With the news media filled with the much-acclaimed benefits of natural foods, one would think that the quest for health through nutrition is something new, but it just isn’t so. Proof positive is my 1942 edition of the Woman’s Home Companion Cookbook. Editor Willa Robert’s forward reads much like poetry as she describes the importance of home-cooked meals made with a variety of farm-fresh ingredients: “A nation is as healthy as the food it eats.” Amen, Willa!
Unfortunately, some of the aspects of the cookbook are outdated; hopefully you are not cooking with margarine or lard, and I highly doubt you are concerned with the proper arrangement of silver service, with or without a maid. However, the basic premise holds true — eat nutritious, whole foods whenever possible to keep your family healthy and happy.
The authors of the Woman’s Home Companion Cookbook might be surprised to find out that today not all homemakers are women and rarely does anyone have the time to fritter away the day cooking. But, in the spirit of the hearty, home-cooked meal I give you an easy slow-cooker recipe for old-fashioned beef barley soup that would make Willa proud.
Slow Cooker Beef Barley Soup Recipe
Coarsely chop 2 cups of carrots, 1 green pepper and 1 large onion. Place in crock-pot. Add 1 1/2 cups of your favorite vegetable. (I’ve used corn, green beans and mushrooms. This is a great time to clean out fridge or the freezer.)
Cut two pounds of lean boneless beef chuck or round steak into ½ inch cubes and brown in skillet. Place meat on top of veggies in crock-pot.
Combine one 16-ounce can petite diced tomatoes, 2/3 cup barley, 1 bay leaf, 2 teaspoons sea salt, 1 teaspoon dried basil and 2 teaspoons beef bouillon, and pour over meat.
Add 5 cups of water. DO NOT STIR.
Cover and cook on low for 10 to 12 hours.
What hearty, home-cooked meal do you love?—Karen