Once a year, Sandy Mafera's women's club gathers for its annual cooking school. The Auburn, Indiana, group comes armed with recipes that fit that year's theme. This was a winner the year their theme was "Elegant and Easy Comfort Food Goes Uptown." The rich and spicy soup is loaded with vegetables and ricelike orzo pasta, plus browned Italian sausage that punches up the flavor.
Diane Nemitz of Ludington, Michigan, kept cooking with the native American "three sisters"---corn, beans and squash---until she created this satisfying soup. "I've been experimenting with corn chowders for a while," she notes. "This is the one my husband liked best. Roasting the corn kernels makes the difference."
Karen Scott from Park Forest, Illinois, fell in love with this spiced specialty when her daughter, Sandy Rutkowski, served her a bowl. "I thought it was out of this world," Karen says. Curry powder and fresh ginger give otherwise bland lentils a spicy base in this meatless main dish.
For retired home economics teacher Pollie Malone of Ames, Iowa, Saturdays used to be family time, ending with a meal of hearty soup. "Today, my grown children make this soup and serve it to their children," she says. "What great memories of cold Iowa nights enjoying a memory meal!"
Resolve the dinnertime decision with this quick-and-easy fix. When her crockery cooker simmers all day with this irresistible soup, Vicki Johnson of Hallsville, Missouri, thinks fondly of her late aunt.
What do you feed a finicky eater? Food Editor Diana McMillen puts friends and family in charge of their meal destiny. Each person gets a bowl of meatballs in broth, and chooses from assorted toppers to finish their soup just the way they like it.
Wayne M. Holub of Mokena, Illinois, makes homemade soup every week. One day he combined the ingredients he liked in Asian dishes and came up with this soup. You can taste all of these ingredients without one overpowering the others.