This chili, loaded with white beans and cubes of pork, has plenty of bite. But if it’s not spicy enough for you, top it with shredded jalapeno jack cheese and finely diced onions. —Larry Laatsch, Saginaw, Michigan
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
Luckily, this recipe makes a lot, since everyone is apt to want another bowl. It freezes well and makes excellent leftovers-if there is any left. Not that I'm a retired farm wife, I enjoy traveling and volunteering. —Fannie Wehmas, Saxon, Wisconsin
"This hearty three-bean soup is very easy to fix," remarks Sharon Thompson of Hunter, Kansas. "You can add a can of green chilies if you like it hotter. I increase the amount of tomatoes and beans for large church get-togethers."
You're sure to get a kick out of this spicy entree, which placed third at a chili contest in Murphy, North Carolina.
"I wanted to make good-for-you chili that also used veggies from my garden," C.J. Counts explains. "My husband and I are chefs, but we also like to have fun and use our imaginations when we cook."
No one ever guesses the "secret ingredient" in this recipe that I created. A can of mushroom soup is what makes the chili so thick and creamy. Take this spicy concoction to a fall potluck or church dinner, and watch folks warm up to it!
-Elizabeth Mays, Nunnelly, Tennessee
Meet the Cook: The basis for this recipe was handed down to me by my aunt, who said she got it from a "grizzled Montana mountain man". I added some zesty ingredients to come up with the final version.
Hot food is something that my husband's family isn't accustomed to. So I adjust the spices for them. In fact, with a few simple alterations to the "heat" index, I can serve this chili to anyone.
Chad and I and our 2-year-old son live 12 miles from town in the country.
-Lisa Humphreys, Wasilla, Alaska