6 Ingredient Beef Barley Slow Cooker Soup

 

 

 

Here’s a beef and barley soup that is simple to make and little work in the slow cooker!  It’s only six ingredients!  It’s delicious and very easy to throw together in the morning and have dinner steamy and tasty by evening.

If your I.C. bladder is extremely sensitive, you can definitely make your own beef broth and use safe seasoning.  Maybe for you that might be onion flakes or powder, garlic powder, and parsley.  Edit the recipe to make it safe for you! 🙂

For the ground beef I usually use 85-90% lean.

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 3 (14 oz.) cans beef broth or homemade (approx. 6 cups of broth)
  • 3/4 cup quick-cooking barley
  • 3 cups sliced carrots
  • 2 cups sliced celery (chop up the celery leaves too!)
  • 2 tsp. beef seasoning

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In skillet, brown ground beef, drain and transfer to 5 quart slow cooker.
  2. Add beef broth, barley, carrots, celery, and beef seasoning.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours depending on your slow cooker’s past performance.  (For myself, it was 6 hours on low).

 

Simple Shepherd’s Pie

With all my medical woes, I need some backup frozen foods that are remotely healthy, have few ingredients, and are fast.  I tried a frozen shepherd’s pie meal by “Blake’s” frozen foods.  I was blown away that a dish so simple could be so tasty.  All it consisted of was ground beef, corn, spices, and a mashed potato topping.  Blake’s doesn’t use antibiotics, artificial colors or flavorings.  It’s simply good food.  It’s great in a pinch when I don’t feel well or the day is going too fast.

View Blake’s frozen offerings here!

As great as their meals are, I’m a cook at heart.  I want to make it myself.  I also want to avoid too much sodium in my food and even the best frozen meals are chock full of sodium.  So, I had to find an I.C. bladder safe recipe for this shepherd’s pie.  Also, I didn’t want to use lamb and I wanted it only to have a few ingredients.  I’m a tough customer!

To make it I.C. safe I had to be safe by removing the Worcestershire sauce.  I replaced it with parsley and garlic powder.  It tasted just great!

I found this recipe on Simplyrecipes.com.  Wow.  It’s a keeper and it tastes like more than a sum of its ingredients.

This isn’t the time to skimp on the butter!!

I used 85% lean ground beef.  I did a mixture of frozen corn and peas.

I made 1 cup of beef broth and used a 1/2 cup initially, and added more as I needed it, to keep the pan from drying out.

 

INGREDIENTS:

 

  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds potatoes (about 3 large potatoes), peeled and quartered
  • 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1-2 cups vegetables—diced carrots, corn, peas
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground round beef
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt, pepper, other seasonings of choice

 

DIRECTIONS:

1 Boil the potatoes: Place the peeled and quartered potatoes in medium sized pot. Cover with at least an inch of cold water. Add a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until tender (about 20 minutes.

2 Sauté vegetables: While the potatoes are cooking, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook until tender, about 6 to 10 minutes.

If you are including vegetables, add them according to their cooking time. Carrots should be cooked with the onions, because they take as long to cook as the onions do.

If you are including peas or corn, add them toward the end of the cooking of the onions, or after the meat starts to cook, as they take very little cooking time.

3 Add the ground beef, then Worcestershire sauce and broth: Add ground beef to the pan with the onions and vegetables. Cook until no longer pink. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the Worcestershire sauce and beef broth. Bring the broth to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes, adding more beef broth if necessary to keep the meat from drying out.

 

4 Mash the cooked potatoes: When the potatoes are done cooking (a fork can easily pierce), remove them from the pot and place them in a bowl with the remaining 4 Tbsp of butter. Mash with a fork or potato masher, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

5 Layer the meat mixture and mashed potatoes in a casserole dish: Preheat oven to 400°F. Spread the beef, onions, and vegetables (if using) in an even layer in a large baking dish (8×13 casserole).

