Recipe for Perfection http://recipeforperfection.com Easy Recipes That Work Thu, 23 Mar 2017 01:17:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 What’s in Season During Winter in Florida? http://recipeforperfection.com/florida-winter-seasonal-produce/ http://recipeforperfection.com/florida-winter-seasonal-produce/#comments Wed, 08 Mar 2017 14:00:05 +0000 http://recipeforperfection.com/?p=9648 Read What’s in Season During Winter in Florida? on Recipe for Perfection.

Florida's winter produce is full of fresh, delicious choices! From tomatoes, blueberries, and peppers, to seafood and more, the Sunshine State has it all.

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Read What’s in Season During Winter in Florida? on Recipe for Perfection.

Florida’s winter produce is full of fresh, delicious choices!  From tomatoes, blueberries, and peppers, to seafood and more, the Sunshine State has it all.

This post was sponsored by Fresh From Florida as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central, however all opinions expressed are my own. 
Blueberry Crumble Recipe

What’s in Season During Winter in Florida?

Do you picture winter as a time for squashes and root vegetables?  It’s time to expand your horizons, because there are over two dozen types of produce that are in season in Florida during the winter.  Here are some examples:

  • Bell peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carambola
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Grapefruit
  • Guava
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Oranges
  • Papayas
  • Peanuts
  • Potatoes
  • Radishes
  • Snap beans
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet corn
  • Tangerines
  • Tomatoes

It’s a real treat to visit the produce section when there’s so much to choose from.

For example, you might imagine that sweet corn is a summertime food.  You’ll be surprised to learn that it’s available throughout the winter when it’s Fresh From Florida!  Get my favorite corn on the cob recipe to take full advantage of this winter bounty.

Craving fruit?  Reach for this season’s sweet Fresh From Florida blueberries.

Or grab some ripe, juicy tomatoes for topping salads, sandwiches, and more.

Buffalo Chicken Sandwich on Flatbread with Tomatoes

Pick up fresh peppers to give your winter chili a piquant kick.

Hearty Beef Bean Roasted Red Pepper Chili Recipe

If you live in Florida, you can even take the family to a U-Pick farm!

Florida U Pick Farms Map

Click to go to the interactive map.

Whether you pick up your Fresh From Florida produce at a farm or in a grocery store, you can download a free cookbook for plenty of recipe ideas.  Get The Florida Chef’s Flavorful Seasons Cookbook in English or Spanish.

Or, if you prefer, you can browse and search recipes on the Fresh from Florida recipes page.  I like to browse through the recipe collection when I need inspiration.  I love this Florida Blueberry Key Lime Pie!

Look for the Fresh From Florida label wherever you shop to find delicious seasonal produce even in winter, and follow Fresh From Florida on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for the “freshest” updates.

Florida's winter produce is full of fresh, delicious choices! From tomatoes, blueberries, and peppers, to seafood and more, the Sunshine State has it all.

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Russian Borscht http://recipeforperfection.com/russian-borscht/ http://recipeforperfection.com/russian-borscht/#comments Fri, 03 Mar 2017 11:00:07 +0000 http://recipeforperfection.com/?p=9622 Read Russian Borscht on Recipe for Perfection.

Real Russian borscht from an author who lived in Russia to study Russian culture and language! Easy to follow instructions and simple ingredients.

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Real Russian borscht from an author who lived in Russia to study Russian culture and language!  Easy to follow instructions and simple ingredients.  This post contains links for affiliate shopping.

Real Russian borscht from an author who lived in Russia to study Russian culture and language! Easy to follow instructions and simple ingredients. This post contains links for affiliate shopping.

Russian Borscht

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses.  But Vasilisa doesn’t mind- she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales.

(This and the following quotes are from the book jacket of The Bear and the Nightingale)

It’s not often that a fiction book sets my imagination on fire.  The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden accomplished that by the end of the first chapter.

The Bear and the Nightingale cover

What does that have to do with Russian borscht, you might ask?  Well, that’s the story, isn’t it.  Any story, at its heart, is how the characters get from point A to point B.  Today’s story is how I got from reading The Bear and the Nightingale to preparing a giant pot of borscht.

Real Russian borscht from an author who lived in Russia to study Russian culture and language! Easy to follow instructions and simple ingredients.

I originally picked up The Bear and the Nightingale in one of my tangential library catalog searches.  You know, the type of search where you look at one book, then click a hyperlink to another, then another, and so on until you forget exactly how you got to where you arrived.  Somehow, I arrived at The Bear and the Nightingale, reserved it, and picked it up from the library a day or two later.

Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls.  Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their souls from evil.

I was hooked.

Real Russian borscht from an author who lived in Russia to study Russian culture and language! Easy to follow instructions and simple ingredients.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife.  Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits.  The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

Less a domino effect than an inexorable fall of snow, the consequences of neglecting the old ways mount.

…crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village… As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed- this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

Oh, I know you want to know what happens next.

Real Russian borscht from an author who lived in Russia to study Russian culture and language! Easy to follow instructions and simple ingredients.

After I finished reading The Bear and the Nightingale, I decided to get in touch with the author, Katherine Arden.  I was intrigued by all the sumptuous descriptions of food throughout the book: bread stuffed with honey, hot soup, feasts of roasted pork, and so on.

Katherine Arden

It turns out that not only is she a crackerjack author, but she’s also a vegan and quite the cook.  It wasn’t always that way.  As a Russian major at Middlebury College in Vermont, she decided that she had to either become a cook or be condemned to takeout forever.

She chose wisely.

With her giant cookbook library and an arsenal of vegan recipes that are healthy, delicious, and fulfilling, Katherine used her knowledge of cooking along with her research into Russian foodways to set the table, so to speak, in The Bear and the Nightingale.

