Meet the Cook: I started making my chili back when we lived near a huge farmers' market that sold all sorts of vegetables. Be as creative as you like with ingredients.
My husband loves chili, and this is a nice change from the traditional type. I've always enjoyed cooking - I grew up in a family with five girls. These days, I can count on our own youngsters (they're 4 and 2) to help me out!
-Judy Sloter, Charles City, Iowa
This tasty soup has a surprisingly short simmering time. Leftover turkey has never tasted so good! If you don't have frozen mixed vegetables on hand, stir in extra veggies from your Thanksgiving meal until heated through.
"For a casual company meal, I serve this creamy soup along with miniature ham sandwiches," writes Karen Balistrieri from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. "Sometimes we leave the bay leaf in the soup as a sign of good luck for the person who gets it in their bowl," she adds.
My husband and I are retired with grown children, so it's nice to have a chili recipe that makes a small amount. Mushrooms make this chili stand out from any other varieties I've tried.—Anne Elsby, Chilliwack, British Columbia
My family loves this delicious soup made with fiddleheads (the tightly curled young fronds from bracken, ostrich and cinnamon ferns). We have been hunting for and harvesting wild edible plants for a number of years now. Fiddleheads are one of the first plants to sprout in the spring.—Karen Grasley, Quadeville, Ontario
"I make this chowder for our annual Souper Bowl luncheon at work, and everybody loves it!" comments Chris Sheetz of Olmsted Falls, Ohio. "I've slimmed it down by using both reduced-fat margarine and mushroom soup." Tender chunks of red potatoes add color and texture to her thick chowder.