German settlers brought the recipe for this tender coffee cake to the northern plains. The industrious pioneers changed up the taste by folding local fruits into the batter: apple, gooseberry, plum and even no-fruit cottage cheese. Here's our biscuitlike version with summery peaches. Serve it warm for breakfast or with ice cream for dessert.
Locals spar over whether Skyline or Gold Star makes the better version (and whether the secret ingredients should be cinnamon, cocoa or allspice). Whichever, chili in the Queen City translates as a mild, meaty sauce served over spaghetti noodles and topped with shredded cheese.
Called the Blueberry of the Northern Plains, juneberries (also known as serviceberries) give bakers in North and South Dakota a reason to warm kitchens in summer. Pies featuring the berry bake a deep purply red and bring a nutty almond flavor to every fork full.
When Mennonites came to Kansas, they brought their German language, Turkey Red wheat and the recipe for this addictive sweet, soft dinner roll with a doughy topknot. The secret to its rich taste and moistness: potato water, sugar, butter and egg. Don't confuse it with the tooth-breaking cracker of the same name.
Kansas Zwiebach 
The famous St. Louis dessert gets a makeover from Emily Hobbs of Springfield, Missouri. She adds pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice to the moist cake. The recipe was one of the finalists at Midwest Living's first Best of the Midwest cook-off.
Like many good legends, this one has a murky origin. Stories say a cook in St. Louis' Italian Hill neighborhood dropped cooked raviolis into hot fat. The world has been enjoying dropping the crispy appetizer into tomato sauce ever since.
Everyone raves about KC's 'cue, but do they mean Gates? Arthur Bryant's? Jack Stack? Don't worry about it. Just get there and start eating. Especially the burnt ends. Or try our Kansas City-inspired recipes.
Smoked Beef Brisket 
When miners carried these meat-and-veggie pies in their pockets in Michigan's UP, they counted on sturdy crusts. Our version is a little more tender and moist. But it still works great the traditional way--drenched in gravy or ketchup.
Michigan Pasties 
This hearty soup, an update of an Amish favorite, comes from an Iowa City, Iowa, reader and football fan. Flavored with bacon and onion, it's a great soup for family dinners or tailgate parties.
Iowa Corn Chowder 
Some say empty apple bins inspired Hoosier Quakers to create this single-crust dessert of sugar, cream and flour. The short ingredient list may make you think something's missing. But try it once, and you'll see why the humble phenom became Indiana's official pie in 2009.
This pilaf-like side dish is inspired by the cuisine of the Ojibwe Native Americans who harvest naturally growing wild rice on the White Earth reservation in Minnesota. You can substitute other dried fruits and nuts if you like.
Eat like a Norwegian! Lutheran church kitchens bustle at the holidays as parishioners mix potato, flour, butter and cream to create this Scandinavian tortilla. Eat it with a smear of butter and a sprinkle of sugar.
This recipe was inspired by a favorite menu item at Pinky's Bar and Grill in Courtland, Kansas. Pounding tenderizes round steak, an economical cut of meat. After cooking the meat, reserve the pan drippings to make milk gravy to serve over the meat and, if you like, mashed potatoes.
Great food and warm fellowship infuse church suppers around the Midwest. Cincinnati's Sacred Heart Church is known especially for its meatballs, part of the church's traditional Italian suppers. Add these meatballs to your favorite pasta sauce, and serve over hot cooked noodles.
German chocolate cake is a staple on most restaurant menus in the northern Midwest, where German and Scandinavian immigrants settled. This recipe from Wisconsin is extra moist and chocolatey, with a rich coconut topping.
This traditional German appetizer, popular in northeast Ohio, comes from the Hey Hey Bar and Grill in Columbus. Even if you're not usually a sauerkraut fan, you may love the sweet-sour tang of mustard and kraut inside crispy deep-fried shells.