Having lived in Russia for two years gave her a head start in assembling the details of daily life in Russia.  She also used the Domostroi, a householder’s manual written in the time of Ivan the Terrible, to add authentic touches to the historical setting.  As a writer, Katherine says, “I love to think about food and it has an importance in creating texture in everyday life.  It draws you in.”

Real Russian borscht from an author who lived in Russia to study Russian culture and language! Easy to follow instructions and simple ingredients.

On a typical day, Katherine might start the morning with fruit, such as bananas or papayas, then work straight through the day, stopping for dinner only when the day’s writing is complete.  That’s because she does her best work when she’s hungry.  She has plenty more writing to do, because there are two sequels to The Bear and the Nightingale on the way.  Book two is already complete, and book three is currently in progress.

I asked Katherine to share with me one of her Russian recipes, and she kindly obliged with this Russian borscht recipe.  It was inspired by a friend’s Russian grandmother, and is a meatless preparation perfect for Lent (or “Post” in Russia), during which Russians abstain from meat- thus the name “postny borscht” in Russian.

As prepared, it’s completely vegan, but you can also add sour cream as a traditional topping.  Katherine also recommends a nice, big hunk of dark rye on the side, and I heartily concur.  But truly, there’s no better pairing than a bowl of this borscht alongside a copy of The Bear and the Nightingale.

Russian Borscht

Real Russian borscht from an author who lived in Russia to study Russian culture and language! Easy to follow instructions and simple ingredients.

  • 2 medium beets (peeled and grated)
  • 1 lemon (cut into thick slices)
  • 4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (peeled and cut in eighths)
  • 1/2 cabbage (chopped)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (or butter)
  • 1 large onion (peeled and diced (or two medium onions))
  • 2 carrots (shredded)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 3 tomatoes (peeled and chopped)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • vinegar (optional)
  • sour cream (optional)
  • fresh dill (optional)
  1. Put the grated beets in a pot with enough water to barely cover, and add the thick lemon slices.  Bring to a boil and simmer until the beet is soft, about 20 minutes.

  2. Put the potatoes and cabbage together in a large stockpot with water.  Boil until nearly tender, about 30 minutes.

  3. In a frying pan with olive oil (or butter), fry the onions, garlic, and carrots until the onion is translucent. Add the tomatoes and the tomato paste, mix all together and cook on medium heat for a couple of minutes with bay leaves, salt and pepper.

  4. When the potatoes and cabbage are nearly done, add the mix in the frying pan to the water.  Remove the lemon from the beet mixture and bring all to a boil.  Let it simmer at least 30-45 mins, and then once it comes off the heat, it’s better if it sits half an hour or so.

  5. Check the flavors. Add more salt or pepper to taste.  If too sweet, add in a dash of vinegar.  Remove the bay leaves and serve.  Top with sour cream and chopped fresh dill if desired.

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Vanilla Bean Ice Cream http://recipeforperfection.com/vanilla-bean-ice-cream/ http://recipeforperfection.com/vanilla-bean-ice-cream/#comments Tue, 21 Feb 2017 06:00:13 +0000 http://recipeforperfection.com/?p=9410 Read Vanilla Bean Ice Cream on Recipe for Perfection.

Creamy, dreamy vanilla bean ice cream, made the right way with a simple custard base and real vanilla. This ice cream will become your new favorite flavor!

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Creamy, dreamy vanilla bean ice cream, made the right way with a simple custard base and real vanilla.  Say hello to your new favorite flavor!  This recipe is sponsored by Panna.

Creamy, dreamy vanilla bean ice cream, made the right way with a simple custard base and real vanilla. This ice cream will become your new favorite flavor!

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

A big part of what I do here at Recipe for Perfection is to create recipes that actually work, saving you hours of searching through random recipes on the internet in hopes of finding a good one.  I take recipes very seriously.  Why?  Because a failed recipe is a waste of valuable time (not to mention valuable ingredients).

That’s why I’m really enjoying Panna, a new cooking site featuring videos and recipes for the home cook who wants to cook like a chef.  I’m finding a lot of inspiration in Panna’s library of recipes and how-to videos.

Today, I get to share with you one of Panna’s featured dessert recipes, a dreamy vanilla bean ice cream created by acclaimed chef and cookbook author Jerry Traunfeld.

Creamy, dreamy vanilla bean ice cream, made the right way with a simple custard base and real vanilla. This ice cream will become your new favorite flavor!

One thing that I like about this vanilla bean ice cream recipe is that it uses a real, honest-to-goodness vanilla bean.  Don’t get me wrong; I love vanilla extract, but for ice cream, a genuine vanilla bean elevates the flavor.

The video also walks you through the creation of a simple custard base.  Many people are intimidated by custard, but with this video, you will find it simple to accomplish and a valuable addition to your cooking skill repertoire.  You can watch a preview of the video right here, then head over to Panna for a 30 day free trial which will give you access to the entire library of step-by-step videos like this one!

Panna’s accessible recipes and smart techniques make it a must-have for home cooks looking to up their kitchen game.  Learn from the best, from the comfort of home!

Tips for Making Perfect Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

  • Remember to pick up a real vanilla bean.  If you can’t find a vanilla bean in your grocery store, look for vanilla bean paste.  Vanilla bean paste will also give you those pretty little black specks in your vanilla bean ice cream.
  • For perfectly cooked custard, you’ll need an instant read thermometer to tell you when the temperature of the custard reaches 170 to 180 F.
  • Remember to chill your ice cream base in the fridge before processing it in your ice cream maker.
  • After the ice cream is made, let it “temper” in the freezer for one to two hours so that it’s firm enough to scoop.

