With a medley of barley, beef and vegetables, this thick, stew-like soup is brimming with flavor and texture. Every spoonful will warm you from head to toe on cold winter evenings.—Rachel Kohnen, Pomeroy, Iowa
We live in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, which has a rich heritage of German culture. Dishes that include sauerkraut, potatoes and sausage around here. We enjoy this recipe on cold winter evenings, along with muffins and fruit. The "mmm's" start with the first whiff as the door opens after school or work.
Meet the Cook: Soup is tops on the list of things I love to cook. I've used this one as the beginning course to a meal...and as a Sunday supper with hot rolls and butter. When we had a small restaurant in Arizona, I made my mushroom soup every day. We never had any left over. It got raves at a deli I worked at, too. I never cooked very much until my husband and I were married, 48 years ago. We're the parents of three grown sons and the grandparents of 12.
-Beverly Rafferty, Winston, Oregon
Meet the Cook: Soups are one of my favorite things to prepare - they're so easy, and nothing is better on a chilly evening with some homemade bread or biscuits. I am only 26 and married for just a year, so I don't consider myself an "experienced" cook. But I do love to try new recipes with a country flair.
-Anita Warner, Mt. Crawford, Virginia
Meet the Cook: Especially to guests who enjoy the variety of Chinese cooking, this is a treat. I like serving it with fried noodles or rice as a side dish. I am a widow with two daughters, both grown, and a grandson. Music is a favorite pastime. I've been the founder and director of a seniors band called "The Happy Has Beens", and I perform for clubs, church groups and seniors as the "Hat Lady", singing about my travels through our state.
-Louise Johnson, Harriman, Tennessee
Meet the Cook: For years, I worked at making a chicken soup that tasted just like my mother's. When I realized I couldn't, I decided to come up with my own recipe. It was an immediate hit! People enjoy the vegetables, noodles and rosemary.
—Cheryl Rogers, Ames, Iowa
Some years, we have an abundance of morel mushrooms growing wild on our farm. So, I came up with this recipe. This rich, flavorful soup is a great way to use these rare mushroom.—Geraldine Davenport, Madison, Wisconsin
Lots of wonderfully fresh-tasting vegetables are showcased in this chunky soup sent by Victoria Zmarzley-Hahn of Northampton, Pennsylvania. "It's a great way to use up summer's excess produce," she explains. "And it's so versatile—you can add or delete just about any vegetable."