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US Cooking Tour Stop 21: Iowa

Well, I have to say - Iowa was certainly a surprise! We were so impressed with the recipes that came out of The Hawkeye State that it is a contending frontrunner in the state cooking tour so far. Who would have thought? Iowa, no offense to those from there, is a state that I completely forget about!

Maid Rite Sandwiches, also known as Loose Meats was the staple recipe coming from the state. I had never even heard of these, so I was intrigued to make them and try it out. I have to admit, through my research I didn't think they sounded so great. People kept describing them as a "sloppy joe without the sloppy," and I just couldn't wrap my mind around what that would be like. I was imagining dry, flavorless ground beef sandwiches.

And that's where I was dead wrong. These little sandwiches packed a punch with so much flavor that we were all left speechless. Just trust the recipe and trust the process - it is a super quick, delicious meal that will now remain on my rotation of "easy meals". The best way I can describe it is a really flavorful deconstructed hamburger.

Here is the fun story how they originated, back in 1926 in Muscatine, Iowa. Butcher Fred Angell steamed hamburger instead of frying it and slurried in some spices. He offered one of his sandwiches to a delivery man who was so enthused that he said, “Fred, you know this sandwich is made right.” Voila!



  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • Mix all ingredients in a large skillet.
  • Brown over medium heat until meat is cooked through and most of the liquid is evaporated, about 15 minutes.
  • Serve on buns with desired toppings. 
I highly recommend adding a slice of American cheese. It melted into the meat and just set it off. Also, my husband and children strongly dislike mustard, and they could not taste it in the slightest. I had to tell them after they devoured their sandwiches there was mustard in them. So if you aren't a mustard person, don't let that deter you from making these. I promise you can't taste it - but it adds so much flavor to the sauce!


The dessert to come out of Iowa are no other than the famous Scotcharoos. I had never heard of these, nor had one, but believe me when I say WOW! These are a easy dessert that brings BIG flavor! My family absolutely loved them.


  • 1 cup light corn syrup 
  • 1 cup white sugar 
  • 1 ½ cups peanut butter 
  • 6 cups crisp rice cereal 
  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips 
  • ½ cup butterscotch chips
  • Generously butter a 9x13 inch baking pan. Set aside.
  • In a large pot, mix together corn syrup, sugar, and peanut butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring until peanut butter melts. Bring mixture to a boil. Remove from heat, and stir in crisp rice cereal.
  • Transfer mixture into a well buttered 9x13 inch pan. With your hands well buttered, pat it down into pan.
  • In a medium saucepan, over medium low heat, melt chocolate chips and butterscotch chips until smooth. Spread over top of bars and let bars cool. Cut into squares.
I hope you make these soon and let me know how you enjoyed them! 

Step-by-step video directions are highlighted under the state IA on my Instagram,
I am a modern day homemaker with a passion for family, cooking, celebrating, decorating, travel, and memory making! The Lord has blessed me with the desires of my heart in my husband and our two sons. We recently built our dream home and cultivating a loving and happy haven for my family is where I find so much joy.


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