I hope you enjoy this vanilla bean ice cream as much as I did.  I can’t wait to break it out on a hot day and take a nice, big bowl out to the back porch.  Happy ice cream dreams!  Check out Panna and get your free 30 day trial!

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Creamy, dreamy vanilla bean ice cream, made the right way with a simple custard base and real vanilla. Say hello to your new favorite flavor!

  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 Vanilla bean (split and scraped)
  • Blueberries (for serving)
  • Raspberries (for serving)
  1. Prepare the custard base: Pour the milk, cream, and sugar (1 C + 2 tbsp) into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. While it’s heating, add the egg yolks to a bowl and place it over a larger bowl filled with hot water. Whisk the yolks as the hot water heats them. They should feel warm to the touch. Set aside.

  2. Infuse the custard: As the milk mixture continues to heat add a pinch of salt. Split the vanilla bean by cutting it lengthwise to open it up. Then, run a knife lengthwise and scrape the vanilla beans onto the knife. Scrape the beans back onto the vanilla pod and add the pod with beans to the milk mixture. The instant the cream comes to a rolling boil and rises in the pot, lift it off the heat. With the whisk in one hand and the saucepan in the other, pour the boiling cream into the egg yolks as you whisk constantly but gently. Don’t whisk rapidly or you will cool the custard before the yolks have a chance to set. At this point the custard should be fully cooked. An instant-read thermometer set in the custard should register 170 F to 180 F and it will coat a teaspoon (if for some reason it did not get hot enough, you can pour it back in the pot and very slowly heat it up, stirring with a rubber spatula). Cool the ice cream mixture by placing the bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice or chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.

  3. Make the ice cream: When the ice cream mixture has chilled, strain it through a chinois using a ladle to get all of the custard through. Pour into a well frozen ice cream maker (use according to the manufacturer’s directions) and churn until it’s ice cream, about 20 minutes. Place the ice cream into a container and freeze for 1-2 hours. (This is called tempering so the ice cream is scoopable.) Then, scoop and serve. Garnish with blueberries and raspberries.

Nutrition Facts
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Amount Per Serving (188 g)
Calories 361 Calories from Fat 184
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20.4g 31%
Saturated Fat 11g 55%
Cholesterol 331mg 110%
Sodium 160mg 7%
Potassium 193mg 6%
Total Carbohydrates 39.6g 13%
Sugars 38.8g
Protein 7.5g 15%
Vitamin A 17%
Calcium 16%
Iron 4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Creamy, dreamy vanilla bean ice cream, made the right way with a simple custard base and real vanilla. Say hello to your new favorite flavor!

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Spicy Shrimp Tacos on Toasted Corn Tortillas http://recipeforperfection.com/spicy-shrimp-tacos-corn-tortillas/ http://recipeforperfection.com/spicy-shrimp-tacos-corn-tortillas/#comments Fri, 17 Feb 2017 13:40:36 +0000 http://recipeforperfection.com/?p=9306 Read Spicy Shrimp Tacos on Toasted Corn Tortillas on Recipe for Perfection.

Spicy shrimp tacos are even better on toasted corn tortillas! Add your own toppings and finish it off with a fiery sour cream.

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Spicy shrimp tacos are even better on toasted corn tortillas!  Add your own toppings and finish it off with a fiery sour cream.

Spicy shrimp tacos are even better on toasted corn tortillas! Add your own toppings and finish it off with a fiery sour cream.

Spicy Shrimp Tacos on Toasted Corn Tortillas

I think that I could eat tacos every day.  I really do!  Something about the combination of flavors and textures just hits every happy button in my brain.

Shrimp tacos are ridiculously easy to make. I mean, all you have to do is throw the shrimp in the pan for a few minutes, and BOOM!  You’re practically done.

While you’re here, make sure you check out the Frontera Wines Game Day Sweepstakes!  Enter to win a 55-inch HD TV for a fantastic view of all your favorite sports games.  A giant TV makes shrimp tacos taste even better, I think.

Spicy shrimp tacos are even better on toasted corn tortillas! Add your own toppings and finish it off with a fiery sour cream.

Since this recipe is so quick to make, it makes these shrimp tacos particularly convenient for parties.  If you have a big game party coming up, you’ll want to save this recipe.  You won’t want to miss the action, and a recipe that’s ready in a flash will get you out of the kitchen and back in front of the TV, pronto!

Another thing that’s nice about using shrimp is that (because it’s seafood) it pairs well with a good white wine.  Frontera Wines Sauvignon Blanc makes an excellent pairing.

Spicy shrimp tacos are even better on toasted corn tortillas! Add your own toppings and finish it off with a fiery sour cream.

You can make every moment tasty with Frontera Wines, because you can choose from Sauvignon Blanc (pictured), Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot.

Frontera Sauvignon Blanc

This wine has notes of fruit and a citrus aroma, with a fresh coolness that complements seafood.

Frontera Sauvignon back label

To make your preparation process streamlined, I recommend that you get your toppings ready to go first.  Pop them in the fridge to await the rapid arrival of the cooked shrimp.

Spicy shrimp tacos are even better on toasted corn tortillas! Add your own toppings and finish it off with a fiery sour cream.

You’ll preheat the pan and toast the tortillas in the oven while the shrimp are cooking.  Then, it all comes together quite quickly.  You can top the tortillas yourself, or lay out the toppings and shrimp for people to make their own to their liking.  In fact, if you set up a table in the viewing area, no one has to miss a moment of the game.

Spicy shrimp tacos are even better on toasted corn tortillas! Add your own toppings and finish it off with a fiery sour cream.

