Meet the Cook: Especially to guests who enjoy the variety of Chinese cooking, this is a treat. I like serving it with fried noodles or rice as a side dish. I am a widow with two daughters, both grown, and a grandson. Music is a favorite pastime. I've been the founder and director of a seniors band called "The Happy Has Beens", and I perform for clubs, church groups and seniors as the "Hat Lady", singing about my travels through our state.
-Louise Johnson, Harriman, Tennessee
Horseradish, spices and slightly sweet balsamic vinegar give this gazpacho its Cajun flair. Served chilled, it’s one of the best starters you can have in the heat of the summer.—Denise Klibert, Shreveport, Louisiana
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
Each fall there's a Lima Bean Festival in nearby West Cape May to honor the many growers there and showcase different recipes using their crop. This comforting chowder was a festival recipe contest winner several years ago.
—Kathleen Olsack, North Cape May, New Jersey
From Sharon Delaney-Chronis in South Milwaukee, Wisconsin: "When I first prepared this change-of-pace soup for a party, everyone called it a hit! My husband always likes it warmed up, but I prefer my soup chilled. Any leftovers, we drizzle over frozen custard for a fresh, fruity topping."
This spicy soup is loaded with turkey, beans, corn and tomatoes. We like it really hot, so we tend to use all three tablespoons of jalapenos...and then some. It's so good on a wintry Midwestern day. —Brenda Kruse, Ames, Iowa
Meet the Cook: A favorite at soup night at our church, this recipe's one my husband concocted after he retired. (We have four children plus two grandchildren and another on the way.) I frequently find it on the table when I get home from work.
-Rosalie Biar, Thorndale, Texas
This soup tastes especially good in cold weather—which we have a lot of here on the shore of Lake Michigan! I love cooking (I like to try a new recipe every week, and my family loves soup, so I'm always looking for one more.
In addition to eating this chili the traditional way (with a spoon!), my family likes to scoop bites onto tortilla chips. The leftovers are great rolled in tortillas and reheated, too. It's so comforting to have a pot simmering when cold Kansas winds are blowing.