Kitchen Wit & Wisdom: Ladle up a bowl of soup

Winter Carnival offers so many ways to lift the winter doldrums, however it requires taking the initiative to check out the available activities, and then to get off one’s butt and either purchase the necessary tickets, or head out to the numerous free events.

For instance, take a drive up to our beautiful Silver Star and spend some time enjoying the amazing snow sculptures. The talent displayed in these works of art is incredible!

Before heading up to the Star, how about putting a pot of soup into a crock-pot for later. A particular request this week was for a beef barley recipe that didn’t use tomatoes. And so today, Janice, I have two recipes for people sensitive to tomatoes. For the rest of us, feel free to add tomatoes to your liking in either recipe.

Beef Barley Soup

1 lb. beef top round steak, cut into 1/2-inch cubes*

1 tablespoon canola oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup chopped onion

3 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) beef broth

2 cups water

1/3 cup medium pearl barley

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 cup chopped carrots

1/2 cup chopped celery

3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

1 cup frozen peas

In a Dutch oven, brown beef, onion and garlic in oil; drain. Stir in broth, water, barley, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 1 hour. Add carrots, celery and parsley; cover and simmer 45 minutes.

*can substitute lean hamburger instead.

Note: To cook in crockpot, brown beef, onion and garlic then place in pot and add remaining ingredients; cook for 4-6 hours on high or 6-9 hrs. on low.

Quinoa Chicken Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup carrots, chopped,

1/2 cup celery, chopped

1/2 cup onions or scallions, chopped

2 cups water

3 cups chicken broth or stock

1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed

2 cups chicken, cooked and diced

1/4 cup parsley, chopped fine

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large saucepan, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat. Add carrots, celery, and onions or scallions to heated oil and fry for about 5 minutes or until vegetables just start to brown. Stir in water and chicken stock or broth and bring to a boil. Stir in quinoa, chicken, parsley, garlic powder, pepper and salt. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 20 minutes. Adjust seasoning if necessary and serve.

Note: Change this recipe up by adding chopped tomatoes and spinach or kale.

Cathi Litzenberger is The Morning Star's longtime food columnist, appearing every Wednesday and one Sunday per month.

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