Sorry for not putting up a post earlier.Brandon was in town and we spent the whole weekend watching movies lazing on the couch and going to Carowinds (an amusement park). We had the best time ever. This is the first time I was going to an amusement park here in America, and I went absolutely crazy, because, well, there are not so many rides back in Bangalore. I missed my Etta (brother) because he would've loved all the roller coasters and I missed my Acha because whenever I did go to an amusement park in the past I always had his arm to hold on to when I was scared. Well anyway, I just had a very fun weekend!
Since Brandon was coming home I got really excited to have a guest stay over at our place the whole weekend; This was a first. So, I spent Friday evening cooking and preparing for Brandon's arrival. Brandon is one of our closest friends and since he lives with his roommates and doesn't have anyone to cook for him, I felt it was my duty to make him feel as much at home as possible. On Friday I made pesto chicken with barbecue sauce (I know, it sounds like a weird combination, but they both enjoyed it a lot) and I also made butternut squash pasta with goat cheese. These are two very simple recipes which I'm sure y'all will enjoy! The butternut squash pasta with goat cheese was actually inspired by a recipe I saw on tv. I followed it through pretty much the same way, but I realized you had to add something more to it otherwise the taste is bland and flat.
On Saturday everyone woke up late and I just ended up making a heavy brunch, which consisted of italian sausages, bacon, bagels, waffles and the side condiments and preserves. On Sunday we spent the whole day outside at Carowinds, so I really did not have to cook that day. Then today I decided to make some home-made bagels, which are fairly simple to make and taste really really good. We don't get nice bagels back in India and I'd always ask people coming from the States, to get me a bag of bagels every time they visited Bangalore; they are just so good! And, did you know that bagels were boiled before they're baked? Well, it was really simple; more simple than I expected, and I hope you try to make them too! So, here are the recipes:
Pesto Barbecue Chicken:
- 1 hour for marination
- 30-40 minutes for cooking
- 1/2 cup of chopped basil leaves
- 1 tbsp of garlic
- 2 tbsps of cream
- 3 tbsps of walnuts
- 4 tbsps of olive oil
- 2 tsps of all spice
- salt to taste
- 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce
- 3 pieces of chicken breast
- 4-5 tbsps of chopped olives
- 4-5 tbsps of chopped roasted bell peppers
- chopped nuts for garnish
- Grind the ingredients for the marinade together and pour it over the chicken breasts, ensuring that it's covered well (if the pesto is dry, add a few tablespoons of water to wet it a little bit)
- Marinade for at least 1 hour.
- Bake the chicken breasts in an oven set to 400 degrees Fahrenheit or 200 degrees Celsius and bake for 20-30 minutes till the meat is well cooked (I added Parmesan cheese on top of the chicken, to just give it an extra flavour.
- In the meantime mix the barbecue sauce with the olives and bell peppers and heat it over a medium flame for a few minutes.
- Once the chicken is cooked pour the sauce over the chicken and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
- I used a whole bag of pasta; I'm not sure how much exactly that is, but it made a lot of pasta. I think it was about 3 cups of pasta.
- 1 pound of butternut squash (chopped into large chunks)
- 4 medium sized onions (chopped into large chunks)
- 1/4 cup of chopped chives
- 5 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
- 4 tbsps of butter
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of goat cheese
- Parmesan cheese and walnuts to garnish
- Toss the chives, onions and butternut squash into a baking pan and pour in the olive oil.
- Spread them around till all the pieces are well coated in olive oil.
- Place in the oven and set at 400 degrees Fahrenheit or 200 degrees Celsius for at least 20 minutes till the butternut squash is soft and mushy.
- In the meantime cook the pasta.
- While the pasta is still hot, in a separate bowl squash the goat cheese with the back of a fork, and add the hot pasta into the bowl. Make sure the pasta is not completely dry as the starch water left behind when you cook pasta is important in order to make a nice sauce.
- Mix the pasta till it's well coated with the goat cheese sauce.
- Add the butternut squash and onions to the mixture.
- Heat the butter and add the garlic; Cook for a few seconds and pour over the pasta.
- Toss all the ingredients together and garnish with Parmesan cheese.
Preparation Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
- 4 cups of flour
- 1 and 1/2 cups of water
- 4-5 tbsps of dried cranberries/raisins/berries/or all of the above
- 2-3 tsps of ground cinnamon
- 2 tsps of active dry yeast
- 1 and 1/2 tsps of salt
- 1 tbsp of sugar
- Mix all the above ingredients together.
- Once all ingredients come together, place the dough on a clean work surface and knead for 7-8 minutes till the dough is smooth.
- Divide the dough into 8 equal parts.
- Let these parts rise for 20 minutes.
- Once the dough has risen, take each piece and roll it long. The length should be the distance between both your little fingers if your hands are placed side by side (This might sound confusing, but I hope the pictures help)
- Roll it out and then bring the two ends together and squeeze them so as to seal it and create a ring.
- Let them rise for about 20 minutes.
- In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to boil.
- Once the 20 minutes are up, slide the bagels into the boiling water; I did it 4 at a time, but it really depends on the size of the pot you use.
- Cook the bagel for a minute on each side.
- Put it on a cooling rack and let it dry for a minute.
- Place on a well greased baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes on each side.
- Serve with cream cheese.