Crock Pot Meals – Minestrone Soup and Beef-Barley Stew

My crock pot got quite the workout this weekend (which is more than I can say for myself – unless mall-stomping and veggie-chopping count as workouts!). I tried out two new slow cooker recipes this weekend.

Hearty Minestrone Soup 

Based on THIS recipe from Taste of Home.

This recipe was a total winner! And so easy – throw the following into the crock pot and let it heat on low for around 6 hours:

  • Canned diced tomatoes + water
  • Veggies: carrots, onion, celery
  • PEPPERONI!
  • Seasonings: garlic, dried basil and oregano, sodium-free chicken bouillon granules 

After 6 hours or so, stir in:

  • Cooked pasta
  • Frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • Kidney beans, canned, rinsed and drained

..And let it heat for another 15 minutes or so until serving. So wonderful, flavorful, and filling. This is exactly the kind of meal I want at the end of a chilly Autumn day.

My rating: 9.5/10

Beef Barley Stew

Based on THIS recipe from Taste of Home.

 This Beef and Barley Stew was tasty, but did not quite live up to yesterday’s Minestrone Soup. This slow cooker recipe was even easier than yesterday’s! Simply place the following in your crock pot on low for 4-5 hours:

  • Beef Stew Meat
  • Veggies: chopped onion, carrot, celery
  • Tomato sauce + water
  • Seasonings: Oregano, Paprika, S&P

During the final two hours, stir in 3/4 cup pearl barley and thawed frozen corn, and then during the last few minutes stir in frozen, thawed peas. Wham-bam! This meal was hearty and filling, but was lacking in the flavor department – a little on the bland side, in need of much salt. The meat was tender and easy fell apart when pierced with a fork. Delish.

My rating: 6.5/10, a solid recipe, but a tad bland.

Question of the Day: What is your favorite crock pot recipe?

Want to hear a mildly-amusing Fail Tale? Well. This week I planned on making a recipe which would use 1/3 cup red wine. Last night we opened that wine, and totally forgot to reserve 1/3 cup of the wine and now it is gone – fail!

♪♫ Currently listening to: Losing My Religion – R.E.M.

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5 thoughts on “Crock Pot Meals – Minestrone Soup and Beef-Barley Stew

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