52 Week Challenge – Meal #4

Sun Dried Tomato & Sweet Corn Skillet Lasagna

Well, it’s been awhile “off”, but I’m back at it again. Meal Challenge plans were made but then swimming pools were offered and we visited. And then, the swim time visits trickled into dinner time visits at said swimming pool locations. AND – when delicious meals are offered, my family happily accepts. However, in the meantime, the Meal Challenge plans kept getting pushed back. Nevertheless, an open night was found!

Where I found this recipe is one of my favorite places to visit for ideas – Jessica Merchant’s website – How Sweet Eats. She does have a couple cookbooks available, but I truly enjoy her weekly (you can also pick “daily” when subscribing) emails. They are always inspiring and each of them always seems to have something new that I want to be trying. Now, after all that praise, I ended up not being too fond of our outcome (sorry – no spoiler alert). However, as you’ll see, we “shortcutted” some things and that’s probably what did us in. I mean . . . we all still ate the meal and it was in no way bad, BUT – we could have done a little better job of following the recipe. Like the other challenges, simply click on the recipe title for the link of what was borrowed (adapted?). As always, I’ll lay out what we followed as well as the changes that were made along the way.

Meal prep music provided by Spotify with their playlist, Bluegrass Junction. Lauren chose this “tunage” for the evening. Unfortunately, I don’t have anything nice to say here. Again, Lauren picked it.

And the beverage of choice for both pre-game and during:

(Yeah, we did the box wine thing again)

The Line-up (Ingredients)

SUN DRIED TOMATO PESTO
1 cup packed basil leaves
1 7 oz jar sun dried tomatoes in olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup freshly grated Stella Parmesan Cheese
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
⅓ to ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

We totally cheated here and went with store bought pesto:

LASAGNA
8 ounces lasagna noodles, broken into thirds (another shortcut here and this is probably what did us in – we used oven ready noodles)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
4 ears corn, kernels cut from cob (we used fresh Jersey corn – important to say that – corn from New Jersey. That’s what I was taught.)
15 ounces ricotta cheese
1 (8 oz) ball Stella Fresh Mozzarella
1 cup freshly grated Stella Parmesan Cheese
1 handful basil leaves, for garnish

Game Plan (Instructions)

SUN DRIED TOMATO PESTO
Word for word – this is what Jessica’s website says to do. I’ve got nothing to add here because ours came from a jar: Combine the basil, sun dried tomatoes (and the oil from the jar), garlic, Parmesan, pine nuts, salt and pepper in a food processor. Pulse until combined. With the processor on, stream in the olive oil, starting with ⅓ cup. You may need a bit more depending on how much olive oil is in your jar of tomatoes.

LASAGNA
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil so you can cook the lasagna noodles. Cook them according to the package directions, but shave 1 minute off the cook time so the noodles are al dente. Drain the noodles once they are finished boiling. (Remember – ours were already done and “oven ready”). Heat an oven-safe 8 or 10-inch skillet over medium-low heat and add the olive oil. Add the shallots with a pinch of salt and pepper and stir. Cook until softened, about 3 minutes.

(My wife loves shallots – she says that it’s as if garlic and an onion had a baby)

Next, stir in the corn kernels. Then, stir in the pesto. Take the noodles and fold them into the corn and pesto mixture in the skillet. Add on some spoonfuls of ricotta cheese and a few slices of the Stella Fresh Mozzarella, along with grated Stella Parmesan Cheese and, of course, save some for a topping! Make sure the noodles are all coated and then top with remaining sliced mozzarella and Parmesan.

Bake the lasagna for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove it from the oven and garnish with extra fresh basil. Serve!

(You know – Garnishing it with fresh basil
might have brightened up this shot more.)

Again, short-cuts were made because impatient and “starving” children were waiting. But – my wife and I still had fun putting together the meal and completely realize that if we would ever do it over again, we’d follow the original recipe. Lesson learned – maybe. 🙂