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50 Recipes That Help Midwesterners Survive Winter

Midwesterners know a thing or two about making it through winter. These recipes for cozy soups, hearty casseroles and yes, even a few warming cocktails, are surefire ways to make it through the coldest months of the year.

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Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls with Icing

Check these out! What a scrumptious change of pace from ordinary cinnamon rolls, and a perfect addition to coffee breaks. Serve them at brunch, too. —Rita Lempka, Sterling, NE
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The Ultimate Chicken Noodle Soup

My first Wisconsin winter was so cold, all I wanted to eat was homemade chicken noodle soup. Of all the chicken noodle soup recipes out there, this type of soup is my favorite and is in heavy rotation from November to April. It has many incredibly devoted fans.—Gina Nistico, Denver, Colorado
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Grandma's Swedish Meatballs

My mother made these hearty meatballs when we were growing up, and now my kids love them, too. My daughter likes to help shake the meatballs in flour. —Karin Ness, Big Lake, Minnesota
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Rich Hot Chocolate

Each winter in early February my friends and I gather for an outdoor show called Mittenfest. We skip the Bloody Marys and fill our thermoses with these hot cocoas instead.
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Turkey Biscuit Stew

This chunky stew makes a hearty supper, especially in the fall and winter. It'salso a great way to use extra turkey during the holidays. —Lori Schlecht, Wimbledon, North Dakota
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Frozen Brandy Old-Fashioneds

Both sides of my family are Midwestern, so our strong brandy tradition is evident in the slush we make for the holidays and in the Wisconsin old-fashioned cocktails we enjoy year-round. I decided to combine those recipes into something completely new. This goes very quickly at gatherings! —Stephanie Vaughan, Madison, Wisconsin
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Root Vegetable Pot Roast

During the hectic holiday season, I make this roast a lot. We've scarfed it down before and after shopping, and while wrapping presents. Root vegetables and roast beef make everyone feel cozy and calm. —Pat Dazis, Charlotte, North Carolina
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Bacon-Beef Barley Soup

Here’s a robust dish that’s perfect for hungry teenagers! Served over creamy mashed potatoes, this quick, comforting soup really hits the spot. —Cathy Peterson, Menominee, Michigan
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Hot Buttered Cider Mix

Put the butter base for this beverage in a decorative jar and attach a copy of the recipe for a great gift from your kitchen. You can omit the brandy for a kid-friendly version. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Ham & Cheese Breakfast Strudels

These get the morning off to a cheery start! Sometimes I assemble the strudels ahead and freeze them individually, then bake them as needed. —Jo Groth, Plainfield, Iowa
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The Best Chili

My dad and father-in-law are the gurus in our chili-loving clan. But after my honeymoon to New Mexico, where I was inspired by the fresh and fragrant chile peppers at the Santa Fe farmers market, I felt it was time to introduce them to my spicy, meaty version with a touch of masa harina, dubbed the best chili recipe. —Sarah Farmer, Taste of Home Culinary Director
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Contest-Winning Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

A touch of cinnamon helps blend the flavors in this tender pumpkin chocolate chip bread. And since the recipe makes two loaves, you can send one to a bake sale and keep one at home for your family to enjoy. —Lora Stanley, Bennington, Kansas
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Apple-Honey Dutch Baby

I love to make this treat on Sunday morning. It's so impressive when it's served warm right out of the oven...and the apple honey filling is yummy! —Kathy Fleming, Lisle, Illinois
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Turkey a La King

This is a smart way to use up leftover turkey. You might want to make a double batch! —Mary Gaylord, Balsam Lake, Wisconsin
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Chicken Mushroom Stew

Chicken Mushroom Stew

The flavors blend beautifully in this pot of chicken, vegetables and herbs as it simmers slowly. —Kenny Van Rheenen, Mendota, Illinois
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Cranberry Bourbon

