The weekend countdown is on, and when you’re planning your next 48 hours, you should definitely plan to make a new soup!
You don’t have to plan much time for this one; while some soups are quite a process, this recipe (via myrecipes.com ) takes less than 25 minutes. How is that possible? Pureed frozen veggies along with quick-cook barley!
Barley has a chewy, pasta-like texture that is great in soup. It’s also whole grain and high in fiber. I used Quaker Quick Barley. The only ingredient is barley and one-third of a cup has five grams of protein and five grams of fiber! I found them next to the rice at Meijer, which is the large grocery store in Michigan.
Six ounces turkey or chicken sausage (Breakfast sausage works; I used Trader Joe’s garlic chicken sausage, my favorite
2 1/2 cups frozen bell pepper stir-fry (Oddly enough, I couldn’t find these, so I just used fresh)
2 cups water
1 can Italian-style stewed tomatoes, undrained and chopped
1/4 cup uncooked quick-cooking barley
3 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach
Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray. Add sausage; cook for 3 minutes or until browned. Remove from heat.
While sausage cooks, place peppers and 2 cups water in a blender; process until smooth.
Add stir-fry puree, tomatoes, and barley to sausage in pan. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat; cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the spinach. Spinach is too delicate to cook for very long, so adding it at the last minute is perfect!
Cook for 1 minute, until the spinach is wilted.
I also decided to take the extra time to make my favorite beer bread. This time I used white flour and Bud Light, and I mixed it up a little by baking the bread in a muffin pan! This cuts the cooking time considerably. Use the original recipe, but then bake in a sprayed, unlined pan at 350 degrees for 13-15 minutes.
I timed it so the soup and bread were done at just about the same time!
This is a ridiculously easy weeknight dinner! At the last second, I made a quick salad, but there is a good amount of healthy veggies in the soup alone. It was so nice and warm and the tomatoes make the soup thicker than most vegetable soups. Plus the sausage adds a good amount of salty flavor. A 1.5 cup serving has 145 calories, 4 grams fat (1.5 saturated), 10 grams protein, 18 g carbs, and 2.6 g fiber, which is quite light. Good thing, because it left room for the beer bread. Honestly, I probably could have finished that entire pan on my own!