Sauerkraut Balls 
Crisp Red River Valley potato chips dive into melted chocolate for a funky twist that nailed the sweet-salty taste long before it became a craze. Our recipe was inspired by chips from Widman's in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
Widman's Chippers 
Impeccable Iowa shops such as Pella's Jaarsma Bakery serve delicious almond paste tucked into S-shape pastries. Some say the S stands for Sinterklaas, but sweet works for us.
Jaarsma's Dutch Letters 
Stop at a roadside farmstand for a basket or buy them in pie form. Tart, just-picked cherries are special within sight of the trees that nurtured them in Michigan's fruit-belt along Lake Michigan or in Door County, Wisconsin.
Brisket is a tough cut of meat that's transformed into heavenly tenderness with slow, low cooking. Serve on crusty ciabatta rolls. If you like morel mushrooms (and can find them!), try them here.
Smoky Brisket Sandwiches 
Greek favorites phyllo and feta stand out in this appetizer from Hellenic Cuisine: Secret Greek Recipes, a community cookbook featuring recipes passed down through three generations of the Ladies of St. Nicholas Greek Church in St. Louis.
Phyllo Cheese Straws 
Here's a dinner kids and moms love! Kids for the flavor, moms because the franks and meaty filling cook together. If it's party or potluck fare, everything can sit for up to one hour on the low-heat setting.
Beefy Chili Dogs 
You'll need two hands and a hearty appetite to tackle this king-size sandwich of battered and fried pork tenderloin. It's our version of the oversize deli tenderloin sandwiches popular in pork-producing states such as Iowa, Illinois and Indiana.
Bun-Buster Tenderloin 
Fry bread is a Native American tradition, known throughout the tribes of South Dakota. Our recipe uses frozen dinner rolls, but for the authentic Lakota Sioux taste, you can order bread mix from woodenknife.com. Serve with savory taco meat sauce or a sweet cinnamon-sugar topping.
Easy Fry Bread 
These recipes for Rolled White Cookies and Sandbakkels (Norwegian shortbread) both won prizes at Minnesota's Pennington County Fair. Traditional sandbakkels use a sandbakkel mold, available from specialty kitchen shops and online stores. Or you can substitute 1 3/4-inch tart tins or muffin cups.
Rolled White Cookies 
A classic almond filling rolled up in flaky Danish-style pastry brings honor to Racine as Kringle Capital of the World. New fillings like cheesecake, chocolate and Key lime add zing to the choices at shops such as O&H Danish Bakery (left).
O&H Kringle recipe 
Just a dinner roll? Not when it's one of 2.2 million that Lambert's Cafe chucks across the room each year to diners visiting their southern Missouri locations. The buttery-sweet taste adds to their appeal. While you'll need to go to Missouri for the real thing, our recipe was inspired by Lambert's.
Dinner Rolls 
These waffles get their name from the fact that they're served on a stick, like corn dogs. They're a staple at the Minnesota State Fair, where Granny's Kitchen makes fresh Belgian waffles, dips them in chocolate and tops them with whipped cream and crunchy sprinkles, strawberries or candies. Our version uses frozen waffles, but you can trek to Minnesota for the real thing.
Minnesota Fudge Puppies 
Honors for creating the Reuben sandwich may go to Reuben Kulakofsky and his poker pals at the former Blackstone Hotel in Omaha, where the sandwich was first served in the 1920s. Here's our version of the corned beef-and-sauerkraut classic.
The Regal Reuben 
Steep your grilled brats in this onion-and-herb beer mixture for an easy way to keep them warm while entertaining. Beer-Braised Brats get a liberal dose of cranberry-pickle relish for extra color and tang. This is a Badger State meal in a bun.
Beer-Braised Brats 
Despite a fine-dining rep, Maldaner's in Springfield, Illinois, shamelessly buries a meat sandwich under cheese sauce ooze and fries. It's their guilty pleasure--and ours.
You may not normally cross the street to eat boiled fish and potatoes. But set them atop a blaze on a Door County summer evening, and it's an unforgettable experience.
Enjoy more of our favorite recipes in any of our free printable cookbooks.