Meet the Cook: Because it is so hearty, no one misses the meat in this chili. Both family - my husband and I have three daughters and one grandchild - and friends ask for it.
-Rene Fry, Hampstead, Maryland
Kitchen staples and canned goods help me get this heartwarming soup on the table with very little preparation. Feel free to change the ingredients according to your tastes by adding a few of your favorite vegetables, or swap out some of the beans with the variety you like best.—Belinda Moran, Woodbury, Tennessee
"Folks who like their chili hot really get a kick out of this zippy recipe," pens Amy Baxter of Bishop, California. "I serve steaming bowls of it with oven-fresh corn bread. It's chockfull of garden goodness—with two kinds of squash , tomatoes, green chilies, black beans, etc.—that you can leave out the meat altogether and not miss it a bit."
The inspiration for this recipe comes from my Italian heritage—my mom was a wonderful soup maker. Using frozen gnocchi saves time and adds extra heartiness to this chunky soup. —Barbara Estabrook, Rhinelander, Wisconsin
My husband and I try to have at least one vegetarian meal each week, and this is one of our favorites. The recipe makes a large pot of chili that's chock-full of color and flavor. Once the chopping is done, it's quick to cook.
"This recipe is excellent for working mothers because it's fast to make and very flavorful," writes Gladys Shaffer from her home in Elma, Washington. Fresh zucchini and corn add color and crunch to a boxed lasagna dinner mix.
Red pepper flakes bring a little zip to this hearty soup that's full of good-for-you ingredients. "Should you have any left over, this soup is great reheated, after flavors have had time to blend," writes Carol Custer of Clifton Park, New York. "I like to serve steaming bowls of it with rye bread."
To chase away the winter chills, just throw together this hearty, flavorful soup and let the slow cooker do the work for you. I call the recipe "anything goes" because you can add or take out a variety of ingredients, and the soup still turns out absolutely delicious. —Sheena Wellard, Nampa, Idaho