Warm up with a big bowl of this stick-to-your-ribs stew that’s chock-full of chopped smoked sausage, hearty veggies and tender lentils. It’s terrific with oven-fresh baked bread. —Geraldine Saucier, Albuquerque, New Mexico
"I love anything with Cajun spices, so I came up with this slow-cooker jambalaya that’s just as good as that served in restaurants," says Jennifer Fulk from Moreno Valley, California. "If you can’t find Andouille sausage, hot links, smoked sausage or chorizo will also work. I like to serve it with warm cornbread and garnished with sliced green onions."
Pork slowly stews with jalapenos, onion, green enchilada sauce and spices in this flavor-packed Mexican dish. It's great on its own or stuffed in a warm tortilla with sour cream, grated cheese or olives on the side.
Here is a variation of a beef stew that I came across. With sweet flavor from apricots and squash, we think it has South American or Cuban flair. The addition of corn makes it even more hearty.
—Ruth Rodriguez of Fort Myers Beach, Florida
"I created this chunky soup when looking for something inexpensive and easy to make," recalls Sandra Castillo of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. The thick and hearty mixture is chock-full of ground beef, potatoes and baby carrots.
Our Test Kitchen created this satisfying stew that’s colorful, full-flavored and family-friendly. Chicken thighs are slowly simmered with stewed tomatoes, butternut squash, green peppers and onion for meal-in-one convenience.
Come home to warm comfort food! This is based on my mom’s wonderful recipe, though I tweaked it for the slow cooker. Add a sprinkle of Parmesan to each bowl for a nice finishing touch. —Marcella West, Washburn, Illinois
I adapted a pork and squash stew recipe, using tomatoes and Southwestern-style seasonings. My husband and sons loved it, and the leftovers were even better the next day! Try it with fresh corn muffins. —Molly Newman, Portland, Oregon
Kids of all ages will be delighted with the seasonal twist on this hearty beef stew, which also features mushrooms and parsnips. Rich mashed potato "ghosts" are piped onto each bowlful. The cook will love the convenient slow cooker preparation. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen