Many split pea soups use ham and bacon for good, smoky flavor. Taking it one amazing step further-add crab. Freeze this one without toppings (freeze the cooked bacon separately), then reheat soup in a saucepan. Feel free to add more chicken stock or broth when reheating if you need it. Sprinkle bacon and fresh crab on top of bowls of hot soup. Stephen Exel, Des Moines, Illinois
The slow cooker makes this chili ideal for entertaining. A few minutes of prep and then it cooks away while you can attend to other party details. Your guests will really enjoy this nicely seasoned hearty dish.—Jan Wagner-Cuda, Deer Park, Washington
"This comforting, cheesy soup is perfect for a cold winter's night-and it doesn't have to simmer for hours," jots Darlene Drane from Fayette, Missouri. "The creamed corn adds a nice touch of sweetness. My family enjoys it with dill pickle spears and crusty fresh-from-the-oven bread."
"I adapted the original recipe for this flavorful soup so I could make it in the slow cooker," writes Lydia Kroese from Minnetonka, Minnesota. "It's ideal for staff luncheons at the school where I work, since we don't have easy access to a stove or oven."
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