The subtle tang of cranberry and the warm winter spices make this bourbon just right for holiday toasts—neat, on the rocks or in a cocktail. —James Schend, Deputy Editor, Taste of Home.
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Crunchy au Gratin Potatoes

With its golden, crunchy topping and gooey, cheesy interior, this comforting spin on a classic side dish is brimming with robust flavors. Horseradish and nutmeg add that extra-special touch.—Janice Elder, Charlotte, North Carolina
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Ginger Thins

I like to serve these special treats with lemon curd or lemon sherbet, either of which it complements the ginger flavor. —Eleanor Senske, Rock Island, Illinois
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Gnocchi with Spinach and Chicken Sausage

Dinner is easy when I can use ingredients typically found in my fridge and pantry. —Laura Miller, Lake Ann, Michigan
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Beef Brisket in Beer

One bite of this super tender brisket and your family will be hooked! The rich gravy is perfect for spooning over a side of creamy mashed potatoes. —Eunice Stoen, Decorah, Iowa
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Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

When I have leftover ham in the fridge, I like to make this slow-cooker split pea soup. Just throw the ingredients in the slow cooker, turn it on and dinner is done. —Pamela Chambers, West Columbia, South Carolina
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Spaetzle Dumplings

These tender homemade spaetzle noodles take only minutes to make and are a natural accompaniment to chicken. You can serve them with chicken gravy or simply butter them and sprinkle with parsley. —Pamela Eaton, Monclova, Ohio
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Chocolate Chai Mini Loaves

This bread is irresistible! A friend gets mad when I make it because I give her a loaf and she can't help but eat the whole thing! —Lisa Christensen, Poplar Grove, Illinois
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Slow-Cooker Cheese Dip

I brought this slightly spicy cheese dip to a gathering with friends and it was a huge hit. The spicy pork sausage gives the dip plenty of zip! —Marion Bartone, Conneaut, Ohio
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Lemon-Batter Fish

Fishing is a popular recreational activity where we live, so folks are always looking for ways to prepare their catches. My husband ranks this as one of his favorite fish fry batters. —Jackie Hannahs, Cedar Springs, Michigan
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Snow Punch

Snow Punch

As pretty as a fresh snowdrift, this frothy, fruity punch has been a Christmas tradition in our family for years - but it's a light and refreshing thirst-quencher in any season. —Eloise Neeley, Norton, Ohio
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Easy Pecan Pie Bars

I'm always searching for fast and easy recipes to take to the teachers lounge. The staff goes nuts for these shortcut pecan pie bars. —Kathro Yoder, Defiance, Ohio
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Mini Sausage Pies

The simple ingredients and family-friendly flavor of these little sausage cups make them a go-to dinner favorite. And everyone gets their own pies—which makes them even better! —Kerry Dingwall, Ponte Vedra, Florida
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Slow-Cooked Big Breakfast

We make this during holidays or on mornings when we know we're going to have a busy day. You can substitute whatever vegetables your family prefers. It’s also good with steak. —Delisha Paris, Elizabeth Cty, North Carolina
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Mini Meat Loaf Sheet-Pan Meal

I grew up with this classic meat loaf recipe, but I adapted it to mini meatloaves so that they would bake more quickly. The sauce topping is always a hit. I added the potatoes and asparagus to make an easy complete meal. —Deanne Johnson, Reading, Pennsylvania
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Cranberry Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

I needed a new holiday cookie, so I tweaked an old 4-H recipe. This updated oatmeal cookie with cranberries and nuts is my family’s all-time favorite. —Tammy Hoggatt, Omaha, Nebraska
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Cold-Day Chicken Noodle Soup

When I was sick, my mom would make me this heartwarming chicken noodle soup. It was soothing when I had a cold, but this soup is a bowlful of comfort on any chilly day. —Anthony Graham, Ottawa, lllinois
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Mulled Wine

This mulled wine is soothing and satisfying with a delightful blend of spices warmed to perfection. Refrigerating the wine mixture overnight allows the flavors to blend, so don't omit this essential step. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Chicken & Dumpling Casserole