 

Spread the mashed potatoes over the top of the ground beef. Rough up the surface of the mashed potatoes with a fork so there are peaks that will get well browned. You can even use a fork to make creative designs in the mashed potatoes.

6 Bake in oven: Place in a 400°F oven and cook until browned and bubbling, about 30 minutes. If necessary, broil for the last few minutes to help the surface of the mashed potatoes brown.

 

Optional / Suggested variations:

Put a layer of creamed corn between the ground beef and the mashed potatoes.

Sprinkle grated cheddar cheese over the top of the mashed potatoes before baking.

Read more: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/easy_shepherds_pie/#ixzz4gXMKyCuY

 

Read more: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/easy_shepherds_pie/#ixzz4gXMDsS28

 

 

Grilled Chicken Parmesan Sandwiches

This recipe was DELICIOUS.  The flavor comes from the cheese and oiled & toasted bread, but mainly from the roasted tomatoes with garlic slivers. It’s divine.  I will definitely make this every few weeks!  Superb!  It cooks up quickly too.
Serves 4.

*This is I.C. safe for me because it uses a small amount of raw tomatoes, not canned, and I omitted red pepper flakes.  It may not be I.C. safe for you.  Adjust if desired.

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 plum tomatoes (make sure they are more on the ripe side)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • Coarse salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 4 split hero rolls (large enough for a filleted chicken breast)
  • 4 chicken cutlets (or filleted boneless skinless chicken breasts like I used)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 oz. thinly sliced mozzarella

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Core and halve the plum tomatoes. Slip some thinly sliced garlic into each half.
  2. Gently toss tomatoes with olive oil, red pepper flakes, oregano, and salt and pepper until well coated.
  3. Brush the split hero rolls with olive oil.  Separately grill rolls until toasted, and tomatoes until tender.
  4. Season 4 chicken cutlets as desired and grill one side, flip, then top with grated Parmesan and mozzarella.
  5. Grill until chicken is cooked through and cheese is melted.
  6. Make sandwiches with rolls, chicken, and tomatoes as pictured.

Jacques Pépin Criques – Potato Pancakes via the Food Processor!

  

This was a superb Jacques Pepin recipe!  I saw him demonstrate this recipe on More Fast Food My Way on TV.  It’s really simple thanks to the food processor and was fun to make.  I highly suggest using a fish turner like he uses.  Make sure you place the finished pancakes on a raised rack so they do not sit directly on a plate or paper towels and get soggy!  Enjoy!

This makes about 12 potato pancakes!

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups potatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup diced white or yellow onion
  • 2 cloves crushes garlic
  • 2 T. potato starch
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • few pinches of salt
  • scallion/chives/or green onion
  • Vegetable oil

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Begin by peeling your potatoes, rinse any dirt off with water.  Place them in a bowl with water to cover.
  2. Once all your potatoes are peeled and in water, take one out to chop it and put the chopped potatoes directly in your food processor.  Do NOT rinse the chopped potatoes at this point; you will rinse all the starch away.
  3. Once all the potatoes are chopped and into your food processor, add the 2 eggs, chopped onion, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, potato starch, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Puree until you get an applesauce texture.
  5. Pour batter into a fresh bowl, add chopped green onions.
  6. Heat your oil in your skillet.
  7. Pour about 1/4 cup of the batter into the hot oil, you should be able to get 4 potato pancakes into a 12″ skillet.  It will take about 3 batches.  Flip pancake to cook the other side when you sneak a peek and the bottom is browned. Add more oil as needed and adjust temperature as needed for proper browning, not burning.  
  8. When you remove the cooked pancake, place it on a raised cooling rack.  You do not want to put it directly on paper towels or a plate, it will get soggy!
  9. Serve with sour cream, ketchup, or eat plain.  YUM!

 

“Huck Finn Clone” Chicken Cesar Pita

I’m obsessed with a Huck Finn Donut’s dish called “Chicken Ceasar Pita”.  I’ve spent too much money buying it in the restaurant over and over again.  One of my friends loves it too.  I don’t need the fries or the fruit cup, so it’s not the best deal in the restaurant to order this dish AND it’s kind of simple, so why not make it at home?  It came out shockingly close to the restaurant meal!

