Everyday Mom's Meals: Winter Woes

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Winter Woes

So...anyone besides me totally and utterly sick of winter?! Thought so. Between the mounds of snow and the arctic cold temps. I. Am. Done. I'm not one to usually wish time away. I like to enjoy every day. Live each minute. But at this point, winter can leave, we can skip over spring and head right into summer as far as I'm concerned.  And I know those of you up in the Boston/New England area have to be ready to "tap out" at this point, so it's not just me.

One of the few ways I can even attempt to ease my pain during these brutally cold months is to find as many ways to make soup as I can. Old tried and true recipes. Twists on classics. New ones I find. I use them all to warm us up, comfort our souls and feed us a meal that makes us feel better at the end of the a long, cold day.

How about a new one made in your slow cooker? Filled with veggies and more veggies? Yeah, I have your attention now. This would be so easily adaptable with veggies you already have on hand, or find on sale in the produce aisle, or just ones that are your favorites. Plus, even though I used beef bullion and broth for extra flavor, you could easily substitute vegetable stock instead, making it a completely meat free meal, perfect for Lent. I know many of you are always looking for more recipes for Fridays this time of year.

If you are ready to say goodbye to Old Man Winter as much as I am, this new soup is the best way to make yourself feel better about warmer weather still being too many weeks away. Feed your family and thaw them out at the same time!

Slow Cooker Veggie Barley Soup
Adapted from Taste of Home
2 small potatoes, peeled and diced
1 1/2 c. frozen corn
1 1/2 c. frozen green beans
1 c. finely diced carrots
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1/2 c. frozen chopped onion
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 (32 oz.) box beef broth
2 1/2 c. water
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 dried bay leaf
1 (14.5 oz.) can Italian diced tomatoes, undrained
1 c. quick cooking barley, cooked according to box directions
Salt and Pepper to taste
Dried Parsley for garnish

Combine all ingredients except barley in slow cooker. Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours until veggies tender. In the last 30 minutes, cook barley separately on stove top. When done, stir into soup. Garnish with parsley if desired. *NOTE* You can also use medium pearl barley, and cook with rest of soup. If you choose to, only add tomatoes in the last 10 minutes of cooking. The acid in them will not allow the barley to cook correctly. I prefer to cook it separately to avoid any mushy texture.

Disclaimer: As a Field Editor for Taste of Home, I share my opinions of this recipe as a volunteer, not a paid employee. 

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