This thick slow-cooked chili is special to me because it cooks itself while I’m at work. My family and friends love it. It’s really nice served with corn bread. —Patricia Nieh, Portola Valley, California
I got this wonderful chili recipe from my sister-in-law, who made a big batch and served a crowd one night. It was a hit. Plus, it's easy and quick, which is helpful since I'm a college student. In all my years of 4-H cooking, I've never had another dish get so many compliments. —Laura Brewer, Lafayette, Indiana
We're Nebraska Cornhusker football fans, and on the days when the "Big Red" team is playing, I make up a big pot of this soup. The whole family gathers around the television set to eat it while watching the game! I like to prepare dishes that have a Mexican flavor—and there's just a hint of that in this deliciously satisfying soup. —Shelly Korell, Bayard, Nebraska
Meet the Cook: My entire family urged me to send in this recipe! I came up with it one day when I wasn't sure what to do with a can of black beans I had. I just threw a bunch of stuff together, and out came a new chili that's become our favorite.
My husband always tells me that I'm the world's best cook. That's nice, since he's the best husband in the world! Our four children are ages 6, 4, 2 and 1.
-Nanci Keatley, Salem, Oregon
Meet the Cook: The basis for this recipe was handed down to me by my aunt, who said she got it from a "grizzled Montana mountain man". I added some zesty ingredients to come up with the final version.
Hot food is something that my husband's family isn't accustomed to. So I adjust the spices for them. In fact, with a few simple alterations to the "heat" index, I can serve this chili to anyone.
Chad and I and our 2-year-old son live 12 miles from town in the country.
-Lisa Humphreys, Wasilla, Alaska
Meet the Cook: When I first tasted this chili that originated with my brother, I couldn't wait to share it. It's the best I've ever had. My husband and our son, 2, like it, too.
-Vicki Flowers, Knoxville, Tennessee
My family is crazy about this slow cooker chili because it uses ingredients you don't usually find in chili. Believe it or not, I discovered that pumpkin is what makes the dish so special. Cook up a big batch and freeze some for later; it tastes even better reheated. —Deborah Vliet, Holland, Michigan
My sister shared this chili recipe with me. I usually double it and add one extra can of beans, then serve with cheddar biscuits or warmed tortillas. The jalapeno adds just enough heat to notice but not too much for my children. —Kristine Bowles, Albuquerque, New Mexico