You guys, thank you so much for all the Charleston recommendations! It’s obvious that both residents and visitors alike are very passionate about the city which is making me even more excited to get there. Squee! I’m still cataloging all the restaurant recs (excel tallier here) but HUSK definitely jumped out at me as one of the most buzzed about places to eat at. Reservation = made.
In other news, we have 6-9″ of snow coming our way this afternoon. If you’re not from a snowy region, let me tell you it’s pretty odd knowing the exact moment when all chaos will be breaking loose in your area. That said, I have until precisely 3pm today to get all my errands done including stocking up on the essentials I’ll need over the next couple of days like mango strips and pepper from Trader Joe’s. I…yeah.
Anyways, in anticipation of being cooped up from the storm, yesterday I cranked up the crock pot and made a huge vat of food hugs, aka Crock Pot Chicken & Barley Vegetable Stew, to keep warm with against the snow.
I am LOVING this stew!! A base of chicken broth and spices slowly simmers with chicken breasts, hearty barley, fresh kale, both white and sweet potatoes, and chopped carrots until it’s thick and amazing. The chicken got so tender that I could barely fish it out of the crock pot to shred it!
The vibrant, vitamin-packed veggies are the perfect thing to keep healthy with while we’re stuck indoors too. If winter’s here to stay for at least a few more weeks, then I’m glad I have a big batch of this cozy, comforting stew on my side.
Start the Crock Pot Chicken & Barley Vegetable Stew by stirring together chicken broth, seasonings and spices together in a large crock pot. That’s 48oz chicken broth, 2 cloves minced garlic, 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, 2 bay leaves, 1-1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Whew!
Next layer in 2 small chicken breasts, 1 chopped onion (or quartered onion for onion-hating husbands!) and 3/4 cup regular barley – not quick-cooking barley. If you use the quick-cooking kind it’ll be done before the veggies and end up all mushy. No bueno.
Next layer in all the veggies! That’s 4 cups chopped kale, and 1 large sweet and regular potato. Kale is the perfect green to include in this crock pot meal. It’s hearty enough to stand up to a long cooking process, but gets tender enough so that it melts in with each and every bite.
Finish ‘er up with 3 peeled and chopped carrots then press everything down until the liquid is just covering the veggies.
Pop the lid on top then cook on low for 5-6 hours or until the veggies are tender, and barley is plump. Serve with crackers and enjoy!
Crock Pot Chicken & Barley Vegetable Stew
Adapted from Clean Eating Mag
48oz chicken broth
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 bay leaves
2 small chicken breasts (about 12oz)
3/4 cup regular barley (not quick-cooking)
1 onion, chopped
4 cups chopped kale
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
1 large regular potato, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes (I used Yukon Gold)
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
- Add chicken broth, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and bay leaves into the crock pot then stir to combine. Layer in chicken, barley, onions, kale, potatoes, and carrots. Do not stir. Press veggies down to cover with chicken broth then cook on low for 5-6 hours or until barley is tender.
- Remove bay leaves then discard. Remove chicken breasts, shred, then return to the soup and stir to combine.
This stew is so healthy it’s semi-ridiculous. There’s no added fat and I can’t get over how something so good for you can taste so, well, GOOD too! I had three bowls yesterday. There. I said it.
Stay warm, safe, and dry fellow Midwesterners!