Crock Pot Barley Pilaf with Summer Squash, Sugar Snap Peas and Fresh Berries with Citrus-Mint Dressing
This is another recipe that I came up with out of necessity for a few reasons.
One. It's to stinking hot to even consider turning the stove on. The thought of it makes me tired and cranky.
Two. My budget is less than glamorous at the moment and so I'm having to get really creative with my meatless dinner recipes so as not to have a full on revolt happening. Four meat loving kids and a hungry husband can be dangerous unless I come up with something filling and flavorful for dinner.
Three. I have a big bag of barley in my pantry that has been staring at me for the last several weeks asking me why it's been neglected.
Well, necessity is the mother of invention right? And this one turned out so very good that I decided to share it with you lovely people. Barley is a whole grain and very healthy. When I think of barley my mind goes straight to barley soup made with mushrooms, carrots and maybe beef. I can't even imagine eating soup while it's 118F degrees outside so I went with my usual flawless plan; a crock pot, more veggies and a bit of fruit to sweeten it up. Bravo!
Throwing the barley and dried mushrooms (best invention ever) into the crock pot with home made chicken stock was simple and sweat free. I tossed in some summer squash and sugar snap peas, raw and threw together a simple mint vinaigrette using my cute little hydroponic mint plant really pulled this together into a sweet dinner. Even the kids liked it!
TIME 4 HOURS (CROCK POT) SERVES 6
1 cup dried barley
3 cups chicken broth (preferably home made)
handful of dried mushrooms (I used shitake)
1 teaspoon salt
3 summer squash (yellow)
large handful sugar snap peas
large handful fresh blueberries
4-6 fresh strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup slivered almonds or nut of choice
chopped lettuce to serve on (I used a head of red leaf because it was cheaper)
Place barley, broth, salt and dried mushrooms in crock pot. Cook on med-high heat for about 4 hours checking after 3 hours.
Meanwhile, chop squash into small bite size pieces, slice strawberries and sugar snap peas. When barley is done spoon on top of chopped lettuce and sprinkle veggies and fruits and nuts over top. Serve with Citrus Mint Dressing. (A Strawberry Vinegraitte would be nice too)
FOR THE DRESSING
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves from your cute little indoor herb garden
1 clove garlic or shallot
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime or orange juice depending on your fancy
1/4 cup EVOO or grape seed oil
if you prefer you could use vinegar instead of citrus. I've used both.
1/3 cup white wine or champagne vinegar
Blend all ingredients in a blender until combined. You can whisk if you'd like but I find the ingredients tend to separate much faster.
This post is linked to:
Fresh Food Friday
21st Century House Wife