Friday, July 29, 2011

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

Ingredients:

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
Seasonal Saturdays
21st Century House Wife
Tasty Tuesday's

21 comments:

  1. I think this sounds just wonderful, very creative!

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  2. I love barley. I usually make it in the winter, but this is a great summer recipe. Can't wait to try it. :-)

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  3. Yum! I love this. Especially since all three of your reasons affect me too, except it's only 2 kids instead of 4! So maybe not quite as dangerous, but still... I love that you used the crockpot for this! That's awesome. When it's really hot I even stick my crockpot outside or down in the basement away from us so this is really perfect. Barley is awesome in salads and pilafs so I can't wait to try this.

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  4. Oh - that looks amazing! I LOVE the idea of barley and dried mushrooms together in the crock pot. Mushrooms is the one food I can't convince my husband to eat! He's tried them....I LOVE them! He adores barley, so I may sneak this one in on him! Beautiful photos as well!

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  5. I dig it! Kind of walked away from the crock pot this summer bc I don't want soup or stew. But this is a good use!

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  6. This looks amazing! Think I'll have to pull out the old crockpot...

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  7. What a perfect and creative summer dish...looks fantastic! And Happy Birthday again, wishing you an amazing one :)

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  8. Those are three great reasons to make this salad, but I only need two: 1) you made it and 2) it looks amazing! I'm glad I'm reading your blog during my afternoon snack break. I would have some serious hunger pains if I didn't have bowl of food in front of me! I hope you are having a wonderful Monday. Thank you for sharing with me. Love and hugs from Austin!

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  9. What a fabulous recipe - so colorful, delicious and healthy - a real inspiration - thanks so much for sharing this!
    Mary

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  10. The pilaf looks amazing - so colorful and varied and flavorful - and sounds almost hearty to be what we'd traditionally call a pilaf (I think of those as being delicate). Sounds delicious and so good for you too.

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  11. WOW - this looks amazing - I love how colorful it is! Have to try it. Don't you love just how good EVERYTHING looks this time of year? I love it!

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  12. Barley is one of my favorite whole grains! I love that you've turned it into this colorful delicious salad...all without turning on the stove!

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  13. absolutely hearty n delicious..:)
    Tasty Appetite

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  14. the color is amazing, I would love to devour this lovely plate of grains....very creative and looks very glamorous!!

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  15. oh i just LOVE looking at all these colours together on the same plate!

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  16. That is a beauty of a salad. bravo!

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  17. WOW - this looks amazing - I love how colorful it is! Have to try it. Don't you love just how good EVERYTHING looks this time of year? I love it!

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  18. Those are three great reasons to make this salad, but I only need two: 1) you made it and 2) it looks amazing! I'm glad I'm reading your blog during my afternoon snack break. I would have some serious hunger pains if I didn't have bowl of food in front of me! I hope you are having a wonderful Monday. Thank you for sharing with me. Love and hugs from Austin!

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  19. This looks amazing! Think I'll have to pull out the old crockpot...

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  20. I love barley. I usually make it in the winter, but this is a great summer recipe. Can't wait to try it. :-)

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  21. I think this sounds just wonderful, very creative!

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