Don’t forget the wine glasses and the Frontera Wines!  Casual occasions like game-watching parties are suitable for the laid back look of stemless wine glasses, so feel free to use the vessel of your choice.

Frontera Sauvignon Blanc with glass

Spicy shrimp tacos are even better on toasted corn tortillas! Add your own toppings and finish it off with a fiery sour cream.

Tips for Making Spicy Shrimp Tacos

  • Seafood quality is important.  Go for wild-caught if you can, or look for sustainably farmed shrimp if wild-caught is unavailable or too pricey.
  • I love corn tortillas for their unique texture and flavor, but you can substitute flour tortillas if you like.  Flour tortillas can be toasted or they can simply be warmed; it’s up to you.
  • Give your Frontera Wines Sauvignon Blance time to chill before serving.  A refreshingly chilled wine is a pleasant contrast to something warm and spicy like these shrimp tacos.

Spicy Shrimp Tacos with Toasted Corn Tortillas

Spicy shrimp tacos are even better on toasted corn tortillas! Add your own toppings and finish it off with a fiery sour cream.

  • 1 pound shrimp (peeled and deveined, tails removed)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 corn tortillas (the soft kind, not the crunchy)

Spicy Sour Cream

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce

Topping Suggestions

  • fresh cilantro
  • corn
  • salsa verde
  • cotija cheese (also known as Mexican crumbling cheese)
  1. Make the spicy sour cream and get your choice of toppings ready to go.

  2. Preheat a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat until a drop of water sizzles away when dropped in the pan.

  3. Place the corn tortillas directly on the rack in a cold oven.  Turn it on and set it to 400 F.

  4. Put the raw shrimp in a bowl with the olive oil.  Sprinkle on the chili powder.  Toss to coat the shrimp evenly.

  5. Put the shrimp in a single layer in the hot pan.  Cook until firm and no longer translucent, about 2 or 3 minutes.

  6. Remove the corn tortillas from the oven.  They should be hot and slightly stiffened, but not crunchy.  Distribute the shrimp on the tortillas and top with your preferred toppings.  Serve immediately.

Frontera Wine Sauvignon Blanc front label

Don’t miss out on the Frontera Wines Game Day Sweepstakes!  You could win a 55-inch HD TV for an amazing view of all your favorite sports games, which you watch while you sip your wine and nibble on spicy shrimp tacos.  Pure heaven!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Baked Sweet Potatoes • Barber Foods http://recipeforperfection.com/baked-sweet-potatoes/ http://recipeforperfection.com/baked-sweet-potatoes/#comments Wed, 15 Feb 2017 11:00:32 +0000 http://recipeforperfection.com/?p=9292 Read Baked Sweet Potatoes • Barber Foods on Recipe for Perfection.

The only recipe you'll ever need for baked sweet potatoes. Crispy on the outside, savory on the inside. Top with butter and sea salt for pure perfection.

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The only recipe you’ll ever need for baked sweet potatoes.  Crispy on the outside, savory on the inside.  Top with butter and sea salt for pure perfection.  This recipe was sponsored by Barber Foods.  All opinions are my own.  #BarberNight

The only recipe you'll ever need for baked sweet potatoes. Crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside. Top with butter and sea salt for pure perfection.

The Secret to Baked Sweet Potatoes

I don’t know about you, but for me, there’s nothing nicer than a knife-and-fork meal that’s easy to prepare and brings everyone together at the dinner table.  I often rely on Barber Foods stuffed chicken breasts to make dinner special, pairing them with simple side dishes like these perfectly baked sweet potatoes.

The only recipe you'll ever need for baked sweet potatoes. Crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside. Top with butter and sea salt for pure perfection.

The side dishes I have when I dine out often inspire me to try new side dishes at home.  When my dad and stepmom came to visit this winter, we ate a local restaurant that served baked sweet potatoes as a side dish.  I don’t usually order a baked sweet potato as a side dish, but on a whim, I ordered one.

It was ethereal.  Perfectly dry, slightly crisp skin, and pure fluffiness within.  A little butter, a little salt, and a dab of sour cream completed the masterwork.

Later that week, I contacted the restaurant to ask for the recipe.  As it turned out, they added nothing to the sweet potatoes before cooking them in a large commercial convection oven at 350 F for 40 minutes.

I was stymied.  Not even a home convection oven can match the effect of cooking in a commercial convection oven.  And my otherwise fabulous conventional oven wouldn’t be able to hold a candle to a commercial convection oven!

So, I resolved to find a workaround.  To discover exactly how to make good baked sweet potatoes at home, replicating (as closely as possible) the quality of the one I had enjoyed so much.

The only recipe you'll ever need for baked sweet potatoes. Crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside. Top with butter and sea salt for pure perfection.

I spent more time than might be considered seemly researching baked sweet potatoes.  Some were blasted at high heat, up to 450 F. while others were cooked at a comparatively low 350 F.  Some cooks wrapped their sweet potatoes in foil, while others eschewed foil as a problematic coating leading to gumminess.

Many cooks were vehement about poking lots of holes in the potatoes first.

The only thing to do was test, test, test!  I bought a bushel of sweet potatoes and got to work.  While I was at the store, I also picked up some Barber Foods Broccoli & Cheese and Cordon Bleu Stuffed Chicken Breasts.

Barber Foods Broccoli and Cheese stuffed chicken breast

You can find them on the frozen food aisle with the frozen meats.

Barber Foods Chicken

To make Barber Foods stuffed chicken breasts, simply preheat the oven to 375 F, remove the stuffed chicken breasts from the pouch, bake for 35 to 40 minutes, and cool slightly before serving.  Pair with one of these baked sweet potatoes, and voila!  You’ve made it a #BarberNight.

