"You'll get a thumbs-up when you serve this veggie-packed soup," says Diane Mrozinski of Essexville, Michigan. You can substitute ground turkey for the beef, if you like, and easily double or triple the recipe to serve more people.
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
"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.
THIS SALAD is ideal for one or two people, but I've often increased the recipe to take to potlucks.
For variety, I'll sometimes add chopped pickles or shredded cheese. In summer, fresh tomatoes add color and flavor.
-Ruth Griggs, South Hill, Virginia
Popular any time of the year, this crowd-pleasing pasta salad is perfect for summer picnics. Made the day before, it has a pleasant vinaigrette dressing sparked with herbs. I set aside the Parmesan cheese and add it just before the salad is served.
-Marion Lowery, Medford, Oregon
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