Posts Tagged ‘ crock pot ’

Slow Cooked Barley Lentil Soup

I seem to be easily falling into a habit of using my new crock pot to prepare Monday night dinner.  I assemble most of it the night before, add a few last-minute items and plug it in right before leaving the house.  Sunday evening prep was simple because I was already chopping veggies for dinner, I just chopped some into a separate bowl.  I had the barley and lentils measured out in a bowl ready to add in just before cooking.  My only job on Monday morning was to scrub and dice the potato.  Does anyone know if it would have gone bad overnight with the broth while refrigerated?  I decided not to risk it.

A couple of people have asked about my new job.  This week is better than last.  It’s all starting to come together for me.  I was told that they have a term “Lightbulb Tuesday” which is apparently when most people have their “Aha” moment.   It was true for me.  Now I just have a couple of exams to pass Thursday and Friday.  Next Monday I go live.  I’m pretty excited about that!  I’m working with an incredible group of people who are intelligent and interesting to hang out with.  It’s all good.

Anyway, try the soup, it’s souper (haha) easy and makes a hearty fall meal.  I can easily see adding some other veggies or beans but really it doesn’t need it.  The spices really gave it a unique flavor but if you don’t have all of them just wing it and use something else that will provide a similar richness.

Vegan Persian Barley Soup in a Slow Cooker


1 cup of lentils (rinsed)

1 cup of pearled barley (rinsed)

1 medium onion, finely diced

1  large or 2 small potatoes, diced

1 cup sliced carrots

2 garlic cloves, grated or in small pieces

1 teaspoon  each turmeric, cumin, garam masala

6 cups vegetable stock (low sodium)

1+ cup water (I added more before serving because it was so thick)

8-12 oz can tomato sauce (or a can of petite diced tomatoes)

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh chopped herbs of choice for topping if desired


1. Combine all dry ingredients into a large slow cooker (mine is a 5 1/2 quart beast). Stir thoroughly.  I combined all ingredients except the lentils, potato and barley the night before and refrigerated, then put them in the pot just before cooking.

2. Cover and cook for a minimum of 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.  Check seasoning before serving and top with choice of herbs



Mac & Cheese

This one is a real crowd pleaser.  I actually got the recipe from a coworker who brought it to an office potluck.  I took the recipe, tweaked it and now it is the richest creamiest mac & cheese.

Personally, I am still working on creating a much lighter and healthier version but for now nothing has matched this version.  Since changing jobs I have brought it to several office get together’s myself  and I always bring home an empty dish.  If you have a crock pot I would suggest still following the directions and then transferring it to the crock pot.  Mac & Cheese is also one of those great dishes where you can cook it on Sunday and have it in the fridge for a quick weekday meal.  I definitely don’t consider this a low fat recipe but I do lighten it up a little but using “light” products.  As for the cheese, I prefer the lower fat varieties because I don’t like greasy mac & cheese.

Macaroni and Cheese

16 oz box elbow macaroni

1 8oz block of extra sharp low fat Cheddar

1 8 oz block of Monterey Jack cheese

1 can of Cambell’s Cheddar Cheese soup

1/2 can full of light mayonnaise

1/2 can full of light sour cream

a few drop of hot sauce (optional)

Pepper, Paprika to taste

Preheat oven to 350.  Cook the elbows according to package directions.  Grate the cheese and add to a large bowl.  Add the can of soup to the cheese.  Put mayo in empty soup can until 1/2 full and then top with sour cream.  Add that to the cheese and mix well seasoning as needed.  Once cooked, drain the pasta very well and mix with the cheese sauce.

cAdd this to a well greased pan.  You can use either a 9×13 or a deeper baking dish.  Personally I prefer a deeper baking dish because I don’t like a lot of browned top to mine but either is fine.  Bake 30-40 minutes until lightly browned and bubbling.  Enjoy!