"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.
"I try to serve this rich savory soup at least once a month during our cold winters," writes Laurie Suhrke (at left with husband Paul), Plymouth, Wisconsin. "It's quick to make and has a wonderful fresh mushroom flavor."
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.
Simmer up the earthy flavor of fresh mushrooms and the richness of Brie cheese in one delicious, creamy soup. I serve big bowlfuls to warm up everyone on chilly days.—Maria Emmerich, River Falls, Wisconsin
This family favorite is done in no time at all. I like to serve it with a crusty bread or garlic bread, and I'll sometimes use bacon or salami instead of pepperoni (just like a pizza!).—Janet Beldman, London, Ontario
"With all of its ingredients," grins Lynn Conlon of Provo, Utah, "this probably should be called 'Surprise Soup' instead! Hearty, unique and fun to serve, it works especially well for large groups. I've prepared if for as many as 38 people by making a few adjustments to the recipe. Even children like it."—Lynn Conlon, Provo, Utah
This spice mix comes from my mother's chili recipe, which is fantastic. It'll make a great gift for the hearty eaters you know, especially if you pair it with a loaf of bread. —Vivian Huizinga, Shallow Lake, Ontario