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My parents, native Virginians, raised my siblings and me in Tennessee. Every summer we’d pile in the van and make the 12-hour haul to our family lakehouse in Virginia and up to my grandparents’ home on the Chesapeake Bay. It was during these trips that we would all get our fill of fresh seafood for the year. Crab still tastes like endless afternoons of Scrabble on the back porch and running through prickly grass down to the dock. Now a resident of Alabama, when I find myself getting homesick I don’t turn to Tennessee. I go straight to summers on the water.

That being said, last week I was feeling super nostalgic for no particular reason and I knew I could only be sated by seafood. Rather than make a spontaneous drive in the middle of the work week I took to our new cookbook, Easy Meal Maker, in search of a hug in a bowl—the perfect soup. On the menu that night was Corn-and-Crab Chowder, Waldorf Spinach Salad, and "So Good" Brownies.

Corn-and-Crab Chowder

Corn-and-Crab Chowder

Nothing comforts like soup, and for me, nothing comforts like soup laden with crab and heavy cream. Don't toss this recipe if you don't like crab though. Substitute a pound of peeled cooked shrimp or chopped pre-cooked chicken for a tasty alternative. Also, fresh corn is 100% necessary. A little more time-consuming and labor-intensive but the flavor can't be beat.

Waldorf Spinach Salad

Waldorf Spinach Salad

And because I helped myself to more than one extra large helping of chowder, I'm thankful that this spin on a Waldorf salad nixed the mayo for a cinnamon-spiked vinaigrette. Tossed with sweet Gala apples and candied cashews, this recipe will be repeated in my kitchen over and over again.

The brownies went too quickly to photograph, and you couldn’t expect any less from a recipe titled So Good Brownies. I was in the mood for simple, classic treats, but the folks at the Southern Living test kitchen walk you through a list of tasty variations—like White Chocolate-Blueberry or Spicy Pecan Brownies—in the recipe instructions.

Tonight, be inspired by the food memories that helped define your childhood. From bread pudding to Mom's pot pie, our cookbook offers only the highest-rated recipes and menus to help bring tradition—both old and new—to your family table.

Follow along as we make the meals using the 150 top-rated recipes featured in our newest cookbook, Easy Meal Maker. Want to get in on the fun? Get your copy of Easy Meal Maker, available now, and tweet us @My_Recipes using #MealMaker.