Our Best Recipes of 2013
Bacon-Pear Macaroni and Cheese
Crispy bacon, extra-creamy cheese sauce, pears sauteed in brown sugar and butter. It took our Test Kitchen three tries to get all the pieces right for this fall comfort food. Oh man, was it worth it.
Candy Cane Snack Mix
What's better than sweet and salty? Sweet, salty and pepperminty! This easy-as-could-be snack mix is fantastic for holiday gifts.
Malt Shop Special Cupcakes
As cheerfully cute as an ice cream sundae, these showstopper cupcakes have a luscious and oh-so-easy frosting made of whipping cream, pudding mix and malted milk powder. The recipe comes from Designer Desserts Bakery in Valparaiso, Indiana.
Slow-Cooker Brat and Sauerkraut Soup
Potatoes, onion, sauerkraut and brats pack in the German flavor in this homey slow-cooker soup. Try with Whole Wheat Pretzel Rolls; the soft pretzels' chewy, brown exterior comes from being boiled in an alkaline solution—the 1/4 cup baking soda in the water isn't a typo!
Cranberry Orange Upside-Down Cake
Invert this moist cake while it's still warm to reveal a fall kaleidoscope of glistening, tart berries and sweet mandarin oranges.
Fish made easy! Start with a quick sear—one of cast iron's best tricks—to seal in moisture; finish by baking in the oven. A simple pickle relish tops the spice-rubbed fish with tang.
Bacon-Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Frying bacon in the skillet, then tossing sprouts and red onion in the drippings before roasting means you'll only dirty one pan making this elegant side dish.
Fruit Hand Pies
Our flaky hand pies taste just like their big sibs, but they're tidier to serve and eat, making them perfect for picnics and potlucks. Best of all, you get to choose the fruit filling: cherry, blueberry peach or plum!
Our five-ingredient sorbet is an instant antidote to summer's scorch—and so pretty, too! The recipe works with most melons, berries or citrus fruits, and you can make it in an ice cream maker or refrigerator freezer. Plus, it's fat free!
Panzanella (Bread Salad) with Summer Vegetables
A backyard garden's worth of colorful summer veggies fill this beautiful potluck salad. The toasted bread chunks absorb the dressing and juices from the tomatoes; you won't believe how delicious they taste!
Tomato Pasta with Arugula and Parmesan
Light, no-cook lemon-garlic sauce dresses a tangle of linguine and vegetables. Mix red and yellow cherry tomatoes for the prettiest dish.
Oven-Roasted Squash and Beets with Arugula
This calicolike blend is as nutritious as it is pretty. The veggies roast separately so the beets don't dye the squash pink. The recipe comes from Urban Roots Farm in Springfield, Missouri.
Salted Caramel, Chocolate and Peanut Cracker-Stack Bars
These fantastic potluck bars come from Patrice Hurd of Bemidji, Minnesota. She won the grand prize in our 2012 Best of the Midwest® Recipe Contest. Patrice says they're a twist on her grandmother’s cracker bars. They cut beautifully and brim with salty-sweet-nutty-chocolately flavor.
Walleye Wild Rice Cakes with Wasabi Dressing
Cindi Rockwell of Berkley, Michigan, says this recipe, which has two signature Minnesota ingredients, was inspired by the resort her grandparents owned there.
Spinach-Mushroom-Sausage Pierogi Bake
You don't get much easier than this recipe from Jan Valdez of Chicago! Saute a few ingredients, stir in cream cheese to make a sauce, and dump it all over frozen pierogis in a casserole dish. (You don't even need to thaw the pierogis!)
Smyth Steak Sandwiches
Crumbled blue cheese adds salty punch to these indulgent but easy-to-make sandwiches served at The Iron Horse Hotel in Milwaukee.
Nutella Cherry Hazelnut Fudge
Chocolate-hazelnut spread (Nutella) gives this fudge a smooth texture and luscious nutty flavor. The recipe comes from Annie Marshall of the Indianapolis-based blog Annie's Eats.
Roasting brings out squash's natural sugars. Blending with maple syrup, butter and nutmeg makes it utterly addictive. Bonus: This dish reheats beautifully.
Salty Caramel and Pecan Oatmeal Cookies
These cookies come with a friendly warning: Chewy caramel, toasted pecans and a flurry of sea salt will make you popular. Very popular. A product called caramel bits gives these cookies great flavor and chewy texture. Some supermarkets carry them, and they’re widely available online. (Search for Kraft Caramel Bits.) Take care to follow recipe directions when baking: caramel bits melt quickly.