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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Crock Pot Chicken and Barley Vegetable Stew

I think I may have found a new second favorite blog!

My favorite blog is still Annie's Eats, possibly because she posts tons of really original cupcake recipes (most recently Samoa Cupcakes which I can't wait to try) and because I have yet to try a bread recipe from her blog that did not turn out amazing.

My new number two has to be Iowa Girl Eats.  I keep running across pins of her recipes on Pinterest.  I've tried a few of them.  She posted a version of Spicy Sausage Pasta Skillet and last month I tried her Sweet Corn and Bacon Skillet Mac and Cheese.  (All of the links are straight to her page rather than mine.)  In addition to her scrumptious looking recipes (and seriously, I need to take whatever photography course she took to get such amazing photos of her food) she has posts about travel, exercise, and most recently she added a section called family where she shares parenting advice and the most adorable photos of her sweet little newborn!

So a couple of weeks ago a cold spread through our family like wildfire.  I may have mentioned it once or twice since.  I guess it was this illness that spurred me to start searching for some soup recipes.  I turned to Pinterest and almost immediately I noticed a recent repin of mine that just happened to be from Iowa Girl Eats.  It includes a couple of ingredients that I rarely get to eat but are super healthy, and I figured the broth would help with this lingering scratchy throat.

Let me tell you, this recipe did not disappoint.  The flavor was exactly what I was hoping for and as an added bonus Bailey ate every single ingredient!  She started out with just the sweet potatoes and carrots, but quickly decided it was all tasty.  I couldn't tell you if it was the soup or the eucalyptus oil, but Bailey's cough has disappeared since I made the soup and my throat is no longer scratchy.

This soup is hearty, filling, and extremely healthy.  The kale is tender, the barley is chewy and satisfying, the sweet potato is unusually savory, and I didn't even notice that there were large slivers of onion in almost every bite.  If, like myself, you are looking forward to welcoming fall (whether the weather is cooperating or not) or if you've been feeling puny and sickly, take a few minutes to throw this soup together in the morning and by dinner time you'll be drooling over it.

Crock Pot Chicken and Barley Vegetable Stew

Source: Iowa Girl Eats

48 oz chicken broth (I used low sodium)
2 tsp Italian seasoning
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 chicken breasts (I put them in whole and shredded them when they were fully cooked)
3/4 cup barley (regular barley, not quick cooking barley)
1 onion, chopped
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 large regular potato, peeled and chopped
4 cups kale, rinsed and chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped

Combine all of the ingredients in your crock pot.  If you have a 6-8 quart like mine it will probably be very full.  Push the vegetables down to make sure the broth covers everything.  Turn the crock pot on low and cook for 5-6 hours.

Whenever the chicken is cooked through (or right before serving) remove the chicken breasts, shred the meat (or chop if you prefer), and stir it back into the stew.

Serve warm with crackers or bread.

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