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 🙂

Crock Pot Chicken Soup

I think I am falling in love with my crock pot all over again! I cooked a whole chicken in there the other day with some potatoes and onions and it was amazing, and so simple. We couldn’t finish an entire chicken in one dinner and I didn’t really want to throw the leftovers in the fridge because I knew the remaining broth, potato, onion and bone remnants would congeal and it wouldn’t be to appealing the next day.

I had just done some reading on the benefits of leeks (and as a result, obviously bought some) and decided to channel my inner Bridget Jones and make some soup. There was no blue to be found on the leek, so felt safe in so far as my soup turning blue went ;). So this is my left over crock pot chicken leek soup:


1 leek, green husks removed, cut in half and washed
4 large carrots, peeled and diced into discs
4 stalks celery, diced
Chicken meat from 1 breast and 1 thigh (leftover from crock pot, roughly 1/2 a young chicken
Left over liquid from crock pot chicken for stock
garlic salt thyme, rosemary, oregano and parsley to taste
1/2 package rice noodles
Before you get started, here is a quick little video I used for preparing leeks, since I had never done it before! I just you tubed and liked this one because she gives you suggestions on what to do with leftovers and other ideas to use leeks for :).
Thinly slice leeks and saute on the bottom of stock pot in a little olive oil and garlic salt. Add carrots and celery. Sweat these vegetables for about 5 minutes. Add your cooked or left over chicken. Add spices to taste and your left over liquid from the crock pot chicken or about 2 cups chicken stock and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes to an hour (or longer, ie until your next meal!) to let all the flavors combine. Right before serving, bring soup to a boil and add your rice noodles. They will finish cooking in about 2 minutes, so you can reduce to a simmer and serve! I recommend serving this soup with a little avocado on top, it’s delicious!

Delicious… and not blue!