There’s no place like home for the holidays — and is there any homier place in the United States than the Midwest? It is the country’s heartland, after all, filled with small-town Christmas light displays that would make even Norman Rockwell feel nostalgic. The coziness of the region means that Midwestern holiday cooking is comfort and convenience all rolled into one delicious package, to optimize that wintery feeling with the most amount of time spent with family possible.
If you call the Midwest home, you know the drill. The same foods that were brought over by your European ancestors generations ago, such as Swedish meatballs and Linzer cookies, are still staples on your holiday table. Those are just some timeless Midwestern dishes.
Second only to these Christmas traditions is convenience — so you know that simple party classics like pigs in a blanket, tater tot casserole and cheesy broccoli casserole with a cereal topping are a must-have for the holidays.
If you’re a Midwesterner who can’t make it home for Christmas this year and want to relive the region’s standby dishes, or if you’re from elsewhere and just want to explore new recipes this December, keep reading to find 15 recipes for a Midwestern holiday menu.
If there’s one thing Midwesterners love, it’s beer. If there’s a second thing they love, it’s cheese. This easy dip combines those very two things to make for a very merry Christmas spread.
For the Beer Cheese Dip recipe, click here.
Potato skins satisfy all your savory cravings: They’re salty, cheesy, creamy, and crunchy. This elevated twist on a bar food classic adds some holiday elegance.
Carried over from Scandinavian ancestors, Swedish meatballs are a delicious, creamy, and hearty food fit for any holiday party. Whether you serve them as a main course or an appetizer, they’re sure to earn raves from your guests.
For the Swedish Meatballs With Cream Sauce recipe, click here.
A beautiful cut of beef doesn’t need much to make for an elegant meal. Just a few simple seasonings help this prime rib along.
For the Classic Prime Rib recipe, click here.
A beautiful pork roast is all you need for a special holiday meal. With a lovely array of fresh herbs, this recipe is as simple as it is sensational.
For the Herb-Crusted Pork Roast recipe, click here.
A lasagna is a must-have for a holiday gathering. And in the Midwest, a lasagna is not complete unless it’s loaded with three different meats and two cheeses, like this crowd-pleasing recipe is.
For the Grandma's Lasagna recipe, click here.
A rack of lamb is such a special thing to prepare, but it’s also so simple. Fresh herbs and a pinch of lemon zest give this hearty meat a beautiful brightness that’s perfect for a holiday table.
For the Rack of Lamb With Garden Gremolata recipe, click here.
If your vegetables aren’t cooked with cheese and cream, I don’t know how you can even call yourself a Midwesterner. A surprising ingredient gives this dish a satisfying crunch.
For the Cheesy Broccoli Bake recipe, click here.
This comforting casserole includes a few Midwestern staples: convenience products, chili, and lots of heft. You won’t find this delicious side on any other region’s holiday table, but it is a true delight.
For the Chili Cheese Tater Tot Casserole recipe, click here.
Two Midwestern favorites, sauerkraut and potato gratin, join together in this side dish. With plenty of cream and butter, there is nothing wrong with this dish.
For the Potato and Sauerkraut Gratin recipe, click here.
A Central European influence across the Midwest means that certain traditions, like these Linzer cookies, are a mainstay on the holiday table.
For Wolfgang Puck’s Linzer Cookies recipe, click here.
Baklava is a special treat that is often only made for the holidays. Once again tapping into the Midwest’s European roots, families across the region will make this dessert for a standout holiday party.
For the Sticky Pistachio Cinnamon Baklava recipe, click here.
A good Midwestern host knows that you should put forward little touches to make your party stand out. Making your own eggnog instead of buying the premade stuff is an easy (and boozy) way to put forth some extra effort in your holiday entertaining.
For the Spiked Eggnog recipe, click here.
No friendly Midwesterner would let a Christmas guest leave empty-handed! Peppermint bark is the perfect confection to send your guests off with this holiday season. And if you want to be a truly friendly host, also send your guests off with the best holiday cookies.
For the Swirled Peppermint Bark recipe, click here.
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