Beef Barley and Veggie Soup–Rich and Hearty

In the Winter I love a good hearty soup with good crusty bread some delicious hard cheese and a green salad. It makes a wonderful dinner that is prepared in one pot. This is a very hearty soup and I say rich because of the beef cubes which add a delicious layer of flavor and make this soup more than a soup more like a meal. As Rachael Ray says a”stoup”. It is thicker than a soup and mine is almost as thick as a stew. You can freeze this soup since it makes so much and you’ll have it for a snowy day when you can’t get to the market for these ingredients.


1 1/2 lbs. Beef Chuck Cubes — the butcher section usually has this pre-cut if not just ask your butcher to cut into cubes for stew

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Kosher Salt

2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil

1 whole onion chopped ( yellow)

1 large stalk celery– thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves–roughly chopped

1 1/2 Tbsp. Tomato Paste

3/4 cup Red Wine– any dry red wine will do –I used a Malbec

8 cups Beef Broth–you can use low-sodium if you’d like

1 1/2 cups Water– you’ll need more as you finish but use this to start–at least for the first 2 hours

2 Bay Leaves

1/2 Tsp.dried thyme or fresh –1 Tbsp.

1 1/2 Tbsp. Sugar

3/4 cup Pearl Barley such as Quaker Medium Pearled Barley if you can find if not use whatever you can find

3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 ” round slices


Dry off the beef cubes with a paper towel then season them generously with Salt and Pepper.

In a large Dutch Oven (Le Crueset) type soup pot, heat 1 Tablespoon of the Vegetable Oil over medium high heat. Add 1/2 the beef and sear it without turning it, until browned on one side–app. 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and add another Tablespoon of Vegetable Oil and continue searing the other 1/2 of the Beef. A little note– you can really sear the beef on one side and transfer it to a plate because it will fully cook in soup. You just want to get a good crust on at least one side of the meat. Remove the meat to a plate and start to prepare the soup.

Lower the heat in pan to medium-low and add the onions, celery and garlic. Cook , stirring frequently and scraping up the brown bits off the bottom of the pan (from the beef) You’ll want to cook until the veggies are soft and onion is translucent, probably another 5 minutes. Don’t burn veggies. You have to keep an eye on them. Lower the heat to a simmer if necessary.

Stir in the tomato paste. Add the beef along with any juices. Add the wine, broth, water , bay leaves, thyme, sugar and a little more salt and pepper and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to low . Cover and Simmer for 2 hours.

After 2 hours. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Add the barley and carrots and simmer, covered until the carrots and barley are cooked and the beef is tender. I cooked for another hour and it can simmer for even longer. Taste and adjust the seasonings. If you like a thicker soup ( and I do) simmer uncovered until your desired consistency is reached. For a thinner soup, add a little more water at a time until your desired consistency is reached. It’s not an exact science. I definitely added more water at the end stage.

*Just a little note –this soup will seem very brothy during the beginning stages but once you add the barley it will quickly soak up the broth so be careful not to reduce too quickly. You can always add water or more broth if this happens. Look at photos of the finished product.

Ladle into bowls and serve!

Soup will keep in fridge for 3 days and frozen for 3 months. 3 months is my limit for frozen . When you re-heat it add some water to bring it back to life and you’ll probably need to add a little salt and pepper as well.

Beef Barley and Veggie Soup

Brussels a la Caesar

I combined two of my favorites Caesar Salad Dressing and raw brussels . I bought the bag of Shaved Brussels which took all the work out of having to cut them up and I made my salad dressing which is detailed below. I used shaved Parmagiano Reggiano Cheese to add some flavor and let it all marinate together for about an hour before serving. I like it a little wilted but of course it tasted kind of delicious right away. It is nice to be able to make salad a bit ahead of the meal without worrying about how wilted it will be. The Brussels are tough enough to stand up to anything and sit out for a while dressed. This is always perfect while you’re preparing the rest of your dinner.

I used a Food Processor -mini or regular. You can do it in a blender as well.

If you love Caesar Salad and you love Brussels Sprouts this one’s for you.

Please follow me on Instagram@cookingwithcandi

Brussels Caesar Salad


Caesar Salad : with Brussels

1 bag of shaved brussels sprouts — app. 1 lb.

2 cloves of garlic

1 egg yolk — if you don’t like the raw egg you can coddle it but I always just use a raw egg yolk

1 Tablespoon Dion Mustard- heaping

freshly ground black pepper

5 anchovies

2 Tablespoons Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1/2 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce

Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano


I use a food processor to make my salad dressing , you can use a mini or a regular sized one. I put the 2 cloves of whole garlic into the processor and chop them, then I add the 5 anchovies and mix all together.

Then add lemon juice, mustard, Worcestershire Sauce and egg yolk. I mix all together and then slowly add the olive oil in from the top stream the oil in. Add freshly ground black pepper after everything else is incorporated. I don’t add salt because anchovies are very salty.

Pour dressing on the Brussels and mix well. Let it sit for an hour or so if you have the time. Add the cheese and mix well.

*this salad can easily be doubled or Just make double the salad dressing and you’ll have it if you need more dressing depending on how dressed you like the salad. Dressing can stay in fridge for a few days ( raw egg) .

  • Brussels Caesar Salad

Cauliflower Pizza

This gallery contains 5 photos.

Originally posted on Cooking with Candi:
this is how I am doing my crust now in a small rectangular pan!!! finished product This is one of my most favorite recipes ever. I almost always have the ingredients and all I…

–Set it and Forget it Chicken Taco Chili

Set it and Forget it Chicken Taco Chili for Golden Globes Watching this evening.

