Perfect weather day stew!

02 Apr

What a perfect weather day today! I made the most of it. I was outside all day soaking in the rays with the family and even spent some time at local nurseries walking through their flower beds, oohhiing, aaahiing and drooling.
I knew it was going to be a perfect day as I got it start it with watching my sons play flag football. Something about hearing “Down, Set, Hut” makes everything better!
I came home around 6 PM and lounged around for a couple of hours watching Scooby Doo with my sons. I then cleaned the kitchen for an hour and got around to making dinner only around 9:00 PM. By then my boys were STARVING!! Yikes!! That could mean only one thing…dinner had to be light, healthy, nutritious, quick and tasty.
When I opened the fridge to see what I had, I found the barley I had cooked a couple of days ago. Voila! Barley for dinner it was! I had no meat, chicken or seafood. I however had some vegetables, a can of beans and half a jar of marinara sauce in my kitchen. Dinner…here I come! I am such a planner aren’t I!?
My recipe is simple and easy and it goes to show that an enjoyable dinner does not need fancy ingredients or a lot of planning. A bit of creativity and a dash of love thrown in will go a long way in making a dinner wholesome and satisfying.

Vegetable stew with barley and beans
*Serves 4-5 people hungry people
*If using precooked barley, total prep time is under 25 minutes
Note: Barley takes a long time to cook. So if you plan to make this stew, please have barley prepared beforehand. I cook enough barley for 2-3 dishes and store it in the refrigerator in a container with some water. Cook barley as per the directions on the box. I always add salt while cooking it.

2 cups finely chopped onions
1.5 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 and 1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp garam masala powder
2 cups marinara or any tomato based sauce
Chopped Vegetables – as many and any kind as you like (I used 1.5 cups frozen mixed vegetables, 1 cup chopped mushrooms, 1.5 cups fresh baby spinach, 2 cups chopped broccoli)
2 cups cooked barley
1 cup water
1 16oz can of white kidney beans – washed and rinsed thoroughly
salt to taste – start with 1 tsp and work your way up
olive oil – 3 – 3.5 tbsp

1. In a large pan, add the oil. Once the oil is hot (not too hot) add the onions.
2. Cook the onions till they are transparent for about 6-8 minutes.
3. Add the freshly grated ginger. Cook for 45 seconds.
4. Add the chili powder, turmeric, cumin seeds and garam masala powder. Cook for 30-45 seconds.
5. Add the chopped vegetables. Cook till vegetables are done but not overcooked.
6. Add the marinara sauce and salt. Mix well. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
7. Add the barley and beans and water. Cook cover on low flame for 10-15 minutes. Set aside for a few minutes. Serve warm with bread/roti/rice. I served the stew with French bread that I had made last night.
8. Enjoy~!

Please let me know what you thought of the recipe if you do try it.

Till next time,

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Posted by on April 2, 2011 in Dinner


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