Pesto Possibilities and Meals For One

Wednesday, August 29th was the final round of August Cooking Classes at our house. And much fun was had by all.

For Pesto Possibilities, we harvested basil from our patio garden, then created two different types of pesto – Basil Walnut Pesto and Basil Tomato Pesto.

Next up, we created “roll ups” using our freshly made pesto, sliced deli turkey, arugula, and cheese slices.

Our side dish consisted of Pesto Potato Salad that we “invented” as we went along. Mixing some of our pesto with a little canola mayo and a squeeze of lemon, we stirred that delightful tasting goodness into freshly steamed (in the microwave) red potatoes, added some chopped celery, and lunch was served!

Also on the menu: Grilled Zucchini Roll-ups.  Super simple to make, and very tasty little bundles used as a side dish or party appetizer.

Later that day, Meals For One was on the docket. After boiling some lasagna noodles, and letting them cool, we constructed “Lasagna Nests” utilizing ramekins as our “nests”. (This was a take on two different recipes. Here’s the other recipe.)

Our filling consisted of sautéed mushrooms, a little garlic, thawed frozen spinach (well-drained), vodka sauce, and freshly ground pepper – all mixed together in our skillet. (Added just enough sauce to make it “colorful, but not runny).

Our stove top cooking was completed. In a small bowl, we whisked together ricotta cheese, one egg, some grated parmesan cheese, freshly ground pepper, a pinch of salt, fresh chopped basil, thyme, and oregano from the garden (and the secret ingredient – grated nutmeg). Whew!  It came together quickly – and in one dish.

Taking our lasagna noodles, we crisscrossed two in each ramekin (that was sprayed with non-stick cooking spray), added some of the ricotta mixture, then some of the mushroom mixture, a little grated mozzarella, and crossed 2 of the noodles over to begin to close up our bundle. (If the noodles overhang the edge of the ramekins, just use kitchen scissors to cut them to size).

Once closed, we added another layer of ricotta mixture, mushroom mixture, and mozzarella, and crossed the 2 remaining noodles over the bundle. On the tippy-top, we put a small amount of the ricotta mixture to cover the noodles, and added some mozzarella – then topped it all off with grated parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil.

These pretty little nests were placed on a baking sheet and into a 350 degree oven, for about 18 -20 minutes (until bubbly and golden brown on top). While these cooked, we made our Stuffed Pork Chops.

While the lasagna cooled, we finished cooking  Pork Chops Stuffed with Goat Cheese, Sun-Dried Cherry Tomatoes, and Walnuts. Yes, just like it sounds, we mixed the ingredients, cut small slits in the pork, inserted the mixture, and popped them in the oven for about 15 minutes. 

Removing these Lasagna babies from the oven, we could hardly wait for them to cool enough to “unmold” and taste test. But we had to use our patience, so as not to burn our mouths, ’cause there was way more to taste!

All of those good smells were really driving us crazy hungry, so we had to dive in! Class dismissed…..!


About Our Kitchen Inventions

Inspired by travels to Italy, cooking with fresh ingredients, sharing our Kitchen Inventions dinners with friends, and enjoying good wine. Photography and cooking are the main focus for our site. Please stop by Wade's website to enjoy more of his works of photography.
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10 Responses to Pesto Possibilities and Meals For One

  1. arzea says:

    YUM! I love me some pesto! Let me know when the next dinner meetup group is!


  2. megtraveling says:

    That looks like a fun class! And the lasagna looks delicious 🙂


  3. Karen says:

    I’m sure that your class will be signing up again with all the nice dishes that you prepared. Nice job!


  4. Susan, I don’t even know where to begin because everything looks so good. Those zucchini roll ups are such a clever idea & I think I’ll maybe make some for an apartment warming that my daughter will be having in October. What do you think about making ahead on those?
    But, hands down those lasagna nests are going on my list for sure. I love the way they look & I’m imagining the flavors right now.
    Plus it sounds like all of you had a great time doing this. Fun when you’ve got company in the kitchen.


    • Hi! It was a ball. Mu thoughts – the zucchini roll ups are better if made and eaten fairly quickly. But, you could “make and take” the same day. Or – better yet! – do a Trial Run and see if it works to keep them overnight in the fridge. The lasagna is deluxe – easy, pretty, and a great presentation. Plus, it is fun to have your “own” little nest instead of a big ol’ slab of lasagna 🙂


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