Hodge Podge Souper Sunday

It's a perfect day for soup! So I pulled out my trust crockpot and made a hodge podge Chicken Vegetable soup with leftover veggies and chicken, and some barley for good measure.

Barley's been feeding humans for millennia, though it fell out of favor during the last one as people came to see it as low-brow peasant fare. It's most often used in soups and stews, where it serves as both a puffy grain and a thickener, but it also makes a nice side dish or salad. At most stores, there are two types of barley available. Hulled barley is the most nutritious, since only the tough outer hulls are polished off. Pearl barley is polished some more, so that the outer bran layer is also scrubbed off... but it's less nutritious and more popular since it's not as chewy as hulled barley and it cooks faster. For my soup, I chose to use the pearl barley.

Here is my recipe for Chicken Vegetable Barley Soup:

1 cup frozen, cooked and drained spinach
1 zucchini, diced
1 cup of carrots, diced
1 cup of mushooms, sliced
2 cups frozen or canned corn
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 small onion, diced
2 cups of crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon black pepper
8 cups water or chicken stock/broth
2 chicken buillon cubes - omit if using stock/broth
3/4 dried barley
1 cup shredded cooked chicken
1 cup chicken sausage, diced

- Combine all ingredients in crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6 hours.

I served this with crusty french bread & a fresh green salad. Yum.. filling and good for you!

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