I can’t have Caesar dressing as it has lemon in it, so I just used Ken’s Italian with Romano dressing.

The following ingredients are for 2 servings.  
INGREDIENTS:

  • About 1 large boneless skinless chicken breast,  (Make sure it’s filleted so it cooks evenly and quickly)
  • (Pepper, coarse salt, onion powder, garlic powder)
  • Vegetable oil
  • 2 Kronos pitas (not pita pockets)
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Chopped tomato
  • Caesar salad dressing, or Italian dressing
  • 2-3 thick slices of Swiss cheese

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Begin by heating pan with vegetable oil, on medium heat.
  2. Fillet your boneless skinless chicken breast if necessary.  Pat dry.
  3. Season the chicken on both sides with pepper, coarse salt, onion powder, and garlic powder.
  4. Once the oil in pan is heated, add chicken breasts, flip after chicken is browned on one side, and cook thoroughly until at least 165* F.
  5. Remove to a clean plate and let chicken rest 5-10 minutes.
  6. While the chicken is resting, add your 2 pitas to the pan that has residual oil and heat.  Remove pitas to clean plates ready to serve.
  7. Chop chicken into bite-sized pieces.  Add back to pan and cover with desired amount of Swiss cheese slices.  Let cheese melt 2-3 minutes onto chicken.
  8. Add cheese-covered chicken to top of warmed pitas.
  9. Place chopped tomato and shredded lettuce on top of chicken pita.
  10. Drizzle Caesar or Italian dressing to top of veggie-covered chicken pita.
  11. Serve warm.

 

Spinach and Ricotta-Stuffed Shells

This is really good.  It smells like an Italian restaurant.  If you need to reduce the calories or fat, just substitute part skim ricotta instead of whole fat ricotta.  It’s creamy and wonderful.  Don’t skip the broiler step as it slightly chars the shredded mozzarella topping and gives it a great flavor!  Next time, I’d chop some fresh parsley on top.  

INGREDIENTS:

  • 20 jumbo pasta shells (about half a 12-ounce box)
  • One  24-ounce jar marinara sauce
  • Two  15-ounce containers ricotta
  • 2 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (2 ounces)
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella (4 ounces)

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Set an oven rack to the highest position and heat oven to 400° F.
  2. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and run under cold water to cool.
  3. Spread the marinara sauce in the bottom of a large broiler-proof baking dish.
  4. In a bowl, combine the ricotta, spinach, Parmesan, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the shells and place them on top of the sauce.
  6. Sprinkle the shells with the mozzarella and bake until heated through, 10 to 12 minutes.
  7. Increase heat to broil. Broil the shells until cheese begins to brown, 2 to 5 minutes.
  8. Serve with the salad, if desired.

NOTE: If you want to sneak in an extra helping of green vegetables into this dish, chop up cooked green beans, broccoli, or asparagus and fold it into the ricotta mixture along with the spinach.  

Food.com’s Honey BBQ Chicken Wings

 

I will never lose this recipe.  It makes perfect honey BBQ chicken wings.  They are to die for.  It’s a perfect sauce and just enough sweet and savory flavors.  I won’t try another chicken wing recipe!  Just make them and you’ll see for  yourself! 🙂

For anyone sensitive to spicy foods or who has an I.C. bladder like me, I omitted the cayenne and hot sauce and it turned out just perfect!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 18 chicken wings, that have tips discarded, and have been split into two parts: the drumette and the wingette.
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1teaspoon sugar
  • 1teaspoon paprika
  • 1teaspoon black pepper
  • 1teaspoon cayenne
  • cooking spray

    SAUCE INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup barbecue sauce, preferably Hickory Smoke Flavor
  • 1cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1teaspoon garlic powder

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. Season the wings with the salt, garlic, pepper, cayenne, sugar, and paprika.
  3. Spray a cookie sheet with a generous spray of cooking spray.
  4. Place the wings in a single layer on the cookie sheet, and place in the oven.
  5. Cook for 35-40 minutes, depending on the size of the wings, turning once.
  6. While they are baking, make the sauce by slowly simmering the sauce ingredients over the lowest heat.
  7. When the wings are done baking, carefully dip them in the sauce, and place them back in the oven for another 5 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling.
  8. ENJOY!