Use the handy product locator to find Barber Foods products near you and get a coupon to save on your purchase.

The only recipe you'll ever need for baked sweet potatoes. Crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside. Top with butter and sea salt for pure perfection.

I tried both the Barber Foods Chicken Cordon Bleu and the Barber Foods Broccoli & Cheese stuffed chicken breasts.

Barber Foods Cordon Bleu Stuffed Chicken Breast

The savory meat and filling paired quite well with a baked sweet potato.  Since I had baked so many sweet potatoes ahead of time, all I had to do was pop a few in the oven to reheat as the stuffed chicken finished cooking.  I will also give you the secret for baking sweet potatoes at any temperature between 350 F and 450 F so that you can cook them alongside your main dish, so read on below!

The only recipe you'll ever need for baked sweet potatoes. Crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside. Top with butter and sea salt for pure perfection.

So What’s the Secret to Great Baked Sweet Potatoes?

  1. It is key to select sweet potatoes that are roughly the same size and shape so that they cook at the same rate.  Otherwise, some will get done before the others.
  2. You can poke holes in them… but in my tests, it honestly didn’t seem to make a difference.
  3. Don’t wrap them in foil; it traps steam and leads to gumminess.  Also, when they’re done, you must cut them open immediately after removing them from the oven—even if you’re not going to eat them right away.  Be careful!  They will be very hot.  Cutting them open really does let the steam escape.
  4. There’s no need to bake them on a bed of salt or do anything fancy (yes, I tried it).  Toss them on the oven rack, or on a pan if you’re worried about a mess.
  5. Temperature is flexible.  That’s right!  I successfully baked sweet potatoes at temperatures between 350 and 450 F.  And they came out exactly the same.  That means you can bake your sweet potatoes at the same time as your main dish, as long as you start them at the right time to finish together.
  6. The key secret is that baked sweet potatoes are done when an instant read thermometer inserted in the thickest part reads 205 to 210 F.  That’s all!  You can bake them at any temperature from 350 to 450 F and get the same result as long as you reach 205 F.

After that, just throw some salt and butter on there, and if you’re feeling decadent, a little sour cream.  Then line it up next to your Barber Foods stuffed chicken breast and enjoy!

The Secret to Baked Sweet Potatoes

The only recipe you’ll ever need for baked sweet potatoes. Crispy on the outside, savory on the inside. Top with butter and sea salt!

  • 4 sweet potatoes
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F (see note about temperature variations).

  2. Place the sweet potatoes directly on the oven rack, or, if you prefer, on a baking sheet.  Bake for about 1 hour, or until an instant read thermometer reads between 205 and 210 F.  You can also tell if they are done by piercing the flesh with a fork.  If it slides in very easily, they’re done.

If you are cooking a main dish in the oven at the same time, you can bake the sweet potatoes at any temperature between 350 and 450 F.  At 350 F, they will take approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.  At 450 F, they will take approximately 45 minutes.  Actual time may vary depending on how much food is being cooked in the oven. Use the doneness tests in the instructions to be sure the sweet potatoes are done.

Nutrition Facts
The Secret to Baked Sweet Potatoes
Amount Per Serving (200 g)
Calories 180
% Daily Value*
Sodium 72mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 41g 14%
Dietary Fiber 7g 28%
Sugars 13g
Protein 4g 8%
Vitamin A 769%
Vitamin C 65%
Calcium 8%
Iron 8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Make it a #BarberNight!  

Find Barber Foods products and get a printable coupon.

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French Fry Seasoning http://recipeforperfection.com/french-fry-seasoning/ http://recipeforperfection.com/french-fry-seasoning/#comments Tue, 14 Feb 2017 11:00:01 +0000 http://recipeforperfection.com/?p=9299 Read French Fry Seasoning on Recipe for Perfection.

Add this french fry seasoning to any french fry recipe for perfectly flavored french fries. Easy to make with just a few simple ingredients.

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Add this french fry seasoning to any french fry recipe for perfectly flavored french fries.  Easy to make with just a few simple ingredients.

This post was sponsored by Noble Juice.  All opinions are my own.

Add this french fry seasoning to any french fry recipe for perfectly flavored french fries. Easy to make with just a few simple ingredients.

French Fry Seasoning

For some reason, I think of french fries as a summer food.  Maybe it’s a deep association with cookouts and hamburgers?  Regardless, the moment we get a true cold snap here in Florida, I react by craving summertime foods.

It’s actually managed to get below 50 F this week, so I’m in full-on winter denial mode.  Lemonade and french fries are at the top of my mind.  Why lemonade?  Because if I’m thinking seriously about french fries, then I’m thinking about lemonade as well.

Think about it.  It’s the perfect pairing!  Cold versus hot, sweet versus salty, and the piquant acidity of citrus to cleanse the palate after each bite.  If I sound like a mad summer sommelier, that’s because I take my food and beverage pairings seriously.  I like to pair my french fries with Noble Juice Organic Mint Lemonade with Aloe.

Noble Juice Mint Lemonade

Crisp and clean, with just enough of a hint of mint to keep things interesting, this lemonade is summer in a bottle.  (Find it in a store with this product locator.)

Once you’re fully stocked with lemonade, you’re going to want the perfect french fry seasoning.  I’ve tested dozens of different combinations of seasonings to find the best combination to complement french fries.

When I started testing recipes, I had a few guidelines in mind based on my experiences eating french fries.

Add this french fry seasoning to any french fry recipe for perfectly flavored french fries. Easy to make with just a few simple ingredients.

First, the seasoning blend couldn’t be too salty.  It had to be just salty enough for flavor without forcing you to feel like you’d licked a hunk of salt.

