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
Flavorful and filling, Michaela Rosenthal's hearty soup is laced with a hint of lime and has a zesty Southwest flair. “It's really a meal in itself,” says the Woodland Hills, California cook. Fresh fruit salsa makes an unusual but perfect topping!
Loaded with ground beef, squash, tomatoes and two kinds of potatoes, this hearty soup makes a great family meal on a busy night. Go ahead and substitute any of the vegetables with those that better suit your tastes.
We have a small asparagus patch, and my husband and I wait eagerly for this tasty vegetable to appear every spring. We're pleased to use our precious harvest in this soup. Lemon and nutmeg give it a surprising spark.
—Darlene Swille, Green Bay, Wisconsin
While I don't have scientific proof of it, Red Pepper Soup works for me as a head cold remedy! It is a good gift to take when visiting a sick friend, too. For a pretty touch, top the soup with grated cheese and parsley. We enjoy it with jalapeno cheese buns. You can also serve it with warm garlic bread.
-Barb Nelson, Victoria, British Columbia
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.
Get your next dinner party off to an impressive start with this savory cream soup. Guests will love the roasted tomato flavor and crispy bread slices. If you make it in summer, try grilling the tomatoes instead.—Patterson Watkins, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
This chowder is a wonderful warmer-upper on a rainy afternoon. For a quick and delicious variation, spoon chowder into a split baked potato! I like all types of cooking, especially baking pies. I'm a volunteer at our local hospital. When at home, I enjoy reading, biking and hiking.