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
Years ago, when my husband and I put in our first garden, a neighbor suggested zucchini since it's easy to grow. Our kids were reluctant to try new things, so I used our squash in this cheesy chowder—it met with solid approval from all of us! —Nanette Jordan, Flint, Michigan
Any time I serve this thick comforting soup, I'm asking for the recipe. Because it is loaded with chunks of potatoes and chicken, no one suspects that it's low in fat.
-Carla Reid of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
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
I only made this soup occasionally because the original recipe was quite high in fat. I doctored it up a bit, using healthier ingredients, and now we eat this rich flavorful chowder more often.—Ellie Rausch of Goodsoil, Saskatchewan
“My husband loves Alfredo sauce, so I'm always looking for new variations,” writes Cindie Henf from Sebastian, Florida. “This easy-to-make soup is wonderful with crusty Italian bread and a tomato-mozzarella-basil salad. Best of all, it's the perfect amount for two of us.”
As a student attending college full-time, I find my time in the kitchen is limited. This recipe helps me have a hot meal on the table when my husband gets home. He's a real meat-and-potatoes man, but he absolutely loves this thick, creamy chowder with tortilla strips that puff up like homemade noodles.
This no-fuss minestrone is perfect family fare on chilly days. Feeling daring? Substitute a can of butter beans or pinto beans for one of the cans of cannellini beans. I serve it with warm with crusty French bread for dipping into the broth.—Elizabeth Renteria, Vancouver, Washington
When my children requested more vegetarian dishes, this chunky stew became a favorite. Red wine vinegar perks up the flavor and carrots add color. We like to ladle helpings over cooked rice.
—Alice McEachern of Surrey, British Columbia
No question—this is my favorite soup! It's so filling that I serve it as a hearty main dish, and I have given the recipe to many of our friends and relatives. (Especially with the barley, it simply tastes too good to keep to yourself!) —Diana Costello, Marion, Kansas
After just one taste of this slightly sweet tomato and herb soup, my family never went back to canned soup again! I adapted this recipe from one I seen in an old cookbook. —Chris Baker of South Lake Tahoe, California