All my dishes use ingredients that are usually sitting in the fire department pantry. I just adjust amounts depending on how many people we have on duty that day. This is always popular. —Nick Kaczor, New Hudson, Michigan
This spicy soup, featuring shrimp, crabmeat and tomatoes, gets its zip from hot pepper sauce and cayenne pepper. It's easy to prepare and dresses up any meal. Of all the recipes I've borrowed from my mom, this soup is the one that I've made most often.
North Palm Beach, Florida
"I especially like this dish because I can get it ready the day before I need it," comments Julie Ridlon of Solway, Minnesota. It's easy to whip up with common pantry items, including macaroni, canned soup and saltine crackers.
"Besides helping on our farm, I work as an environmental assistant for a power district," relates Denise Goedeken from Platte Center, Nebraska. "It's quite a challenge to put a good nutritious meal on the table and still have time for doing things with my family." Denise's husband and their two girls enjoy this dish, which you can make for just 20¢ a serving.
As a pastor's wife, I never miss a church supper. This vegetable-beef soup is my family's favorite. It's also a big favorite with the First Baptist Church "family" here in Alton! Sometimes, I will stir up a kettleful of soup at our local campground, too—it tastes wonderful indoors or out.
This is one of my favorite meal-in-a-bowl soups because it's very tasty with little preparation. Collard greens or chopped kale can be used instead of spinach. The hot pepper sauce adds real kick, but it's fine to leave it out and let each person flavor their own serving.
I love serving this savory soup to lunch guests. Italian turkey sausage gives the broth just the right spice. I never cooked much when I was growing up, so when I got out on my own, I found that great recipes like this can make anyone a good cook.
-Betty Christensen, Victoria, British Columbia