Second, the french fry seasoning couldn’t contain anything that would distract from the potato goodness.  I love fancy-flavored fries as much as the next person, but rosemary chipotle fries are not what we’re going for.  This french fry seasoning needed a light touch and a classic approach so as not to overwhelm.

These considerations led me to keep the list of french fry seasoning blend ingredients on the short side, making it easy to put together quickly and inexpensively.

Noble Juice Lemonade

Tips for Making French Fry Seasoning

  • Want to know a secret?  This french fry seasoning blend works magic on vegetables!  If you think you don’t like veggies, then you haven’t tried them with french fry seasoning!  It’s also great on baked potatoes and baked sweet potatoes.
  • This french fry seasoning will last as long in the cupboard as its ingredients.  So, check your spice jars for the expiration dates before putting your ingredients together; then, you’ll have an idea of how long your french fry seasoning will last.  I like to write the date on the jar so I won’t forget.
  • Pay attention to the size of your grains of salt.  Large pieces of salt (often found in sea salt and other specialty salts) are simply too heavy to stick to french fries and will fall off.  That’s why I recommend fine salt, even though I usually use sea salt in my other recipes.

Add this french fry seasoning to any french fry recipe for perfectly flavored french fries. Easy to make with just a few simple ingredients.

French Fry Seasoning

Add this french fry seasoning to any french fry recipe for perfectly flavored french fries. Easy to make with just a few simple ingredients.

  • 4 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper (freshly ground if possible)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder ((NOT garlic salt))
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika (smoked)
  1. Thoroughly stir together all ingredients.  Sprinkle over baked or fried french fries to taste.  Store remainder in shaker bottle.

Make sure you pick up plenty of Noble Juice Organic Mint Lemonade with Aloe to complete your taste of perfection.

Noble Juice Lemonade

This high quality USDA Organic product has no artificial ingredients, colors, or preservatives, plus it’s non-GMO and gluten free.  Find it at your favorite store in the refrigerated juice case in its sustainable bottle.

 

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Win a $100 Gift Card from Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse! http://recipeforperfection.com/win-100-gift-card-flemings-prime-steakhouse/ http://recipeforperfection.com/win-100-gift-card-flemings-prime-steakhouse/#respond Sat, 11 Feb 2017 16:26:10 +0000 http://recipeforperfection.com/?p=9325 Read Win a $100 Gift Card from Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse! on Recipe for Perfection.

Win a $100 gift card from Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar! Enjoy fine steaks and wines alongside delicious salads, sides, and desserts.

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Win a $100 gift card from Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar!  Enjoy fine steaks and wines alongside delicious salads, sides, and desserts.  Enter below!

Fleming's Prime Steakhouse - Valentine's Day 8oz Filet and Australian Lobster Tail
$100 Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar Dining Card

Got your restaurant picked out for Valentine’s Day?  You can celebrate Valentine’s Day at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar from Feb. 10-19 with a three-course prix fixe menu, starting at $79.95

The menu includes:

  • Amuse-Bouche: Shrimp and Sea Scallop
  • Salad: choice of Fleming’s Salad or Modern Caesar
  • Entrée Duo: 8-ounce Filet Mignon with choice of New Zealand Ora King Salmon or Australian Lobster Tail

Menu enhancements include:

  • Dessert: Raspberry White Chocolate Bread Pudding
  • Wines from JCB by Jean-Charles Boisset

For reservations, visit www.FlemingsSteakhouse.com, and follow Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar on Facebook and Instagram at @FlemingsSteakhouse.

Happy Valentine’s Day, and good luck!

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Crispy Crunchy Salmon Patties (Salmon Cakes) http://recipeforperfection.com/salmon-patties-salmon-cakes/ http://recipeforperfection.com/salmon-patties-salmon-cakes/#comments Fri, 03 Feb 2017 11:00:35 +0000 http://recipeforperfection.com/?p=9264 Read Crispy Crunchy Salmon Patties (Salmon Cakes) on Recipe for Perfection.

Crispy crunchy salmon patties, or salmon cakes, are made with just three ingredients plus a little oil for the pan. Kids love them!

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Crispy crunchy salmon patties, or salmon cakes, are made with just three ingredients plus a little oil for the pan.  Everyone loves them!

Crispy crunchy salmon patties, or salmon cakes, are made with just four ingredients plus a little oil for the pan. Everyone loves them!

Crispy Crunchy Salmon Patties (Salmon Cakes)

My recipe for tuna cakes is famous.  No, really!  So I thought I’d give it a whirl with salmon instead.  Why?  Well, we all know we’re supposed to eat more fish, of course; but my difficulty is that I’m not a huge fan of fish.  I have to come up with creative ways to sneak the swimmy little beasts into my diet.

That’s why I’m so fond of tuna cakes, salmon patties, and the like.  Or tuna patties and salmon cakes, if you will.  It’s all the same type of thing.

The nice thing about these salmon patties is that they are a hit with everyone.  I eat them.  Kids eat them.  Your mother-in-law will eat them.

Since they only have four ingredients, you just whip them up in a bowl in minutes and toss them in the saute pan with a little oil.

Crispy crunchy salmon patties, or salmon cakes, are made with just four ingredients plus a little oil for the pan. Everyone loves them!

I’m a fan of dipping them in ketchup, as my children have carefully indoctrinated me to do.  (Have I mentioned that I’ve also started cutting the crusts off my own sandwiches?)  You are certainly welcome to gussy it up any way you like.  Perhaps bearnaise sauce or a horseradish cream?

If you’re not convinced yet, here are some reasons to make these salmon cakes.

Crispy crunchy salmon patties, or salmon cakes, are made with just four ingredients plus a little oil for the pan. Everyone loves them!

