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.
Gail Gladding-Pullara of Oregon, Wisconsin, created this simple, crowd-pleasing soup. "My family loves this recipe," she says. "It’s easy and tastes like you’ve been cooking for hours."
Italian Dinner Soup 
Dawn Logterman of Verona, Wisconsin, created this clever twist on the classic cream puffs served at the Wisconsin State Fair. Her recipe was a finalist in our annual recipe contest.
There are a lot of ingredients in this spruced-up comfort-food dish, but trust us, it's worth the effort for a weekend treat. The recipe from Michael Watz of Chicago was a finalist in our recipe contest.
The memory of a childhood orchard trip inspired Melinsa Murphey of Olathe, Kansas, to create this recipe. The cakes are moist and sweet and quite generously proportioned, so you may want to serve a half-cake to each person (or bake them in muffin cups instead).
Annie France of Mission, Kansas, invented this beautiful summer dish. Juicy cherry tomatoes are roasted and served over spaghetti squash with herbs and mozzarella balls. Annie says she serves it as a side dish, but we think it would make a fantastic meatless main.
David Dahlman of Chatsworth, California, says this yeasty coffee cake reminds him of the old-fashioned, down-to-earth treats on his grandmother's farm table. It takes time because it's a yeast-leavened dough, but there's no kneading required.
Dawn Moore of Warren, Pennsylvania, grew up sampling buckeye candy from neighboring Ohio. It was the muse for this outrageously rich and creamy dessert she created.
Chalk this recipe up as an occasional indulgence. It's topped with a totally mouth-watering combo of thin-sliced potatoes, bacon, sausage and a delectable garlic-rosemary butter. The recipe comes from Hidemi Walsh of Plainfield, Indiana.
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!)
These fragrant muffins inspired by the flavors and ingredients of Minnesota's North Woods were a finalist in our recipe contest. The recipe comes from Cheryl Francke of Arden Hills, Minnesota.
This recipe, submitted by Melanie Madore of Ashland, Missouri, was a finalist in our recipe contest. Unlike many pumpkin chilis, what sets this one apart is using cubed pumpkin (or butternut squash) rather than canned.
Pumpkin Chili 
This almond-kissed, fruit-packed pie comes from David Harper, of Richland Center, Wisconsin. He likes to serve it with a wedge of Wisconsin cheese, but it's just as good with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream! The recipe was a finalist in our annual recipe contest.
This sandwich looks a bit plain, but appearances can be deceiving. It's packed with flavor. Mustard, herbs and lemon zest season the meat, which is topped with wine-poached pears, sharp cheddar and pepper jelly. The recipe comes from Jen Smallwood of Portsmouth, Virginia.
Jen’s White Burger 
Cindi Rockwell of Berkley, Michigan, says this recipe, which has two signature Minnesota ingredients, was inspired by the resort her grandparents owned there.
This recipe from Linda Kay Drysdale of Riverview, Michigan, won the $10,000 top prize in one of our Best of the Midwest recipe contests. 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.
Linda Rohr of Darien, Connecticut, came up with a Midwest version of East Coast chowder using lake-fresh walleye, corn and sweet potato chunks in a golden bread bowl.
This recipe from Judy Reynolds of Bloomington, Indiana, was the $10,000 winner in our first Best of the Midwest cook-off. Start with a Hoosier staple—popcorn—and stir together these sweet-salty snack bars. Homemade caramel sauce helps makes them a standout.
Patrice Hurd of Bemidji, Minnesota, says this moist, sweet and tangy comfort food reminds her of Sunday dinner at her grandmother's in northern Minnesota. Best of all, it's fast.
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.)
Freshwater salmon soaks up the flavor of cider-tarragon marinade created by Sally Sibthorpe of Shelby Township, Michigan. She finishes the elegant main dish with a cream sauce scented with aniselike tarragon.
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 
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 
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.