and olive oil and a little salt. Freshly made it can last in your refrigerator up to a week or frozen for later use.

I wanted some one day and I did not have all the ingredients so I decided I would make my own recipe and refer to it as Multi Herb Pesto. Anyone can make this and add it to our growing list of one new creation a week. I simply did not have enough basil in my herb garden and I felt like getting creative.

Here is the recipe I created with what I had on hand at the time:.

  1. 3 cloves of garlic
  2. 2T. (about 8) Kalamata pitted Olives ( use those packed in olive oil)
  3. 3 stems of Basil— it was all I had left
  4. 3T chopped sun dried tomatoes
  5. 10 stems of Parsley
  6. 3 stems of cilantro ( all herbs are optional and to your taste)
  7. 3-4 T olive oil ( adjust to your taste and degree of thickness)

Pinch of salt…. can always add more and I generally do. This recipe makes about 3/4 C

Gather your herbs from your garden or at the market. I went off to my herb tub to snip herbs that I could use.Rinse the herbs and toss in a food processor or chopper along with other ingredients. Chop and add oil. If too thick add more oil. Be sure to taste and add more salt if needed.

If using over spaghetti, I place a small amount in bottom of pasta bowl, add pasta on top, then more pesto, a little of the pasta water and continue to toss until pasta is evenly coated. I generally add hamburger, sausage, or chicken and serve. Shredded cheese is on hand as we prefer to add our own amount of cheese rather than having it in the pesto sauce.

Even if I make a red sauce for pasta I generally add some of this multi herb sauce to the red after it has cooked.

Other uses:

We love to grill vegetables and the sky is the limit…..zucchini, onions, celery, sweet red peppers, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, etc and we add this sauce to it with a little more oil and sometimes a bit of  balsamic vinegar. It makes for a great salad. You can also add lettuce to this or pasta of your choice and some grilled chicken for a main course.

We use it as a basting sauce for chicken, also placing some under the skin of the chicken. Grill or roast the chicken

Love it on cooked potatoes. Cool the potatoes slightly, cut in mouth size pieces and add the sauce

It is good on fish. I often use it on tilapia and cod and sometimes salmon.

There are so many uses for this Multi Herb Sauce and even though this is not a Traditional pesto recipe it is what we enjoy and use. Changing the herbs each time alters the flavor so something new arrives at the table each time. .

So use what you have on hand, adjust ingredients to your taste and Enjoy!


Grilled Lemon Chicken

Great day in the desert to Bar-B-Cue ( high 80’s and no wind) chicken using a simple  basting of lemon and herbs. First outside to our  Meyer Lemon Tree to pick a large one or several small ones..

So many lemons still on the tree and new blossoms appearing.  The scent of the lemon blossoms is so invigorating to my senses. When the patio doors are open it reaches inside our home and can be enjoyed while cooking.

Now onto our herb garden in a tub to snip some parsley,thyme and oregano. Use whatever herbs appeal to you.

These herbs have grown all winter long covered in the tub with small white Christmas lights providing some heat. We sell the tubs locally and off and on at my Tanglewood site. Yes, sorry, that was a bit of advertising for our custom made wood tubs. 🙂

The chicken weighed 3.7 pounds and today we cut  it in half;  basting one in lemon dressing and the other half for a red sauce. Here is my recipe for the lemon basting:

  1. Juice of 1 large lemon
  2. 2-3 T. olive oil
  3. Use Any amount of  chopped herbs you like. I like to use 2 T. and add a teaspoon or more of honey and then whisk to mix.

In the mean time the chicken has been cleaned and dried and sprinkled with coarse sea salt and pepper. Allow to sit for 20- 30 minutes while preparing grill.

We use briquets from Trader Joe’s. They have no fillers added such as coal dust or parafins as binders. They only use cornstarch with their hardwoods. All Natural without petroleum products making the taste much better and safe for us. Get the grill hot and then oil with a little olive oil. Place chicken to side of hot coals using the indirect grilling method.. Grill for 20 minutes and then baste and turn chicken. I do this every 20 minutes until chicken is done. I generally like mine to show a temperature reading of 175 while most  cooking thermometers say 165. Everyone has their own taste and opinions on this. I like mine to fall apart a bit while remaining moist. So today grilling these as half chickens took  mine about 1 hour to complete. Again, let your preferences be your guide.

Our chicken was served with baked potatoes and a simple veggie salad. Yum, we always enjoy this and  hope you do also.

Have a great day.

Oven Sun Dried Tomatoes

Yes, Sun Dried Oven tomatoes is maybe something new for some and a fun new recipe to try and share with others. But first can anyone believe that is March; the holidays are over and spring is around the corner. When I started needle and spoon my goal was to post 3-5 times a week and that remains my goal. So, back on track and ready to pursue the creative life with one new creation a week or month. It is what motivates me and fun to share with others.

Today I want to share my recipe for sun dried oven tomatoes. We love them and use them the same as we do regular tomatoes. Should you try this recipe in your home I think you will agree that they taste so much better than the ones you buy in the store. Doesn’t everything!?

Our local Sprouts store had Romas on sale…. 2 pounds for $1.00 and I purchased almost 8 pounds and only using a few for a regular lettuce salad. I cleaned about 7 1/2 pounds, cut them in half and half again. Keep all pieces under 2 inches. Remove the seeds and place in a large bowl.

A mixture of 1 teaspoon of basil, 2 teaspoons of oregano, thyme and salt are added to the large bowl of tomatoes. These herbs can be measured to your taste. I prefer fresh basil to dried so I add it later. As the TV chefs have often said “The food is about your taste”. When cooking adjust the herbs and spices to what you like, when baking follow the recipe exactly. Also add a tablespoon of olive oil and mix all of this.

I prepare my tomatoes in my oven set at 170 degrees. It generally takes 10 to 12 hours. I have no idea about a dehydrator as I do not own one but have read it takes 3 – 4 hours.

Place the tomatoes in non aluminum pans. I use a broiler pan and a baking pan with just a tad bit of olive oil on the pan. Set timer for 3 hours and leave oven door open a bit to allow moisture to escape. Every 3 hours check and turn tomatoes. A heavy spatula comes in handy to smash and turn them. Between 6 and 9 hours you can merge tomatoes to one pan as they have shrunk that much. Mine our generally done to our liking in about 10 hours. Allow them to cool and place in a clean canning jar and cover with olive oil. I always use a quart canning jar and keep fresh in refrigerator.

The jar yields about 27 ounces of dried tomatoes and this will vary each time you make them. This is at least 3 times more than the small jar from the store and that small jar is gone in well under 2 weeks at our house. So, I love making these when the Romas are on sale at such a good price. What a great taste they are on sandwiches, pasta, all kinds of salads, cooked with chicken and wherever your creative food taste takes you.


7-8 pounds of roma tomatoes
1 tsp basil, 2 tsp of oregano, thyme and salt.
1 Tablespoon olive
Olive oil
170 degree oven, 10-12 hours.

Clean, seed tomatoes and place in large bowl, pieces no bigger than 2 inches. Add the herbs and olive oil. Place on non aluminum pans and into preheated oven.

Check every 3 hours, smashing and turning tomatoes.

Leave oven door ajar to allow moisture to escape.
When done, cool and pack in canning jar and cover with olive oil. Then refrigerate.

Hope you enjoy them and stop back as next time we will use the needle.