There are few things I enjoy more than food, especially delicious food that takes minimal effort. The easiest way I can think of to get dinner on the table is using my trusty Crock Pot. If you don’t have one, you are seriously missing out on some stress-free meals, and you should get to your closest retailer, bite the bullet and buy one.
Now that my spiel on the wonders of a slow cooker are over, let me tell you about one of my favorite soups, Barley Beef Soup. This is a hearty and healthy dinner that no one can resist. It’s got large chunks of beef, barley and lots of veggies. It gives great leftovers that taste just as great the second time around. I hope you add a new family favorite with this recipe!
1-1.5lb boneless stew meat (the more the better!)
1/2 White Onion
2 Stalks of Celery
2- 32oz Cartons of Low Sodium Beef Broth
1 Can of Diced Tomatoes
1 Cup Frozen Mixed Veggies
2 Cloves of Garlic
2/3 Cup Barley (any kind will do)
1 Bay Leaf
1 TSP Oregano
1/4 TSP Ground Black Pepper
Begin by pouring vegetable oil in large skillet and browning the beef. I recommend a large, large one, so you don’t make the mistake I did, where no less than 3 pieces of meat were accidentally thrown onto my stove top while I was trying to flip them.
You can skip this step, but keep in mind there is literally a chemical reaction that takes place when browning the meat the gives your meat its flavor. Just saying.
You don’t want to completely cook the meat, just a light browning will do the trick. While your meat is cooking, chop your onion and celery. You only need about 1 cup of onion which is typically about half of a medium to large one.
Once your meat is done, drain the fat and add to slow cooker. What’s that plastic you see in the photo above? My friends, those are slow cooker liners and they are your best friend. They are a plastic bag that fits in your crock pot and that will contain the mess. When your dinner is done and cooled, lift the bag out, toss in the trash and do a light wipe down of your crock pot. DONE. If you’ve ever scrubbed a crock pot, you know how huge this is so go.buy.some.
Chop up your potatoes into large pieces (or small if you don’t like hunks like I do- no pun intended), and toss into the crock pot.
Pour in both cartons of beef broth (here’s a nice action shot for you, in case you don’t know what beef broth looks like whilst it’s being poured out of a container).
Now it’s time to mince your garlic, which I hate doing so I use a garlic press. Look at the amazingness:
Now add in your tomatoes and mixed veggies. Or, if you’re me and the cursory glance in the freezer made you think you had mixed veggies but really only had a peas and carrots mix you use for Shepherds Pie, then add the peas and carrots.
All that’s left is to add in your barley, bay leaf, oregano and black pepper!
Give it all a good stir, making sure the herbs are well mixed. Then put the lid on your crockpot, set to cook on Low for 8 hours and just walk away, my friends. NO PEEKING. Did you know you prolong the cooking process by lifting the lid even just a smidge? Don’t.Do.It.
When you come back, you will look upon the beauty that is Barley Beef Soup:
I hope you all enjoy, and happy crock potting!