This no-fuss minestrone is perfect family fare on chilly days. Feeling daring? Substitute a can of butter beans or pinto beans for one of the cans of cannellini beans. I serve it with warm with crusty French bread for dipping into the broth.—Elizabeth Renteria, Vancouver, Washington
I found this recipe years ago and substituted Cajun stewed tomatoes for a bolder taste. Now I prepare this dish for out-of-state guests who want to taste some Cajun food. Everyone who tries it gives it high marks. Plus, it's easy to prepare. —Sue Fontenot, Kinder, Louisiana
I tasted this delicious soup in a restaurant, and when I couldn't persuade the chef to share the recipe. I began to experiment on my own. Finally, I came up with this blend, which is very close to what I'd tasted. The secret ingredient, I think, is sweet potatoes!
—Audrey Nemeth, Mount Vernon, Maine
One of my family's favorite soups, this tasty recipe was one I discovered years ago. Served with a salad and bread or rolls, it makes a savory supper. Sometimes we like to grate mozzarella cheese over the individual bowls just before serving. —Lynne Dodd, Mentor, Ohio
Here's the perfect summer-time soup to put all those fresh garden vegetables to good use! It's great for a light meal served with a salad and warm bread. Take it to a potluck and watch people go back for seconds.
In this recipe, the good-tasting grain simmers in a broth brightened with a cornucopia of vegetables. Try it for a savory supper or lunch.—National Barley Foods Council, Mary Sullivan, Spokane, Washington
When my mobile home park put on a "Soup Day" potluck, this is the recipe I made. Everyone agreed it tasted as good—if not better!—than the version so popular in New England.—Gretchen Draeger, Santa Cruz, California
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