My family makes lentil soup every new year for good luck. My mom has been making it since I was little. Over time, we've tweaked it so that all our family and friends love it. —Kristen Heigl, Staten Island, New York
“Warming bowls of this chilly weather chowder can include most any type of seafood or whitefish. We especially like it with haddock, cod or grouper. Crispy rolls and a green salad complete the meal.” —Eleanor Atteridg, Rolesville, North Carolina
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.
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
Entertaining is a big part of a military wife's life—my husband was a career Army man—so my soup got much use! It's a great cool-down after Mexican food, but I've also served it with butter cookies at a baby shower. —Jenny Sampson, Layton, Utah
Hot days call for cool foods, like this refreshing soup. Both filling and flavorful, it uses the best of summer’s bounty. Seasonings can be adjusted to your tastes.—Mary Marlowe Leverette, Columbia, South Carolina
Meet the Cook: I started making my chili back when we lived near a huge farmers' market that sold all sorts of vegetables. Be as creative as you like with ingredients.
My husband loves chili, and this is a nice change from the traditional type. I've always enjoyed cooking - I grew up in a family with five girls. These days, I can count on our own youngsters (they're 4 and 2) to help me out!
-Judy Sloter, Charles City, Iowa
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.
Chock-full of choice veggies and savory sausage, this filling soup from Diane Antonioli of Marmora, New Jersey will fit nicely into almost any event. "It's a big hit at our house," Diane acknowledges. "My husband and our three children request it all year-round."—Diane Antonioli, Marmora, New Jersey