“On hot summer days, this cooks without heating up the kitchen, while I work on the rest of the meal," explains Carol Losier from Baldwinsville, New York. "It's easy to double or triple for crowds, and if there are any leftovers- you can freeze it to enjoy later!”
This traditional, thick pasta sauce is a cinch to prepare. It has a pleasantly mild flavor and goes with any kind of cooked pasta. If you like, use ground turkey or chicken instead of the beef.—Cathy Johnson, Somerset, Pennsylvania
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
Sweet and tangy pineapple dresses up these hearty baked beans, from Gladys De Boer of Castleford, Idaho. "Brown the beef while you open cans and chop the vegetables, and it won't take long to get this ready for the slow cooker."
Shepherd's pie is to the British like meat loaf is to Americans, so as a young child living in the UK, shepherd's pie was a weekly staple. This is my go-to recipe when I'm longing for the sights and smells of my mother's kitchen.—Mari Sitkiewicz, Downers Grove, Illinois
I created this recipe after ruining a dinner of Spanish rice. I tried to salvage the dish by adding more water, cilantro and green chiles. It was a hit with the whole family. It's hearty enough to be a main meal with the addition of a garden salad and some corn bread.—Marilyn Schetz, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
Liquid Smoke gives a unique taste to this thick and hearty combination of beef and beans shared by Anita Curtis. "I serve it with a crisp salad to make a complete meal," notes the Camarillo, California cook.