"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.
It's especially nice to use this recipe in fall, when the weather gets crisp and Nebraska's apple orchards start selling fresh apple cider. This entree's subtle sweetness is a welcome change from other savory stews. We enjoy it with biscuits and slices of apple and cheddar cheese.
-Joyce Glaesemann, Lincoln, Nebraska
My niece shared this recipe with me, and whenever I’ve served it, I get requests for the recipe. The sausage, tortellini, tomatoes, zucchini and herbs make it different from typical stews featuring meat and potatoes. It’s a hearty one-dish meal that’s simple to prepare.
When I was a new bride 25 years ago, this recipe was inside a serving dish I received as a gift. It's great on winter evenings served with a loaf of fresh bread. The cider and vinegar help tenderize the meat and provide wonderful flavor to this hearty stew.
-Carol Hendrickson, Laguna Beach, California
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
This stew is perfect for warming up on a wintry day. It is a good dish to make when you're busy, since it's quick to prepare and doesn't need attention while cooking. Instead of noodles, I often serve it with rice.
My mom made this stew when I was young, and it was always a hit. Since it's not time-consuming to make I can fix it on a weekend for our children, who love the tender dumplings. —Becky Mohr of Appleton, Wisconsin
Like a thick, hearty soup, this stew is packed with tender chicken and an eye-catching combination of vegetables. I could never wait patiently to eat when Mother was cooking this stew. —Milded Sherrer, Fort Worth, Texas
This hearty stew is a favorite with our family, along with a basket of homemade breadsticks. Since lentils don't require the long soaking time that dried beans do, you can begin making this dish just an hour before supper—not the night before!—Carol Wolfer, Lebanon, Oregon