Welcome to Sweet and Savory Saturday! What do you get when you add a pinch of friendship to a dash of family and a fistful of love? One fine bowl of Chicken Barley Soup! Today’s featured recipe comes from a compilation of cooking tips and secrets from various friends and extended family members. The substitution of barley for pasta noodles increases the fiber content of this soup. And, using a store-bought, pre-cooked rotisserie chicken cuts down on cooking time, provides tender pieces of chicken, and adds a rich flavor to the stock. Serve this soup along with homemade seasoned whole-grain croutons as a healthy alternative to starchy crackers.
Chicken Barley Soup
4 cups fat-skimmed chicken broth
1 cup carrots, sliced
1 cup peas
3/4 cup celery, chopped
2 leeks, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 1/2 TBS trans fat-free margarine
1 store-bought, pre-cooked rotisserie chicken (about 3 lbs)
1/3 cup pearl barley
salt and pepper to taste (optional)
Put broth, barley, and bay leaf in a heavy sauce pan. Cover and simmer until barley is tender (about an hour). On medium-low heat melt margarine and sautee garlic. Remove garlic-butter mixture from heat and set aside. Remove skin from rotisserie chicken. Then, pull chicken meat from bone into bite-sized pieces. Once barley is tender, add chicken and carrots. Continue to simmer for 20 minutes. Then, add remaining ingredients and cook for another 20-30 minutes. Serve with homemade seasoned whole-grain croutons (recipe below).
Homemade Seasoned Whole-Grain Croutons: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray. Cut day-old loaf of whole-grain bread into cubes. Place bread cubes on cookiesheet and spray bread with cooking spray. Sprinkle favorite seasoning blend onto bread pieces. Top with a light sprinkling of shredded parmesan or mozzarella cheese. Cook in oven for 5-8 minutes or until bread cubes are golden brown.