Our Best Recipes of 2013 | Midwest Living

Our Best Recipes of 2013

Our food editor combed the 2013 issues to choose her all-time favorite recipes of the past year. We think all our recipes are great, but these were the best of the best.

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!

Fruit Hand Pies

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.

Bacon-Pear Macaroni and Cheese

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.

Candy Cane Snack Mix

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.

Malt Shop Special Cupcakes

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!

Slow-Cooker Brat and Sauerkraut Soup

Whole Wheat Pretzel Rolls 

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.

Cranberry Orange Upside-Down Cake

Cajun-Rubbed Salmon

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.

Cajun-Rubbed Salmon

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.

Bacon-Roasted Brussels Sprouts

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!

Fruit Hand Pies

Melon Sorbet

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!

Melon Sorbet 

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! 

Panzanella (Bread Salad) with Summer Vegetables 

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.

Tomato Pasta with Arugula and Parmesan 

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.

Oven-Roasted Squash and Beets with Arugula

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.

Salted Caramel, Chocolate and Peanut Cracker-Stack Bars

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.

Walleye Wild Cakes with Wasabi Dressing

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!) 

Spinach-Mushroom-Sausage Pierogi Bake

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.

Smyth Steak Sandwiches

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.

Nutella Cherry Hazelnut Fudge

Maple-Butternut Puree

Roasting brings out squash's natural sugars. Blending with maple syrup, butter and nutmeg makes it utterly addictive. Bonus: This dish reheats beautifully.

Maple-Butternut Puree

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.

Salty Caramel and Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

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