Parmesan Pesto Crusted Cod and Red Velvet Tres Leches Cake Trifles

As part of a sponsored post for Collective Bias®,  I made this Parmesan Pesto Crusted Cod and Red Velvet Tres Leches Cake Trifles as an easy, romantic meal idea.

Parmesan Pesto Crusted Cod | Melanie Makes #Valentines4All #shop #cbias

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about dinner plans!  Andy and I have always elected to enjoy dinner at home.  Restaurant crowds?  No, thank you!  In the early years of our marriage, Andy would always prepare dinner for me.  Now with his crazy schedule, I’ve taken over dinner prep.  If you’ll be enjoying a meal prepared at home this Valentine’s Day, consider your search for easy, romantic meal ideas over.  I’ve got two recipes that will no doubt impress but won’t keep you in the kitchen all evening either!

Parmesan Pesto Crusted Cod | Melanie Makes #Valentines4All #shop #cbias

First up?  This flavor packed Parmesan Pesto Crusted Cod is a knockout main course.  It’s amazing that such little prep work is involved to create such big flavor.  Pesto, parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs layer to create the perfect crust atop this flaky, white fish.

Romantic Meal Idea | Melanie Makes

As much as I love making homemade pesto, fresh basil is not abundant in February in Ohio.  Or if it is, I have yet to find it.  Instead, I took some assistance from Buitoni by using their Pesto with Basil, easily found in the refrigerated case on my last trip to Walmart.  This main course for two requires only two tablespoons of pesto so it only makes sense to take this easy, yet flavorful, shortcut.  A bonus is that I’ll have pesto leftover for another meal.

Parmesan Pesto Crusted Cod | Melanie Makes #Valentines4All #shop #cbias

Parmesan Pesto Crusted Cod
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 2 4 oz. cod fillets
  • 2 tablespoons Buitoni Pesto with Basil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs
  • Buitoni Linguini
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and place cod fillets on baking sheet. Remove extra moisture by patting dry with towel.
  3. In small bowl, stir together Buitoni Pesto with Basil and lemon zest. Top each cod fillet with one tablespoon pesto mixture.
  4. In another small bowl, combine parmesan cheese, bread crumbs and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle half of cheese mixture over each piece of fish and gently pat to adhere to pesto.
  5. Serve with wedges of lemon to squeeze over fish when served, if desired.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until parmesan crust has browned and fish easily flakes.

Parmesan Pesto Crusted Cod | Melanie Makes #Valentines4All #shop #cbias

I chose to plate my fish on a bed of Buitoni linguine and zucchini noodles I created with my new favorite kitchen gadget, a spiralizer.  Protein, carb and vegetable – easiest main course ever!  Thirty minutes maximum to prepare from beginning to end.  Your Valentine will be most impressed!

Red Velvet Tres Leches Cake Trifles | Melanie Makes #Valentines4All #shop #cbias

What could follow such an amazing main course?  How about Red Velvet Tres Leches Cake Trifles?  Individual desserts created by layering tequila whipped cream, red velvet tres leches cake, sliced strawberries and grated dark chocolate.  The color of these trifles is so holiday appropriate, wouldn’t you agree?

Red Velvet Tres Leches Cake Trifles | Melanie Makes #Valentines4All #shop #cbias

As much as I enjoy Tres Leches cake, I don’t tend to make it often as it’s usually so time intensive.  Until now!  Nestle has created this amazing new Tres Leches Cake Kit that can have you baking a cake even when helping a child with homework, making train noises while playing with another child and having an impromptu dance party to the Mary Poppins soundtrack with child number three.  Yes, I’m speaking from experience.

Nestle has made it so easy that I actually chose to put my own spin on this cake kit by adding cocoa and red gel food coloring to create a Red Velvet Tres Leches cake.

Red Velvet Tres Leches Cake Trifles | Melanie Makes #Valentines4All #shop #cbias

Red Velvet Tres Leches Cake Trifles
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6
  • 1 Nestle Tres Leches Cake Kit
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 ounce red gel food coloring
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon white tequila
  • 1 quart strawberries, thinly sliced
  • 1 dark chocolate bar
Red Velvet Tres Leches Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray 9" cake pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  3. Beat cake mix, oil, eggs and cocoa in large mixing bowl on low speed until combined. With rubber spatula, scrape down sides of bowl.
  4. Add red gel food coloring and beat on medium-high speed for 2 minutes.
  5. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean.
  6. Let cake cool on wire rack for 5 minutes
  7. Using a skewer, poke holes all over cake top.
  8. Combine milk with sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk included in the Tres Leches Cake Kit in a medium bowl, stirring well. Pour milk mixture over cake.
  9. Once absorbed, cover cake and refrigerate overnight.
Tequila Whipped Cream
  1. With whisk attachment of electric mixer, whisk whipping cream on medium speed.
  2. When cream begins to thicken, add powdered sugar and tequila. Continuing whisking for 3-4 minutes, being careful not to over whisk.
Assembling Trifles
  1. Use two heaping tablespoons of Tequila Whipped Cream to create first layer of trifle.
  2. Grate dark chocolate over whipped cream.
  3. Using a cooking cutter or other round object, cut the cake layer of your trifle to fit your glass and place on top of whipped cream and dark chocolate.
  4. Top with two heaping tablespoons of Tequila Whipped Cream.
  5. Grate dark chocolate over whipped cream.
  6. Place slices of strawberry along outside edge of glass and then layer on top of whipped cream.
  7. Top with two heaping tablespoons of Tequila Whipped Cream.
  8. Grate dark chocolate over whipped cream.
  9. Garnish with whole strawberry, if desired.

Red Velvet Tres Leches Cake Trifles | Melanie Makes #Valentines4All #shop #cbias

Tequila whipped cream?  I think I’ve found my new favorite dessert garnish!  The perfect topping for a latin inspired dessert. Enjoy!


  1. you = AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. WOW -this looks absolutely amazing!! Thank you! #client

  3. Gorgeous photos! I really want a bite of those trifles. Yum.

  4. This looks fantastic! And your photography is unreal! I’m in love with that red velvet tres leches cake trifles – so much fun! Pinned!

  5. Fantastic work Melanie!!! You are next level for sure. Excited to have you working on this campaign. #client

  6. Mike Duley says:

    AMAZING!!! Tremendous

  7. Courtney RV Lawless says:

    Top notch work on this Melanie! You are a SoFab ROCKSTAR!

  8. Love your photos! This meal looks AMAZING! Thanks for sharing these fabulous recipes! #client

  9. Wonderful dinner and healthy too! #client

    • Thanks, Joan! By using half zucchini noodles and half pasta under the fish, it helped to not make things so heavy but still taste delicious!

  10. Red velvet!!! YUM! I want one! And the cod looks so light and healthy! #client

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