Tag Archives: cooking

Key Lime Pie Ice Cream

key lime ice cream 2Key Lime Pie is the quintessential Floridian dessert.  I, however, prefer ice cream to pie- thus I’m sharing Key Lime Pie Ice Cream with you today! I’ve made this recipe several times this summer, and it’s been a big hit!
Here’s what you need:

1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup bottled Key lime juice
1/2 cup heavy cream
Dash of salt
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
12 graham crackers (3 full sheets), coarsely crushed, divided
lime zest and wedges (optional)

ice creamIn a bowl, combine milk, lime juice, heavy cream, salt and sweetened condensed milk. Whisk and combine. Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker (I use the Kitchenaid ice cream attachment) and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Stir graham crackers into ice cream. Spoon ice cream into a freezer-safe container ( I just use a loaf pan), cover, and freeze until firm. Sprinkle each serving with a few graham crackers, lime zest, and wedges when you’re ready to eat! It’s soooo easy!

The Best Bruschetta in Town

br 6br 1You may or may not know this about me, but I have a love/hate relationship with tomatoes. Until I was about 20, I had a hate/hate relationship with tomatoes. As a child my dislike for tomatoes was super distressing because I wanted to be just like Harriet the Spy and she only ate tomato sandwiches. After several attempts trying tomato sandwiches, tomato gravy (this is the south, yall), and even tomato pie, I came to bruschetta. Guess, what? I LOVED bruschetta. My tomato savior had arrived!!!
The thing about bruschetta is that you can eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, fancy hors d’ourves, etc. There’s a million variations, and they’re all delicious… but this is my favorite way to eat bruschetta.

What you need:
cherry or grape tomatoes (I used a mixture of red and yellow heirloom grape tomatoes)
fresh basil
olive oil
feta cheese
balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
I’m not putting measurements because this isn’t really a recipe and I’ve certainly never measured out ingredients for bruschetta. Just go with your gut on this one. 🙂br 2br 3br 4

Cut the tomatoes lengthwise. If they’re still a little too chunky, also cut them width wise. Slice the basil into thin strips and mince the garlic. Add the garlic to a few tablespoons of olive oil and heat in a skillet for 30-40 seconds until the garlic is golden. This step IS necessary!! Then, throw the olive oil and garlic into a bowl. Add the tomatoes and basil to the garlic + oil. Splash in a good amount of balsamic. I LOVE balsamic so I splash in a really good amount, but you can add as much as you like. You do you. Add some feta, salt, and pepper and let your mixture rest for a while. I’m not sure if the “resting” part actually does anything, but recipes are always calling for sauces and marinades to “rest” so I figure this works for bruschetta as well.br 5

On to the baguette! Slice the baguette. Throw some butter onto a skillet. I suggest using the same skillet you used for the garlic. No need to wash. Brown your baguette slices in the butter. Easy as pie.br 6

Sometimes I will brush olive oil on a baguette and place it in the oven for a few minutes to get toasty. This isn’t a bad alternative, but using the skillet is always my #1 choice.br 7br 8

Look at my sister being a bruschetta model!! To serve, spoon the tomato mixture over each slice of bread. Voila, you have the best ever bruschetta!


Chocolate Delight

IMG_0669One of my absolute favorite lunch spots is Chasteen’s Downtown. Chasteen’s is a family owned local restaurant located just a block from my office. I usually meet my sister, Brie, and our good friend, Kyle, there for lunch once or twice a week.
Chasteen’s has a variety of delicious food. Everyday they serve salads, sandwiches, homemade soups, daily specials, and my favorite – homemade desserts. They have a different dessert everyday. Sometimes they’ll offer strawberry cake or peach cobbler or blueberry crumb bars or banana pudding, but my absolute favorite dessert at Chasteen’s is Chocolate Delight. Now, I was born and raised in the south and I’ve tried my fair share of chocolate delights, but they have the best. Unfortunately, they’re only open a few hours during lunch on weekdays, so if I get a weekend craving, I’m out of luck.
I decided to try my hand at recreating my favorite Chocolate Delight. After browsing a few recipes online, getting distracted, and looking at rugs on pinterest, I decided to just wing it. “Winging it” is how most of the food preparations happen in the Hancock house.
A few things I really like about Chasteen’s Chocolate Delight:
1. Super fluffy cream cheese layer
2. Pecans in crust
3. Chocolate chips on top12

I knew I wanted these three elements in my at-home chocolate delight. Here’s what I used:
1 C Flour
1/2 C melted butter
1 C chopped pecans + more for topping
8 oz package of cream cheese
1 C powdered sugar
1 16 oz Coolwhip (from the freezer section)
1 splash on vanilla extract
2 boxes of instant chocolate pudding mix
3ish C of milk
1 C chocolate chips34 I started with the crust. I mixed chopped pecans, flour, and melted butter and pressed it into the bottom of a 9×13 dish. Then, I put my crust in the oven on 350 for about 25ish minutes. I got nervous when I took it out after 15 minutes, because it still looked like wet flour with nuts mixed in. I put it back in the over for an additional 10 minutes and it looked the same only slightly more golden. It ended up tasting great! Don’t alarmed! Next, I whipped the cream cheese, a splash of vanilla extract, and powdered sugar. Then I folded in about a cup of the coolwhip. I spread the cream cheese mixture over the cooled crust. Next, I moved on to the pudding layer. I mixed the pudding, milk and another cup of coolwhip and spread it over the cream cheese layer. For the top layer, I spread the rest of the coolwhip over the pudding. I sprinkled the chocolate chips and more chopped pecans on top! I refrigerated for a few hours and voila, chocolate delight!
Ray and I went to dinner at my parent’s house this past weekend and everyone enjoyed the chocolate delight. I wouldn’t say it was AS delicious as Chasteen’s chocolate delight, but it was pretty close!

