A double dose of caramel—baked in with the fruit and drizzled on top—elevates the humble crisp to new levels of indulgence. Mix two types of apples for the best texture. The tender apples cook down and create a sort of thick sauce, while the firm apples hold their shape. Boiled cider, which you can purchase at specialty stores or online or make using our recipe, adds an extra splash of apple flavor.
Shhh! Don't tell anyone, but this hearty supper soup takes just an hour to make. The secret? Deli-roasted chicken and precooked sausage. Pair with breadsticks or a crusty baguette for a perfect winter meal that will fill your house with good smells.
Dawn Moore of Warren, Pennsylvania, grew up sampling buckeye candy from neighboring Ohio. It was the muse for her outrageously rich and creamy dessert, one of the finalists in our annual Best of the Midwest recipe contest.
This pork-hominy dish from Jerry McDonald of Overland Park, Kansas, draws its smoky, roasted flavor from two of its four kinds of chile peppers. Our heat rating: !! (Touch o' Heat).
Go Whole Hog Chili 
In our annual Best of the Midwest recipe contest, we winnowed 500 entries down to eight finalists for a showdown at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri. Our $10,000 winner: Linda Kay Drysdale of Riverview, Michigan. Linda's recipe calls for chops cooked in a pressure cooker, which reduces cooking time to a fifth of the oven version. Watching calories? Half a chop satisfies most people.
Arrabbiata (the Italian word for angry) is a Roman sauce of garlic, tomatoes and red chili cooked in olive oil. This recipe, inspired by RAGBRAI vendor Pastafari, offers several variations. Serve cooked penne with either a spicy red sauce or with a classic green pesto sauce. Optional toppings include rosemary-crusted grilled salmon or grilled summer squash.
Barbara Estabrook of Rhinelander, Wisconsin, tops a juicy base with so-tender drop biscuits tasting of almonds—from almond flour! (Purchase it online or at large supermarkets.) This recipe was a People's Choice award winner at the second annual Midwest Living® cook-off in Branson, Missouri.
The Inn at Irish Hollow in Galena, Illinois, serves this creamy, curried soup throughout the fall and winter. You can make your own crème fraîche for the garnish, or use purchased crème fraiche or sour cream.
Melted cheese oozes out of these tender, flaky scones flecked with chives and bacon bits. Cheryl Christiansen of McPherson won best in quick breads with this scone at the Kansas State Fair.
A delicate crepelike pancake folds like an envelope around tangy lemon curd in this pretty brunch dish from Abilene's Victorian Inn in Kansas. The whipped sour cream topping is a breeze to make.
This elegant coffee dessert is a favorite Italian treat. Layer espresso-soaked ladyfingers between creamy mascarpone-vanilla filling. Air-dry soft ladyfingers before using in tiramisu.
This crowd-pleasing party recipe comes from the Midwest Living® Culinary and Craft School at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri. They are sweet, salty and highly addictive! Plus, you can assemble the sandwiches a day early for easy party prep.
Ham Sliders 
A cascade of chocolate syrup drizzled inside the glass adds drama to a chocolate chip cookie dough shake crowned with crushed grahams, mini chocolate chips and marshmallows.
Asparagus fritters are a spring customer favorite at Bread and Cup in Lincoln, Nebraska. "I refer to the humble fritter as a blank canvas on which we paint the colors of the season," says chef-owner Kevin Shinn. "With the basic batter recipe, you can simply change the vegetable. We start out with asparagus and move to sweet peas, to green onions, to sweet corn and so on.
"They are very simple to make at home. In the restaurant, we serve them with a bit of local honey or our lemon garlic aioli."
Asparagus Fritters 
These spicy waffles will fill your house with the nostalgic perfume of Christmas cookies and holiday baking. The recipe comes from the Southmoreland on the Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri, where the innkeepers serve the waffles with a salty meat like breakfast sausage or ham.
This dazzler from Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, Missouri, tastes as good as it looks. The dark chocolate cookie crust and ruby red berries add dramatic flair to the orange-flavor filling. Because the cake keeps well for two days, this is a great make-ahead dessert.
This easy summer salad pairs the textures and flavors of buttery, slightly sweet and crisp Boston lettuce with grilled warm peaches and crunchy nuts.
Mildly nutty meringue cradles fresh berries in this classic dessert named for a ballerina. Use your favorite nut to flavor the meringue. Our Test Kitchen recommends pistachios, almonds or pecans. Any fruit works: blueberries, kiwi, bananas.