When the weather outside is frightful, there is nothing more delightful than homemade soup.

January is National Soup Month, and there is no better time than now to enjoy a hearty bowl of soup. It's the perfect accompaniment to a long, cold winter's evening.

If you are looking for a good excuse to throw a party this month, host a "Soup Sampler." This idea, courtesy of Swanson, is fun and affordable.

Invite your friends and ask each guest to bring their favorite soup, containers for leftovers and copies of their recipe. Serve the soups in cups, ramekins or even shot glasses to create a flavorful sampler.

Provide a simple salad, some rustic bread and a dessert to round out the meal.

Need some recipes to inspire you? Here are a few, courtesy of Swanson.

Roasted Chicken with Caramelized Onions Soup

Makes: 6 servings

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

2 medium onions, cut in half and thinly sliced (about 1 cup)

8 cups Swanson Chicken Broth (Regular, Natural GoodnessTM or Certified Organic)

teaspoon ground black pepper

2 medium carrots, sliced (about 1 cup)

2 stalks celery, sliced (about 1 cup)

cup uncooked trumpet-shaped pasta (campanelle)

2 cups roasted chicken cut into strips

1. Heat oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until they begin to brown, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium. Cook until onions are tender and caramelized, stirring occasionally. Remove skillet from heat.

2. Heat broth, black pepper, carrots and celery in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat to a boil. Stir pasta and chicken in saucepan. Reduce heat to medium. Cook for 10 minutes or until pasta is tender. Stir in onions and serve immediately.

Roasted Vegetable Soup with Garlic Herb Drizzle

Makes: 8 servings

1 small bulb garlic

7 tablespoons olive oil

2 large potatoes, cut into cubes (about 3 cups)

1 small bulb fennel, cut into cubes (about 2 cups)

2 medium carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)

1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

6 cups Swanson Vegetable Broth (Regular or Certified Organic)

cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves and/or parsley leaves

1. Heat oven to 425°F. Cut top off garlic bulb. Place onto piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and wrap. Arrange potatoes, fennel, carrot and onion in a 17-inch by 11-inch roasting pan. Pour 2 tablespoons oil over vegetables and toss to coat. Bake vegetables and wrapped garlic for 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender and garlic is soft.

2. Place 1 cup broth and the vegetable mixture into a blender. Cover and blend until mixture is coarsely puréed. Pour mixture into a 3-quart saucepan.

3. Stir remaining broth in saucepan and heat over medium-high heat to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cook for 5 minutes or until mixture is hot and bubbling.

4. Peel garlic and place it in small bowl. Smash with a fork. Stir in basil and remaining oil.

5. Divide soup among 8 serving bowls. Top each with about 1 tablespoon garlic herb mixture.

Savory Vegetable Beef Soup

Makes: 6 servings (1 1/2 cups each)

1 cups Swanson Beef Broth (Regular, Lower Sodium or Certified Organic)

2 medium potatoes, cut into cubes

1 cup cubed cooked beef

3 cups V8 100% Vegetable Juice

1 can (about 8 ounces) whole peeled tomato, cut up

1 bag (16 ounces) frozen mixed vegetables

teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed

teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Place broth and potatoes in a 4-quart saucepan and heat to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

2. Stir beef, vegetable juice, tomatoes, vegetables, thyme and black pepper in saucepan. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Twice-BakedPotato Soup

Makes: 8 servings

6 large potatoes

2 tablespoons butter

1 small sweet onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)

5 cups Swanson Chicken Broth (Regular, Natural GoodnessTM or Certified

Organic)

cup light cream

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

Toppers

1. Heat oven to 425°F. Prick potatoes with a fork. Bake for 30 minutes or until tender. Remove potatoes to a bowl and cover bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes. Remove skin from potatoes and mash pulp.

2. Heat butter in a 3-quart saucepan. Add onion and cook until tender. Stir in broth and 5 cups potato pulp.

3. Place of broth mixture into a blender or food processor. Cover and blend until smooth. Pour mixture into a medium bowl. Repeat the blending process twice more with remaining broth mixture. Return all of puréed mixture to the saucepan. Stir in the cream and chives and cook for 5 minutes or until mixture is hot. Season as desired.

4. Spoon cup remaining potato pulp into each of 8 serving bowls. Divide broth mixture among the bowls. Serve with one or more Assorted Toppers.

Assorted Toppers: Cooked crumbled bacon, shredded Cheddar cheese and/or sour cream.Time-Saving Tip: Microwave potatoes on HIGH for 10 to 12 minutes or until fork-tender.