Why You Should Eat More Salmon

  • It contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential fatty acids that the body cannot produce by itself.
  • Eating salmon reduces the risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases.
  • Research has shown that the nutrients in salmon help maintain brain function, joints, and eyesight.

Don’t take my word for it.  Read my sources at BBC Good Food and Men’s Health.  Plus, it may give you the supernatural ability to leap into the air using only your fins.

Watch out for bears!

Tips for Making Perfect Salmon Patties

  • Preheat the skillet with the oil in it.  Don’t pour cold oil into a hot skillet.
  • If you don’t have Italian breadcrumbs, you can use plain breadcrumbs—but you’ll need to add some salt and seasonings for flavor.
  • Wild caught salmon tastes better than farmed.  Buy it in cans for easy storage and preparation.  Make sure the label says boneless skinless salmon!  If it doesn’t, there will be skin and lots of bones in it.
  • You can also used leftover cooked salmon to make these patties.  Flake the salmon into pieces and follow the recipe from there.

Crispy crunchy salmon patties, or salmon cakes, are made with just four ingredients plus a little oil for the pan. Everyone loves them!

And don’t miss my crispy tuna cakes, too!  You might also enjoy these tuna burgers.

Crispy Crunchy Salmon Patties (Salmon Cakes)

Crispy crunchy salmon patties, or salmon cakes, are made with just three ingredients plus a little oil for the pan. Everyone loves them!

  • 10 ounces canned pink salmon (boneless and skinless, drained)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs (divided)
  • olive oil (or your preferred oil for frying)
  1. Add enough oil to cover the bottom of a large nonstick skillet to a depth of 1/4 inch.  Preheat the pan with the oil on medium heat while you prepare the salmon.

  2. Combine the salmon, the eggs, and 1/2 cup of Italian breadcrumbs.  Stir thoroughly until the mixture is well combined.  Pour the 1/2 cup of remaining breadcrumbs on a plate.

  3. Form the mixture into round patties about the size of the center of your palm.  Place the formed patty on the breadcrumbs on the plate; pat gently to make the breadcrumbs stick, then flip and pat the other side into the breadcrumbs.

  4. Slip each patty gently into the pan.  Fry on one side for 2 to 3 minutes, until the cooked side is golden brown.  Flip the patty and fry the other side the same way.

  5. When both sides are golden brown, remove to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil. Serve warm.

Nutrition Facts
Crispy Crunchy Salmon Patties (Salmon Cakes)
Amount Per Serving (66 g)
Calories 191 Calories from Fat 119
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13.2g 20%
Saturated Fat 2.2g 11%
Cholesterol 65mg 22%
Sodium 131mg 5%
Potassium 154mg 4%
Total Carbohydrates 9.8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0.6g 2%
Sugars 0.9g
Protein 9.1g 18%
Vitamin A 2%
Calcium 4%
Iron 6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Personalized Labels Look Great on Food and Drink http://recipeforperfection.com/personalized-labels-food-drink-canning/ http://recipeforperfection.com/personalized-labels-food-drink-canning/#comments Thu, 02 Feb 2017 11:00:36 +0000 http://recipeforperfection.com/?p=9272 Read Personalized Labels Look Great on Food and Drink on Recipe for Perfection.

Do you can, jar, bottle, or otherwise package food and drink? Then you need to see how beautiful personalized labels can be on your packaging!

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Do you can, jar, bottle, or otherwise package food and drink?  Then you need to see how beautiful personalized labels can be on your packaging!  This post was sponsored by StickerYou.  All opinions are my own.

Do you can, jar, bottle, or otherwise package food and drink? Then you need to see how beautiful personalized labels can be on your packaging!

Personalized Labels Look Great on Food and Drink

Did you know that you can create personalized labels for canning, jars, wine bottles, and every other kind of food or drink packaging you can think of?

Yes, you can.

When StickerYou gave me the opportunity to try out some of their personalized labels, I jumped at the chance.  Since I had some lovely jars of pear honey, or pear syrup, given to me by my aunt, I decided to create labels to match them.  It makes an excellent preview for what the labels look like and how they perform.

My personalized labels arrived in just a few days in a cute cardboard envelope to protect them from bending or creasing during shipping.

Do you can, jar, bottle, or otherwise package food and drink? Then you need to see how beautiful personalized labels can be on your packaging!

The stickers also came with a nice catalog, filled with pictures illustrating all the different label products and how they could be used.  StickerYou creates everything from window decals, to temporary tattoos, to iron-ons, and every type of label you can imagine.  Plus a few more.

Do you can, jar, bottle, or otherwise package food and drink? Then you need to see how beautiful personalized labels can be on your packaging!

You can use a pre-designed label, or create your own—and if you need a little design help, StickerYou also offers affordable design services.  There’s no minimums on most custom products, no set-up or die-cut charges, and plenty of customization options.

Do you can, jar, bottle, or otherwise package food and drink? Then you need to see how beautiful personalized labels can be on your packaging!

Satisfaction is guaranteed and there are fast delivery options if you need your items in a hurry.

Do you can, jar, bottle, or otherwise package food and drink? Then you need to see how beautiful personalized labels can be on your packaging!

My personalized labels looked beautiful.  The color was rich and the printed design was clear and perfectly aligned with the sticker itself.  These stickers peeled easily off the backing.

Do you can, jar, bottle, or otherwise package food and drink? Then you need to see how beautiful personalized labels can be on your packaging!

They were flexible enough to adhere nicely to the rounded surface of the jars.  And when I caught a little air bubble in one of the lid labels, it was very easy to smooth it out using just my fingertip.

