Tag Archive | barley

Barley Beef Stew

Barley Beef Stew
Crockpot Sunday=Easy Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday!! I swear, a crockpot meal helps me get through the work week. Plus, as the cold New England weather rolls in, a piping hot, comforting stew sounds enticing, right? I think so. This stew smells great, tastes great, and is chalk-full of protein-filled lean red meat and nutritious vegetables. ( I adapted this from a Cooking Light recipe). Plus, the hardest part about making this meal is chopping the vegetables. In less than 40 minutes, everything was chopped and in the crock-pot…easy for a meal that will last me all week! This is a healthy comfort food at it’s finest. Enjoy!


1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 package mushrooms (whatever kind you prefer, I used white button mushrooms)Cooking spray
2 cups chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced ( I didn’t have any, so I used a tsp of garlic powder!)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ -2 pounds lean beef stew meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1 cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon thyme
2 (14-ounce) cans low-sodium beef broth
1 bay leaf
2 cups cubed peeled white potato (I used 1 cup white, 1 cup sweet potato)
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup barley

1) Spray cooking spray or heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, and sauté for 5 minutes or until mushrooms begin to brown. Add onion; sauté 10 minutes or until tender and golden brown. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Place in crock-pot. Re-spray pan with cooking spray, and sauté carrots. Add to crockpot.



diced carrots

2) Peel potatoes and then pierce potatoes and cook in microwave 3-5 minutes to soften. Cut into cubes, and place in crock-pot.

3) Place flour in a shallow bowl or plate. Dredge beef in flour, shaking off excess. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add beef mixture; sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt. Cook 6 minutes, browning on all sides. Add browned beef to crock-pot.

floured beef

browning beef!

4) Add wine, beef broth, thyme, bay leaf, and barley to crock-pot . Stir everything in the crockpot, cover, put heat on high, and cook for 5 to 6 hours or until beef is just tender.

the spice line-upBarley time

I am SO excited to eat this tomorrow night…and the next night, and the next!
What’s your favorite crock-pot meal?

cooking away in the crockpot!


Super Soup

Over the last few years, I’ve made quite a few soups. Chicken Noodle and Broccoli Parmesan are two of my favorites. However, while I love the warmth, textures, and flavors of soup, I dislike heavy, cream-laden soups, and one bowl of “healthy” canned soup never seems to quite fill me up. Plus, I always find it difficult to carve out over an hour of prep/cook time, and it’s quite rare that I’ll have all of the ingredients on hand for one particular soup. Hence the reason why I was very intrigued by Cooking Light’s hearty bean and barley soup recipe. Countless nights I’ve searched my cookbooks and consulted other blogs to find a light yet hearty soup, that‘s simple to prepare and comes together quickly. Many weeknights, I just don’t have the energy to slave away in the kitchen! When I saw this recipe, I knew I could recreate it in no time. Plus, it was easy to follow and didn’t take more than 30 minutes from start to finish. Since this soup consists mostly of staple ingredients, I had most everything right in my cupboard…I bet you do too…take a peek!

Bean and Barley Soup



7 cups fat free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
6 garlic cloves, crushed
1 (19-ounce) can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
½ can cannennelli beans— (this wasn’t in the original recipe, I just wanted extra beans!)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped carrot
1/4 cup chopped celery—(I omitted this and subbed in parsnips instead!)
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained— (I used canned tomato sauce, I didn’t have diced on hand.)
1 cup uncooked quick-cooking barley
10 cup torn spinach leaves (about 4 ounces) —(I used frozen: de-thawed and dried it out!)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese



1) Bring first 3 ingredients to a boil in a Dutch oven; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 15 minutes. Drain through a sieve into a large bowl; discard solids. 

2)Measure 1 cup beans, and mash with a fork in a small bowl. Reserve the remaining whole beans.

3)Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Add onions, carrot, and parsnips; cook 4 minutes.

chopped veggies

cooking away


 4) Add broth mixture, mashed beans, whole beans, tomatoes (or tomato sauce), and barley; bring to a boil.

5) Reduce heat; simmer 15 minutes. Stir in spinach and black pepper; cook 5 minutes or until barley is tender. Sprinkle each serving with cheese.

All together now!

Simple, satisfying, and full of flavor, I loved it. Like I did, you can customize this soup to the ingredients you have on hand. Any type of beans and root vegetables would work. I enjoyed this soup with my lunch at work all last week, steaming hot with a side of Melba sea salt crackers for dipping. Enjoy!

a new favorite soup in my most favorite bowl!