Tuesday, November 20, 2012

On My Hearth: Vegetable Barley Casserole

You know that old adage about man making plans, and God laughing? Well, the Big Guy is having a big old chuckle at my expense right now! Due to job scheduling complications, we have not begun packing up the Ormond house, and may not be doing so after all.  At least, not in the immediate future. At this point all I know is that we are in Ormond today, will be down south for the holiday weekend, and then back up here through the first week of December. How's that for planning? I can hear a chorus of angels giggling. The good news: I don't have to give up my Gypsy title just yet. 

Here's a Weight Watchers recipe I made the other day, using ingredients I had on hand, thinking that I was gonna have to clean out the fridge and pantry for our Big Move. Ha!

I recently discovered barley, can't believe I haven't been eating this yummy stuff all of my life! It adds a nice texture to this casserole but of course you could substitute brown rice if you prefer.  I only had plain diced tomatoes, would definitely recommend the one w/chilies as I think the dish needed that extra little kick.  Otherwise, I was very pleased with this healthy, hearty meal!


                        Vegetable-Barley Casserole
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  2                tsp  canola oil
(I used olive oil)
  1              small  onion -- chopped
  1              clove  garlic -- minced
  2               cups  frozen corn kernels -- thawed and drained
  3               cups  swiss chard -- thick stems removed, coarsely chopped
(I used spinach)
  14 1/2            oz  canned diced tomatoes -- with chilies, well-drained
  2               cups  cooked barley -- quick-cooking recommended
     1/4           tsp  cumin seeds
     1/4           tsp  dried oregano -- crushed
     1/2           tsp  table salt
     1/4           tsp  black pepper -- freshly ground
  2              spray  cooking spray -- (s)
     1/2           cup  shreddedcheddar cheese, lowfat -- sharp-variety recommended
(I used Daiya vegan cheese)
Heat oil in very large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, corn and Swiss chard; cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent and Swiss chard is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, barley, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper; heat through.


Coat a 2 1/2- to 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Spoon barley mixture into prepared dish in an even layer; sprinkle with cheese. Bake until cheese melts and mixture is hot, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes before slicing into six pieces. 

Yields 1 piece per serving, 4 PointsPlus each.

  "This Tex-Mex casserole is jam-packed with tasty, fiber-rich ingredients. We used Swiss Chard but spinach, kale or turnip greens are all great options."
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NOTES : Add some canned black beans to make this dish even heartier (could affect PointsPlus values).

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