Do you can, jar, bottle, or otherwise package food and drink? Then you need to see how beautiful personalized labels can be on your packaging!

They looked beautiful.  In my opinion, these StickerYou labels would be just as suitable for professional use as they are for gift-giving or home canning purposes.

Do you can, jar, bottle, or otherwise package food and drink? Then you need to see how beautiful personalized labels can be on your packaging!

As for me, I think having labels like this will motivate me to share food and drink gifts more often.  These stickers make it easy to be proud of your work!

Pear Pineapple Honey Syrup

What kind of stickers would you design?  Think about the possibilities!

  • Wine bottle labels
  • Honey jar labels
  • Home-brewed beer and liqueur labels
  • Spice mix labels
  • Jam labels
  • Freezer / meal planning labels

Check out StickerYou for more inspiration!

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Cuban Sandwich Sliders http://recipeforperfection.com/cuban-sandwich-sliders-recipe-sundaysupper/ http://recipeforperfection.com/cuban-sandwich-sliders-recipe-sundaysupper/#comments Mon, 30 Jan 2017 11:00:21 +0000 http://theperfectbrownie.com/?p=1160 Read Cuban Sandwich Sliders on Recipe for Perfection.

Easy Cuban sandwich sliders made with ham, pork, cheese, mustard, and pickles, on soft dinner rolls. Bake them for dinner or for a party!

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Easy Cuban sandwich sliders made with ham, pork, cheese, mustard, and pickles, on soft dinner rolls.  Bake them for dinner or for a party!

Cuban Sandwich Sliders Square Vertical Row 2

Cuban Sandwich Sliders

Thanks for joining me for this week’s #SundaySupper “Supper Bowl” event!  Today, I’m sharing a recipe for one of my favorite kinds of sandwiches: the Cuban sandwich.

I love Cuban sandwiches.  There used to be a fantastic Cuban restaurant not far from where I live, and I used to make excuses to drive through that area just so I could stop in and pick up a Cuban sandwich.  When that restaurant closed, I was left with the choice of driving a really long way to the next closest Cuban restaurant, or coming up with something I could make at home to satisfy my Cuban sandwich craving.

I’m lucky enough to be able to get Cuban bread at my local grocery store, so finding the necessary ingredients wasn’t a problem.  The problem came when I wanted to serve appetizer sized Cuban sandwiches to my family at a big get-together, but the Cuban bread loaves just didn’t divide up as easily as I would have liked.

The next time I made this recipe for a party, I decided to get a few bags of soft dinner rolls instead of Cuban bread.  Of course, dinner rolls aren’t as authentic as using actual Cuban bread, but they’re certainly a lot easier to cut into individual portions.

Not only can you make a large batch of these all at once, but you can also do the preparation ahead of time and then just pop them in the oven when you’re ready.  Perfect for any party, whether it’s a simple celebration or a lavish Big Game spread.

And thanks to Gallo Family Vineyards, I got to sample a Pinot Noir and a Chardonnay with these Cuban Sandwich Sliders.  With its notes of berries and cherries, the Pinot Noir made a very nice pairing, and the Chardonnay’s notes of citrus, vanilla, and oak were also a delicious match for these Cuban Sandwich Sliders.  If you’d like to try either of these wines, you can use this helpful store locator.

Cuban Sandwich Sliders with Gallo 3

I hope you’ll enjoy these little sliders as much as my family did.  And if you’re planning to feed a crowd any time soon, be sure to check out all the other #SundaySupper “Supper Bowl” Appetizers in this week’s event!  You’ll find the recipe links below this recipe.

In addition to appetizers, you might also like to have a dessert that you can prepare ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about it on the big day.  In that case, try these Make Ahead Brownies!  They’re not only simple, but they also keep well and taste delicious.

Cuban Sandwich Sliders Overhead

 

Cuban Sandwich Sliders

Satisfy your Cuban sandwich craving with these tasty little sliders! Oven baked sliders have never been easier or more delicious.

  • 1 dozen soft dinner rolls (do not pull apart)
  • 1/4 lb sliced Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 lb thin sliced sweet ham
  • 1/2 lb sliced roast pork
  • yellow mustard
  • dill pickle slices
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400. Lay out two sheets of foil; each should be larger than one group of 6 rolls.
  2. Using a serrated knife, horizontally cut through each group of rolls, creating a top and a bottom. Open up both groups of rolls and spread mustard all over the inside of the top and the inside of the bottom. On each bottom, layer half of the sweet ham, then half of the sliced pork, then slices of swiss cheese, and finally a layer of sliced dill pickles. Replace the top halves of the rolls.
  3. Carefully turn each group of sliders over so that the bottom is facing upwards. Gently rub the softened butter all over the bottom of the sliders and down the sides. Once the bottom is buttered, flip each group of sliders directly onto its own piece of foil. Then rub the butter over the tops of the sliders and down the sides.
  4. Once the sliders are thoroughly coated, place another piece of foil over the top of each group, then pinch or roll the edges of the top and bottom foil to seal the sliders inside.
  5. Place both foil packets on a baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes, then flip both packets over and bake for 5 more minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 2 minutes before using your serrated knife to slice into individual sliders.

You can prepare the sliders ahead of time! Prepare the sliders (but don’t bake them), and place the packets in the refrigerator until you’re ready. Then follow the baking, cooling, and slicing instructions.

You can learn more about Gallo Family Vineyards on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.  Plus, their website has helpful tips for hosting the Big Game , more great food and wine pairings for game day entertaining, and some football finger food recommendations that might just be perfect for your Big Game party.

GFV 2015 Logo

Compensation was provided by Gallo Family Vineyards via Sunday Supper, LLC. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Gallo Family Vineyards.
Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

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