Broccoli Cheddar Risotto

risottoA few months after Ray and I got married I tried to impress him with my (non)domestic skills by making a fancy dinner. The menu – Baked lemon salmon, asparagus, and classic risotto. Now let’s be real, I know that’s not exactly fancy BUT we were poor and I was banking on Ray’s expectations being low. Also, I had never made risotto before. It’s possible that was the first time Ray had ever consumed it. Despite those factors, I labored over that sweltering pot of risotto for what felt like hours, and in the end it was totally worth it!
A few weeks ago I decided to make broccoli cheddar risotto. I’m not sure if I wasn’t feeling good, or was just in the mood for comfort food, but I was craving both broccoli cheddar soup AND risotto. So, I compromised.
I feel like making risotto is more about a method rather than a recipe. And honestly, I think my method is a little different than most. Generally, people add 1/4 cup of dry white wine to the risotto before adding any stock. You think I keep dry white wine in my house on the reg? Of course not. We usually only have whiskey, rum, and red wine on hand, so I tend to skip the white wine in risotto. Also, it’s recommended to cook all vegetables separately, but I sure don’t do that either. I chop my broccoli really small and add it to the risotto towards the end of the cooking time. This method cooks the broccoli, but doesn’t allow it to get too soft or mushy.
Here’s what you need for Broccoli Cheddar Risotto:
1 1/2 cup of risotto rice
4-5 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
2 teaspoons of olive oil
1 small onion diced
2 cups chopped broccoli
1 handful of cheddar cheeserisotto 2risotto 3 First, in a pot bring your stock to a simmer. In a separate pot add olive oil and onions and heat on medium. After the onions are translucent, add the rice and let it toast for a few minutes. Add a ladle of stock to the rice and stir until all the liquid is absorbed into the rice. Repeat. After about 15 minutes add broccoli to the rice and stir. Continue adding broth. Once all the  stock has been absorbed, remove from heat and add cheese. Stir and serve! I also added a bit of grated parmesan cheese to the top.risotto 1This dish is sooo simple, but still ridiculously delicious. I’ve made this dish several times and I always mean to add fresh garlic, but every time I just forget. So, if you’re feeling wild add some fresh pressed garlic. Or roasted garlic! Or bacon! Or pepper jack cheese! I don’t think you’ll regret it.

Baked Rosemary Parmesan Potato Chips

IMG_0447IMG_0422Guys, I’m not trying to brag, but my dinner side dishes have been killing it!!! My best has definitely been baked Rosemary and parmesan potato chips. Instead of just giving you a recipe I’m going to take you through the journey of accidentally making the best chip ever. Originally, a friend of mine mentioned salt and vinegar zucchini chips on facebook. I thought “Ooooooooh, that sounds delicious, I’ll make them for dinner” but then immediately remembered that Ray hates zucchini. I also remembered that we didn’t even have zucchini, so that was out. I moved on to potatoes. Ray loves them, I love them, and we had some at the house! Score!
I figured that russet potatoes would probably work best, but of course we only had red potatoes. Whatever, they worked fine. We don’t own a mandolin cutter, but I managed to cut the potatoes into pretty thin slices despite using a dull steak knife.IMG_0425 First, I decided to boil them. I figured if they cooked a little bit before going in the oven, maybe they’d have a better chance at getting crispy. Now remember, at this point I was still planning on making salt and vinegar chips, so I added 10-12 splashes on red wine vinegar + salt to the water. I boiled those guys for about 10 minutes, or until they were fork tender.
While the potatoes were boiling I checked out my garden to see if we had any fresh herbs available. We had an abundance of rosemary and mint. I decided against mint potato chips and gathered a bunch of rosemary.IMG_0431IMG_0434IMG_0429IMG_0439 Next, I transferred the potato slices to a cookie sheet. I painted (I mean, I’m an artist) olive oil over the slices and added salt, pepper, and lots of the chopped fresh rosemary. Around this time I forgot my goal was to make salt and vinegar chips and my brain switched over to rosemary chips. I put the potatoes in a 350 degree oven. After about 15 minutes I remembered we had fancy parmesan cheese in our fridge. I took the potatoes out, shredded (crumbled?) the cheese and sprinkled it on top. Again, just getting farther and farther away from salt + vinegar. I put those bad boys back in the oven for 20ish more minutes until they were golden brown.
I’ve made these several times in the last few weeks and they just keep getting better and better!! (Don’t mind me, just tooting my own horn.) You must try them!
IMG_0440IMG_0442IMG_0449IMG_0450Husband approved!!!
Also, I still want to try to make salt + vinegar potatoes! I came across this recipe on pinterest recently and can’t wait to try it!