 

Tzatziki Sauce

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A perfect sauce to accent your gyros, chicken in a pita, and more.  Or you can use it as a dip for veggies.  Just make sure you use whole fat yogurt.  Next time I’ll be sure to use Greek – or it gets a little watery as time goes on.  But it was excellent!  I frozen the remainder.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup Greek whole milk yogurt
  • 1 English cucumber, seeded, finely grated and very drained 
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest, plus 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh dill
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. (Hand mixing is preferred as a blender can lead to too wet of a concoction).
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt, cucumber, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice and dill.  Season with salt and pepper.  Chill.

Tip: For extra flavor, add some olive oil and some coarsely chopped fresh mint.

 

Chicken and Spinach Pasta Casserole

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My close friend, Cris, gave me this exceptional, savory, and yummy recipe.  The textures and flavors melt together so well.  It’s one of our favorites – and I’m not an extreme fan of casseroles, but this one is top notch.  One of the keys is getting the spinach quite dry.  I’m pretty confident you and your family will love this recipe.  It works well with plain cream cheese (even Neuchatel) or the flavored chive & onion variety.  Enjoy!

**A can of Hunt’s basil, garlic, and oregano diced tomatoes work very well here.  

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 oz. uncooked rigatoni (use whole wheat, if you wish)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion (or use onion powder like I do)
  • 1 (10 oz.) pack frozen spinach, thawed
  • 3 cups cubed, cooked chicken breasts
  • 1 (14 oz.) can Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained**
  • 1 (8 oz.) container Philadelphia chive & onion cream cheese (or use plain or Neuchatel).
  • 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Prepare rigatoni according to package directions.
  2. Spread oil on bottom of 11×7″ baking dish.  I used a 9×13″ pan; I like a roomy dish.
  3. Add onion in a single layer.  Bake at 375 F for 15 minutes or just until tender.  Transfer onion to large bowl, set aside.
  4. Drain chopped spinach well, pressing between towels.
  5. Stir in rigatoni, spinach, chicken, and next four ingredients into onion in bowl – OR add your onion powder here.
  6. Spoon mixture into dish and sprinkle evenly with shredded mozzarella cheese.
  7. Bake covered at 375 F for 30 minutes.
  8. Uncover and bake 15 minutes more or until bubbly.

 

Decadent-Tasting, Light Fettuccine Alfredo

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This is a killer recipe for Fettuccine Alfredo!  I found it via a Cooking Light recipe.  It’s on the lighter side.  As we all know, Fettuccine Alfredo is really mouth-watering but can be a full day’s worth of calories if you’re not concerned about portion control or ingredients.  This was a wonderful balance of creaminess and fat content versus calories.  We will make this regularly!
Don’t substitute the official Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese!  It’s expensive but makes the dish!

Note: Best eaten that day as the pasta sucks up the sauce within hours.  

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tablespoon butter (next time I will use 1.5-2 T.; it needed a little more butter).
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cups 2% milk
  • 1 1/4 cups (5 oz.) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
  • 2 tablespoons 1/3-less-fat Neufchatel cream cheese – (I used 3 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 cups hot cooked fettuccine (8 oz. uncooked pasta)
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  3. Stir in flour.
  4. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk.
  5. Cook 6 minutes or until mixture thickens, stirring constantly.
  6. Add 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, cream cheese, and salt, stirring with a whisk until cheeses melt.
  7. Toss sauce with hot pasta.
  8. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and chopped parsley.
  9. Garnish with black pepper, if desired. Serve immediately.