My father was a cook in the Army and taught me the basics in the kitchen. My childhood baby-sitter inspired my love of cooking, too...in fact, she gave me this recipe. —Julie Brendt, Antelope, California
Ground beef tacos and taco salads are nicely enhanced by the mixture that Sue Gronholz uses in place of store-bought taco seasoning. "It's so easy to mix up a batch and keep it in the pantry," writes the Beaver Dam, Wisconsin cook. "It's convenient and saves money, too."
"I lead a busy life, so I'm always trying to come up with time-saving recipes," relates Vickie Gibson of Gardendale, Alabama. "This zippy and colorful soup is one of my husband's favorites. It has been a hit at family gatherings, too."
Meet the Cook: There were seven of us children when I was a girl, and I was the second oldest. I began cooking as soon as I could reach the stove and stir a pot.
I'm a widow, so I usually make this for large gatherings. It's so quick and easy. The recipe was given to me when my husband and I were caring for foster children who enjoyed beef dishes. I've been fixing it ever since.
-Shirley Max, Cape Girardeau, Missouri
Pork sausage, ground beef and plenty of beans make this chili a hearty meal-starter. I keep the versatile mixture in serving-size containers in my freezer at all times. I can quickly warm up bowls of it on cold—or use it to fix chili dogs, chili tacos and more.
Layers of cheese, meat sauce and tortillas create a satisfying Mexican lasagna kids of all ages will love. The recipe makes two casseroles, so you’ll have an easy meal later, too. —Renee Starret, Benton, Louisiana
Alice Jarrell of Dexter, Missouri waited a long time to get this favorite recipe—but it was well worth it. "I had eaten this soup countless times at a small restaurant in our town," she tells. "When the owner finally retired, he said I deserved the secret recipe and passed it along. Now, my family enjoys it at least once a month!"—Alice Jarrell, Dexter, Missouri