This savory casserole is one of my husband's favorites. He loves the fluffy dumplings with plenty of gravy poured over them. The basil adds just the right touch of flavor and makes the whole house smell so good while this dish cooks. —Sue Mackey, Galesburg, Illinois
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Caramel Apple Coffee Cake with Walnuts

I created this recipe after a trip to an orchard with my family. This moist cake is full of hearty apples and nuts, while the caramel topping adds a delectable finish. —Sharon Cable, Dyersville, Iowa.
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Slow-Cooker Cheesy White Lasagna

Here’s my best version of my favorite food—lasagna! The recipe is a winner, so it’s worth the extra prep. You’ll have plenty of time to plan side dishes while the main dish is cooking. —Suzanne Smith, Bluffton, Indiana
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Peppermint Chip Cheesecake

I love to make cheesecakes and frequently give them as gifts or donate them to fundraisers. This one is very popular. —Gretchen Ely, West Lafayette, Indiana
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Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Pancakes

At our house, Saturday morning always means pancakes for breakfast. I make the menu special by servings up stacks of these fluffy buttermilk treats studded with mini chips. —Julianne Johnson, Grove City, Minnesota
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Potato Chowder

One of the ladies in our church quilting group brought this savory potato soup to a meeting, and everyone loved how the cream cheese and bacon made it so rich. It's easy to assemble in the morning so it can simmer on its own all day. —Anna Mayer, Fort Branch, Indiana
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Mushroom & Leek Strudel

This elegant hors d'oeuvre is almost effortless. Use fresh herbs if possible, and feel free to sub in whole wheat phyllo. —Lisa Diehl, Edina, Minnesota
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Fruit & Nut Baked Oatmeal

In my part of the Midwest, baked oatmeal is a Mennonite specialty. My daughters are always delighted if we have leftovers for them to take home.—Fancheon Resler, Albion, Indiana
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Apple Amaretto Sours

An amaretto sour had always been one of my favorite cocktails. This version has a special touch that makes it perfect for enjoying throughout the holiday season. —Amber Forbes, Roper, North Carolina
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Comforting Beef Barley Soup

When the weather outside is nippy, we want a bowl of soup that’s chock-full of beef, barley and veggies. It's the most delicious way to warm up. —Sue Jurack, Mequon, Wisconsin
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Maple Butter Twists

My stepmother passed on the recipe for this delicious yeast coffee cake that's shaped into pretty rings. When I make it for friends, they always ask for seconds. —June Gilliland, Hope, Indiana
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Mozzarella Mushrooms with Garlic Toast

I came up with this dinner using ingredients I had on hand. It turned out to be so delicious, my wife and I now make it for special occasions. —Marc Bushee, Moorhead, Minnesota
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Oatmeal S'more Cookies

I can't count how many times I have made these cookies—they are our favorites. I love to bake all kinds of goodies with my two daughters, and my husband loves to sample the treats. —Carmen Rae, New Haven, Indiana
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Best Lasagna

Want to know how to make lasagna for a casual holiday meal? You can't go wrong with this deliciously rich meat lasagna recipe. My grown sons and daughter-in-law request it for their birthdays, too. —Pam Thompson, Girard, Illinois
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Sunday Chicken Supper

I make this slow-cooked sensation with chicken, vegetables and seasonings. It's a hearty, homespun dish that satisfies the biggest appetites. —Ruthann Martin, Louisville, Ohio
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Chicken & Cheddar Biscuit Casserole

I always get rave reviews when I bring this casserole to my son's Cub Scouts meetings. It's the perfect comfort meal after a long day. —Sarah Phillips, East Lansing, Michigan
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Creamy Turkey Casserole

I sometimes make turkey just so I have the extras for the casserole! —Mary Jo O'Brien, Hastings, Minnesota

Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is an editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. Lisa is also dedicated to finding and testing the best ingredients, kitchen gear and home products. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.

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