In Italian restaurants, I always order minestrone. After doing many trial and error batches, I developed a hearty veggie soup my whole family craves—kids and all. —Hillery Martin, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas
I developed this recipe myself when I was 16. It freezes well and almost tastes better the day after you make it. The variety of vegetables make it colorful to serve and give it the calico name.—Camille Gouldsborough, Grosse Isle, Manitoba.
“My husband is not a soup-for-dinner kind of guy, but he loves this chunky, stick-to-your-ribs soup,” laughs Nancy Tafoya in Fort Collins, Colorado. “I always serve it with a warm loaf of homemade bread.”
Natalie Cataldo relies on store-bought pesto to provide mild flavor to this chunky tortellini and vegetable soup. "It's a hit in my house," says the Des Moines, Iowa cook. "If you don't like zucchini, use another vegetable," she suggests.
Chock-full of veggies, this chunky soup is nearly a meal in itself, says Regina Cook of Crowley, Texas. “I got the recipe from my parents, who made it for years. Now my friends ask to come over whenever I make it,” she adds.
I remember my mom making this soup; now I make it as often as I can. It's a good way to use up leftover vegetables. Sometimes I add a can of rinsed and drained kidney or garbanzo beans. —Angela Goodman, Kaneohe, Hawaii
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