Meet the Cook: Soups are one of my favorite things to prepare - they're so easy, and nothing is better on a chilly evening with some homemade bread or biscuits. I am only 26 and married for just a year, so I don't consider myself an "experienced" cook. But I do love to try new recipes with a country flair.
-Anita Warner, Mt. Crawford, Virginia
We have so few bad-weather days in New Mexico that we like to celebrate cold rainy one with bowls of hot soup. My family likes this ham and bean variety alongside green chili corn muffins.
—Beverly Peacock of Santa Teresa, New Mexico
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
A buttery mushroom flavor blends with potatoes, leeks and carrots to make this soup hearty and warming. A big steaming bowl hits the spot on a cold fall day. Waxy red potatoes and all-purpose Yukon Golds hold together well in boiling water.
My whole family loves this hearty soup, especially on cool autumn evenings. It's rich and creamy with a mild onion-cheese flavor. When I need an easy dinner, I stir up this soup and serve it with warm crusty bread and a crisp salad.
-Janice Hemond, Lincoln, Rhode Island
It makes me feel great to prepare a delicious soup like this one and set it on the table in my favorite soup tureen. Even my three children love it. The next day, we scramble for the leftovers...if there are any.
-Jona Fell, Appleton, Wisconsin
My grandmother had talked about her cherry soup recipe for years, so when I received some of our state's famous Door County cherries, I just had to try it. My family liked it so well that I froze several quarts so we could enjoy it all winter! —Sue Bronholz, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
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
This robust soup is a family favorite, and it's a big hit with my canasta group as well. I top each bowl with a slice of toasted bread and cheese, but you can have fun incorporating other pizza toppings such as cooked sausage.
With its pleasant squash and garlic flavor and golden-orange color, this rich and creamy soup is sure to be a hit whether you serve it for an everyday meal or a holiday dinner.
Chicken noodle soup brings back memories of childhood. This revamped version takes the chill off with a healthy twist. It's a favorite at my house, especially after working outside on a cool day. —Cynthia LaFourcade, Salmon, Idaho
Even those who don't like mushrooms like this soup! I've found it's a great first course when I have friends over.
Our home is a hobby farm with a view of Mississippi River bluffs. We have three daughters—20, 19 and 16.