Best Recipes of 2011 | Midwest Living
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Best Recipes of 2011

We love all our Midwest Living recipes, but these 20 earned top billing from our food editor and our Test Kitchen.

Caramel and Chocolate Kettle-Corn Crispie Bars

This sweet-salty bar cookie won the grand prize of $10,000 in our first annual Best of the Midwest® Recipe Contest. Judy Reynolds of Bloomington, Indiana, started with a Hoosier staple—popcorn—and stirred together these snack bars. Homemade caramel sauce makes them a standout.

Caramel and Chocolate Kettle-Corn Crispie Bars

Fireside Beef Stew with Root Vegetables

Cranberry juice makes a surprise appearance in this slow-cooker main dish. The juice adds a little sweetness to the veggie-packed soup.

Fireside Beef Stew with Root Vegetables

Chicken and Corn Hash Brown Bake

This comfort food hotdish offers a new twist on the usual hash brown casserole. Try it for everyday meals as well as potlucks!

Chicken and Corn Hash Brown Bake

Crumb-Topped Apple Trio Pie

Crisp on top, sweetly tender inside, this pie blends tart and sweet apples—Granny Smith, Jonagold and Braeburn—with sugar and cinnamon under a brown-sugar and walnut crumb topping.

Crumb-Topped Apple Trio Pie

Cheesy Potato Soup

Potato, bacon and cheese -- all the flavors you love in a bowl of soup! The American cheese keeps the soup from curdling while it slow cooks. Mashing cooked potatoes a bit gives the soup some body, while the bacon adds a smoky-salty taste.

Cheesy Potato Soup

Caramel and Chocolate Kettle-Corn Crispie Bars

This sweet-salty bar cookie won the grand prize of $10,000 in our first annual Best of the Midwest® Recipe Contest. Judy Reynolds of Bloomington, Indiana, started with a Hoosier staple—popcorn—and stirred together these snack bars. Homemade caramel sauce makes them a standout.

Caramel and Chocolate Kettle-Corn Crispie Bars

Angel Chicken

Cream cheese, wine and soup combine to form a complex-tasting sauce -- smooth with delicate seasoning -- for slow-cooked chicken and mushrooms.

Angel Chicken

The BMC 2

This bacon-topped muffin was developed by Jill Drury of Chicago. Jill, a pharmacist, used a scientific-formula approach to name her creation based on its ingredients: bacon, maple syrup and cinnamon (squared).

The BMC 2

Suncrest Gardens Farm's Pesto Pizza

Heather Secrist, owner of Suncrest Garden Farms in Cochrane, Wisconsin, uses kale in her pesto for this tomatoey creation, featured in a story about Wisconsin pizza farms. "Pesto can be frozen in ice cube trays for use throughout the year," Heather says. "Once frozen, place the cubes in a freezer bag to pull out as you need them."

Suncrest Gardens Farm's Pesto Pizza

Read more about pizza farms in Wisconsin

Beef Short Ribs with Cranberry-Port Gravy

Short ribs slow-cook to mouthwatering tenderness in this meaty main dish spiked with cranberry sauce and rosemary. The recipe is from Diane Sparrow of Osage, Iowa.

Beef Short Ribs with Cranberry-Port Gravy

Summer Corn Chowder

Sweet corn and soybeans bring a taste of summer to this hearty, healthy chowder that goes together with only a little chopping. Creamed corn adds body to the colorful bowl of soup.

Summer Corn Chowder

Spiced Pear-Cranberry Cobbler

You can almost remember a misty-morning trip to the orchards and bogs when you taste this riff on a Midwest favorite. A pumpkin-cornmeal biscuit crowns the sweet-tangy fruit duo.

Spiced Pear-Cranberry Cobbler

Fresh Corn Risotto with Wild Rice and Pancetta

This dish is perfect for entertaining. Get guests involved: One can stir the risotto while another tosses a salad. Don't rush risotto; it takes time and stirring.

Fresh Corn Risotto with Wild Rice and Pancetta

Roast Chicken with Caramelized Onions and Fall Fruit

Apples, pears and cranberries mix with caramelized onions in a luscious tumble over chicken breasts. Why leave the skin on and bones in? Trust us; you'll notice the extra flavor.

Roast Chicken with Caramelized Onions and Fall Fruit

Triple Peanut Butter Streusel Bars

Dry-roasted peanuts, peanut butter-flavored pieces and peanut butter bring triple flavor to this make-ahead bar cookie.

Triple Peanut Butter Streusel Bars

Pear-Shaped Sake Cheese Ball

Cream cheese, Camembert and cheddar bring big cheese flavor to this appetizer with a hint of sake, the Japanese rice wine. Let the cheese and butter come to room temperature for easy mixing.

Pear-Shaped Sake Cheese Ball

Orange-Ginger Cookie Sandwiches

A round cookie cutter with scalloped edges creates a nice shape for these cookies, but bell, tree, heart or star cutters would also be good choices.

Orange-Ginger Cookie Sandwiches

The Ultimate Chicken and Noodle Casserole

Cremini mushrooms, asparagus, roasted peppers and almonds update this classic hotdish.

The Ultimate Chicken and Noodle Casserole

Gingerbread Pancakes

Make a weekend breakfast extraordinary with a stack of these cakes featuring ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, molasses and fresh-picked apples sliced paper-thin.

Gingerbread Pancakes

BLT Chicken Sliders

If you haven't embraced chicken burgers yet, this mini burger will change your mind. Barbara Estabrook of Rhinelander, Wisconsin, grills white cheddar sliders and crowns them with bacon and her cranberry ketchup.

BLT Chicken Sliders

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