Quick Barley Pilaf

by Kat S. on April 16, 2014

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WOW, does it feel good to cook on a stove again! Our oven kicked the bucket a little while back, and we’ve only made a couple of things since we bought a new one — crispy oven-roasted potatoes to go alongside burgers, a homemade pizza, and tonight, quick barley pilaf.

We usually have lots of rice on hand, but we seem to have only about half a cup of brown rice left — NOT enough to make anything for more than one person. What we do have on hand is an abundance of quick barley, and the only thing I’ve done with it since we got it is stir it into beef stew, and it soaked up literally every drop of that saucey part of stew I like so much. Needless to say, I didn’t want to do that again, so I’ve had to do some research on quick barley recipes.

About two weeks ago, I pinned a recipe on Pinterest for Barley Pilaf on Thyme for Cooking Kitchen. The recipe is pretty simple, I just made a couple adjustments to reflect how much I wanted to make, and the ingredients we had on hand. It doesn’t take l0ng at all to make this tasty side dish and I can invision many variations of it. (It’s also quite budget-friendly!) The only thing that caught me a little off-guard was the texture – we like texture around here, and at first it read a little breakfast-y (think homemade traditional oatmeal), but the flavor definitely won me over. I ended up serving it with some quick-marinated and grilled steak and some grilled green beans.

Quick Barley Pilaf (adapted from Thyme for Cooking Kitchen)

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 cup quick barley
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  1. Heat the oil to medium heat in a large saute pan (make sure you have a cover for the pan you use).
  2. Add the onion and the carrots.
  3. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Stir in the salt & Italian seasoning.
  5. Saute for 6-8 minutes, or until you’ve got lots of yummy brown stuff on the bottom of the pan.
  6. Deglaze the pan with the sherry vinegar and quickly scrape all the yummy stuff off the bottom with your spoon. 
  7. Toss in the quick barley, the chicken stock, stir quickly, and cover. 
  8. Let it bubble away untouched for 12 minutes, and turn off the heat.
  9. Let it stand for 5 minutes, then serve!

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Easy Dessert – Jam Crostata

by Kat S. on March 17, 2014

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This dessert is quick to pull together, doesn’t take a ton of ingredients, and makes use of something that plagues many people I know… almost-empty jam jars taking up room in the fridge! Hence, it’s the perfect dessert to whip up in a snap for a dinner party.

*Note – The images in this post are from making 2 different crostatas – one with pear conserve and one with strawberry preserves.

Jam Crostata

  • 1 ready-to-bake pie crust (flat, not one that comes in a dish)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of full-fat ricotta, mixed with 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 heaping tablespoons of jam, any flavor
  1. Lay pie crust flat on a baking sheet.
  2. Top crust with ricotta.
  3. Spread ricotta evenly over crust, leaving about an inch at the edges
  4. Top ricotta with jam and spread jam evenly – it will mix a little with the ricotta, which is fine.
  5. Gently fold the edges of the pie crust in – don’t be a perfectionist here, it should look rustic!
  6. Bake at 375F until crust is golden brown.
  7. Let cool for at least 10 minutes.
  8. Slice into wedges and serve with ice cream. 

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Maseca Griddle Cakes

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TweetNothing says “weekend” around here like a nice leisurely breakfast. My husband loves all things that require maple syrup on top, so pancakes are no exception. We have lots of grains and various flours in our pantry, so we like to mix it up when it comes to preparing a batter. Maseca is something we [...]

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Kat’s Two-Celery Soup

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TweetWe are experiencing veggie overload over here – when you open the fridge, no matter what direction you  look, you see veggies. We’ve been eating all the lettuce and sprouts we can get our hands on, but I have been so busy lately that I haven’t had any time to do anything with those veggies [...]

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Slow-Cooking on a Budget

January 24, 2014
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TweetIf you’re on a budget, your slow-cooker could be your new best friend. Slow cooking foods is a fantastic way to stretch flavor and get more bang for your buck. By slow cooking you can: Build flavors over a longer period of time Tenderize cheaper cuts of meat (like beef shins) that would be tough [...]

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Kat’s King Ranch Casserole

January 23, 2014
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TweetLike many casseroles, the typical King Ranch has condensed soup of some kind, but we are not fans of that style of cooking. I’ve developed a version that is much more to our liking, is budget-friendly, makes for great leftovers, and includes many of my husband’s favorite flavors. I don’t often measure ingredients when I’m [...]

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Homemade English Muffins

January 22, 2014
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TweetA while back, I was going through my boards on Pinterest and weeding them out a little. I pin quite a bit, but sometimes when I looks at my boards later, I have pinner’s remorse… Like why would I ever have pinned how to make Jell-o worms by pouring Jell-o into straws? I mean, really? [...]

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Make-Ahead Breakfast: Baked Oatmeal Cups

January 21, 2014
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TweetWe are big fans of breakfast around here – it’s crazy to think that there were years (years!!!) when I was growing up that I just couldn’t eat breakfast. Now, if I don’t have food (and coffee) before I try to do something in the morning, I might as well be sleeping. We cycle through [...]

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Chickpea Kale Patties

January 15, 2014
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TweetSometime last week, my husband and I combined forces to come up with this meatless dish — chickpea kale patties. It didn’t seem like we had many ingredients to work with, but they came out fantastic! They were a nice balance of creamy and crispy, had plenty of protein, and were not heavy at all! [...]

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Christmas Treats!

December 26, 2013
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TweetI spent Monday and Tuesday with my nieces, getting Christmas treats ready and wrapped for stocking stuffers. Here’s what we made: Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies from Allrecipes.com… (image above) Inside-Out Chocolate Covered Pretzels… Lay out square pretzels Top with Hershey Kisses (we used special dark) Bake at 200 for 6 minutes Top each with a second [...]

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