Vast lakes? Check. Beautiful sunsets? You betcha. Four seasons? Of course. Cheese Curds? We couldn’t live without them. For 30 years I’ve known a little secret that no outside of Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Wisconsin and The Dakotas seem to know.
The Midwest is Best.
Not to brag… but we kind of are the best at everything. We have the nicest people you’ll ever meet. We’re the definition of Americana… with real life, quaint small towns you’ve seen only in movies. We have The Great Lakes, which are better than any ocean. We drink pop (never soda) and we have some of the best food you’ll ever eat. (Always comfort food. Always!)
So today, I thought I’d share a little piece of my heart with you… in the form of my favorite Midwestern Treats! Although many of these foods can be found throughout the US… they aren’t as easily found as they are here.
Let me help you plan your snacks/dinners for the next few weeks… with a taste of the Midwest! You can find whatever you need to make most of these items at your local grocery store, OR I’ve linked special treats via Amazon! Try just one of these foods and I can guarantee you’ll be saying You Betcha to a summer vacation in the Midwest. (In 2021 of course.)
Dot’s Homestyle Pretzels
I guess we’ll start with my absolute favorite snack to grab anywhere, anytime! I love love love love Dot’s Pretzels! I’m not really sure how to describe them, other than they are what a pretzel should taste like. You can find them at grocery stores all over the midwest (we don’t go a single week without picking up a bag) but if you’re not lucky enough to live here, you can get them on Amazon!!
Puppy Chow has always been one of my favorite treats my Mom made. You’ve probably had Puppy Chow before… but may know it as Muddy Buddies. It’s super easy to make, and super addicting! The best Puppy Chow Recipe is actually on the back of the Chex Mix Box. You can find it here!
Better Made Chips
Here in Detroit, we make Better Made Potato Chips. I’m not really sure if it’s just because I grew up in Michigan that I love these so much, but I always reach for Better Made over any other brand. You can snag some on Amazon… but it’s a bit of a hefty price tag. I suggest grabbing a family size four pack from the Better Made website instead!
Detroit Style Coney Dogs
If there is one thing on this list that I could eat every single day of my life besides Dot’s Pretzels, it’s a Coney Dog! I actually didn’t realize that coney dogs aren’t really popular outside the Midwest before I started making this list. They should be… because they are the actual best way to eat a hot dog! I wish you could all come to Detroit so I could take you to Lafayette Coney Island and American Coney downtown and force you to pick which one is better. (The restaurants are literally connected and it’s a huge rivalry in town. They literally hire people to stand outside and convince you to come to their coney shop instead of the other!) But, since I can’t, I’m sharing this recipe because it’s pretty dang spot on!
Okay… maybe I lied. I could eat Cheese Curds from Culver’s every day of my life too. Dunked in ranch dressing. With a Butter Burger and a big pop. (Have I ever sounded more mid-western??) Now, you just might be able to pop over to a Culver’s if you live in the US because they’ve expanded their locations outside the midwest! Click here to find one near you. But if you can’t, click here for a copy cat recipe!
Tuna Noodle Casserole
Casseroles (or hot dishes) in the Midwest are key. You’ll find them at every gathering and they help us get through those long, cold winters. One of Trev and I’s favorites is Tuna Noodle Casserole! It’s beyond easy to make (you probably have everything you need in your pantry) and it taste really, really good. Simply cook up some egg noodles, them combine with a can of drained tuna and a can of creamy soup. (Traditionally you use Cream of Mushroom, but I’m allergic so we use literally any other kind we have on hand.) Bake it at 350 until to warm, season with Salt and Pepper and serve. Seriously… SO GOOD. Oh and most people put peas in it too.
Apple Taffy Salad
Okay. So I was yesterday years old when I learned that people around the country don’t eat marshmallow salads as part of their meals, and that this is a Midwestern thing. Like what?! This is always the first thing I put on my plate at any potluck/gathering! Traditionally served as part of a meal, if you’re not feeling a sweet treat alongside your meat and potatoes, you can serve this up as a dessert or a snack. I shared my Aunt’s recipe for Apple Taffy Salad (my favorite!) a few years ago as part of my Thanksgiving Recipe Bible! You can find it here.
Tater Tot Casserole
Another hot dish that we love in the midwest is Tater Tot Casserole. There is a like a thousand different ways to make this with different meats and flavors. (Just check Pinterest!) However, in my family, our favorite way to eat it is as breakfast for dinner! You can find a really yummy recipe here.
Vernors Ginger Ale is making the list because my husband loves it. He could drink it every single day. My mom used to give me this to help settle my stomach when I wasn’t feeling good growing up. So for me, it always reminds me of sick days, which is probably why I don’t reach for it. However, it’s hugely popular here in Michigan! Trev’s favorite way to have his Vernors is in the sweet treat form of The Boston Cooler. Simply use your favorite vanilla ice cream (we like Hudsonville!) and pour Vernors over the top. Top with whipped cream and a cherry and you’ve got a Boston Cooler! (This is the one way that I actually really like Vernors. HAHA) Grab an 18-pack here.
And last, but not least, sweet sweet Faygo. This pop is a Michigan thing and it’s so dang good. It’s super sweet, and I personally can’t drink it all the time. But every once in awhile, I reach of a bottle of Red Pop and it makes me feel like I’m enjoying a day at the beach as an 8 year old again. You can find Faygo both on their website, and on Amazon. However, I can’t get over how expensive it is! (Here in Michigan, Faygo is cheaper than Coke and Pepsi.) But, if you’re looking for a special treat while you’re stuck at home, order some Red Pop or Rock n Rye 🙂
Okay… how many of you are ready to try a taste of the Midwest? Do you hail from the Midwest too? What’s you’re favorite treat that I missed? Leave it in the comments below!
And if you’re still not sold about visiting us here, click through some of my posts on my favorite Midwestern State… Michigan!
Alright my loves. I’m signing off for the weekend! It’s a beautiful day here so I’m going to go work in the yard. Apparently it’s going to snow tomorrow. Ew.
I’ll be back on Monday! Have a wonderful weekend!