Beef N Barley Soup

Am I the only one who thinks it’s crazy that cans of soup are $2.50?! I mean relatively speaking, as a meal, this isn’t that expensive, but you can make a whole pot with a bazillion servings for around $5.00! And it tastes better. And fresher. Not tinny. With way more substance. Way less broth…

I don’t mean to digress. I actually ended up making this soup because I found quick cooking barley in my pantry randomly. What a strange thing to find in a pantry… but not really in my pantry. I get into all sorts of things and want to try everything, plus I’m an organizational disaster. So there’s no telling what’s in there. I just make sure my husband sees the chips first and he then he usually won’t look any further :). Maybe for salsa. But that’s behind the chips, so I’m ok.
1/2 # lean ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
6 cups water
1 (14.5 oz) can fire roasted tomatoes
1 cup quick cook barley (I need to try this with regular Barley next… it’s somewhere in my pantry, I’m sure)
*3 stalks celery, peeled and sliced
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 packets no sodium beef boullion
1 bay leaf
1 (9oz) pkg. mixed veggies
*It may seem really weird to peel your celery, but it tastes WAY better. It’s not as tough or rough on the palate.
First Brown your meat:
Then Add your onion:
While that’s cooking, peel your veggies
 Then cut your veggies. 
When meat is done, drain it and add all your remaining ingredients, except the frozen veggies:

Cover and bring this to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the frozen veggies and cook 10 more minutes or until veggies are done!
Voila! Tons of soup! I freeze what I can’t eat so I have it for later. It tastes fresher than the canned stuff.
I always add a little garlic salt on top before I eat this soup. SO good. I know you’re supposed to season as you go, and I do, but with soups I get afraid that I will too carried away (tends to happen with me) and over season. So I try to use the low/no sodium stuff and salt to taste at the end. 

This was such a nice, warm, cozy meal to have on these cold and rainy Washington days 🙂

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