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
My father shared this recipe with me, and I use it when I need a hearty, healthy meal. It's my sons' favorite. Loaded with sausage, chicken, beans and spinach, the quick soup is nice for special occasions, too. —Kim Knight
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
After just one taste of this slightly sweet tomato and herb soup, my family never went back to canned soup again! I adapted this recipe from one I seen in an old cookbook. —Chris Baker of South Lake Tahoe, California
Field peas that have been dried (split peas) have been a staple soup ingredient for country cooks for years. One super recipe is Wisconsin Split Pea Soup. The recipe was sent in by field editor Linda Rock (left) of Stratford.
"Marjoram, garlic, potatoes and carrots blend nicely with peas in this hearty and economical soup," Linda confirms.
"I also plant peas in my garden each year," she says. "They grow so well here that I pick enough to freeze and enjoy all winter."
When I was a little girl, I help my parents work the fields of their small farm. Lunchtime was always a treat when Mother picked fresh vegetables from her garden and simmered them in her big soup pot. Nowadays, I grow most of those vegetables in my own garden. Not only is gardening enjoyable, it is an inexpensive way to make a delicious soup.
No question—this is my favorite soup! It's so filling that I serve it as a hearty main dish, and I have given the recipe to many of our friends and relatives. (Especially with the barley, it simply tastes too good to keep to yourself!)
In the cold months, I like to put on a big pot of this comforting soup. It cooks away while I do other things like baking bread, crafting or even cleaning the house. —Glenna Reimer, Gig Harbor, Washington
My family named this spicy soup after our state moniker, “New Mexico, Land of Enchantment.” We usually make it around Christmas when we have lots of family over…and we never have leftovers.
Artesia, New Mexico