Vegetable, beef and barley soup
3/4 cup quick barley
4 cups water
1/2 tablespoon beef base (or 2-3 beef bouillon cubes)
24 to 32 ounces low-sodium V-8 or tomato juice (or add 3-4 cups more water if you are out of tomato juice)
1 pound lean ground beef (or ground turkey)
3/4 to 1 cup chopped onions
1-2 clove garlic, minced (or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder)
1 pound package frozen mixed vegetables (corn, peas, carrots)
14 ounces canned diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon chili powder (2 tablespoons if using ground turkey)
1/2 cup chopped celery tops and leaves (optional, but a good addition)
In large soup pan (Dutch oven size) bring 4 cups water to boil and add barley. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile in large nonstick fry pan, brown ground beef, then drain well on paper towels. Sauté the chopped onions and garlic over medium heat in the ground beef pan, just until they start to turn translucent (don’t brown them).
Add the tomato juice, ground beef, sautéed onions and garlic, mixed vegetables, chili powder and celery tops to barley in Dutch oven. Simmer for 30 minutes (or at this point, you can add the ingredients, then put in the refrigerator for tomorrow – the frozen vegetables help cool the soup and the soup tastes better the second day, just like a lot of things). When reheating, add more water as needed to get the consistency you like (barley keeps soaking up liquid and makes the soup thick).
Serves 6 hungry people. Serve with grainy rolls and salad.
Nutrition information per serving: 338 calories, 24 grams protein, 8 grams fat, 41 grams carbohydrate, 10 grams fiber, 60 milligrams cholesterol, 527 milligrams sodium.
Cook’s notes: I usually double this recipe, but use a large stock pot.
This soup can feed a crowd, and it’s also perfect to give half away to a friend, or to someone recovering from surgery, or half can be frozen for a later meal. Also, if desired, add a can of drained black beans or another bean to the soup for more protein.