Cooking with Candi

This is a very easy recipe and will cook in the slow cooker on high in 6 hours! So set it and forget it. This is a re-blog from last October so if you missed it you get another shot at it and if you already made this recipe here you go again.

It’s the Golden Globes Awards this evening and I intend on eating this in front of the TV Screen. No muss No Fuss come tonite, all the heavy lifting will be done by noon. My kind of cooking.

Slow cookers make for perfect cooking all year round. Nothing better than setting it and forgetting it! Making life easier and less clean up after dinner. I happened to have a package of Taco Seasoning Mix in the house so I used it along with cumin and chili powder. I used dark meat and white meat chicken, you can…

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Breakfast in a Jar–Overnight Oats

Cooking with Candi





This has become one of my favorite go to breakfasts. It is packed with nutrition and delicious not to mention so very filling.  Low in fat and low in sugar. Fiber from the chia seeds and anti-oxidants from the blueberries!  I make 2 of them at nighttime and my breakfast is ready and waiting for me in the morning and then I have one for the next morning. No fuss at all, easy simple ingredients and substitute any fruit you like. I happen to love blueberries but bananas would work as well as peaches, etc. If you don’t like nuts or chia seeds just omit or use any kind of seeds (flax) or nuts you like. Awesome! I used a mason jar because they have such a good lid and you can shake it up and close tight. Take it with you on the go , before the gym, before ski …

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Creamy Tomato Soup with Parmesan Crisps

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Originally posted on Cooking with Candi:
Parmesan Crisps with Tomato Soup ? Soup at the beginning of the cooking process ? Parmesan Crisps Tube of Tomato Paste–I love the tubes One of our most favorite soups is Tomato Soup. I…

Baked Salami (Oldie but Goodie)

Here is an amazing appetizer if you are looking for something to hold everyone over till dinner. This is an oldie but goodie recipe, and everyone loves it always. Rarely is there a piece left over. Good Old Fashioned Kosher Salami. (the kind in the package from Hebrew National is what I’m talking about)   A-Mazing!

I have to say this is my #1 post on my blog hands down since 2011. People love this recipe.

*you will want to double recipe for the larger salami shown. Recipe below is for the smaller one.


1 Kosher Salami (this is a larger one for a larger crowd)

1/2 cup Marmalade ( I like orange) but can be Lemon or Ginger

2 tablespoons Brown Sugar

1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard- I used Maille Dijon Mustard


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Score into Salami, cut into Salami in narrow slices but not completely through to bottom. Just make slices almost to the bottom. Mix all ingredients together and spread on Salami, place on a lightly sprayed baking sheet and cook for about 1 – 1 1/2 hours. Serve on a plate with sliced pumpernickle or rye bread or crackers. I buy that party pumpernickle bread which is already cut into small pieces and available almost everywhere.

Lasagna in the Slow Cooker

Delicious Recipe made super easy in the Slow Cooker. Set it and Forget it!

Cooking with Candi

I have to say when I first heard about lasagna in the slow cooker I was sort of skeptical.  My friend Cathy told me about it; she said she had made it for her family and I should give it a go.   The original recipe is from Jessica Seinfeld, who sneaks vegetables and healthy stuff into her food. I did make a few changes from original recipe , I used more sauce and a little more salt , I used fresh spinach which can easily be substituted for ground turkey, sausage, or any type of meat you like.  Next time I make this recipe I will be using meat because it really was quite easy and pretty quick even by slow cooker standards. It cooked in 3 1/2 hours, looked amazing and tasted delicious. I am still a little surprised by how good it was. The spinach wilts down and almost looks like basil…

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Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Being I am so much more of a morning person than a night person I love to cook in the morning, not elaborate breakfasts mind you but Dinner. I prep , chop and set up my slow cooker and it’s all in by 8 a.m. I cooked this on low for 8 hours and then on high for 2. You can do it on high for 6-8 as well. Almost fool-proof and you’ll love the benefits. When you enter your home at the end of the day your house will smell amazing, your dinner will be almost ready and you’ll have one pot to clean after dinner! Wow! Now of course you’ll have a bit of a mess in the morning but that’s OK because you’ll have more energy in the morning . Shop ahead and have all your ingredients ready and you’re set . I love slow cooker meals.

This is what I did:


2 lbs. boneless beef chuck, cut into 1 inch cubes — the butcher usually has this meat already cut up. You can add an extra lb. of meat if you have more people.

5 medium size carrots, sliced into chunks

1 lb. baby potatoes — they come in a bag and are perfect just the way they are. Of course you can cut up larger potatoes if you wish.

1 small white onion–diced

3 cloves garlic–minced

3 cups Beef Broth

2 Tbsp. Tomato Paste

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce

1 Tbsp. Italian Seasonings–dry and available in most spice sections

Salt and Pepper to taste

1/4 cup Flour

2 cups Frozen Peas– I used frozen peas you can also add frozen corn if you like or use both.


Take out the meat and dry it off with a paper towel. Sprinkle liberally with Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper on all sides. Heat a skillet with a little olive oil and sear on each side for a few minutes just to get a crust on the meat. You will not be cooking the meat just searing.

I spray my slow-cooker with cooking spray (Pam) and then add the meat, the carrots, potatoes, onion and garlic.

Add the beef broth , tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, italian seasoning, and I added about a 1/2 tsp. of Kosher Salt and a few grinds of the pepper mill (6) . You can taste at some point and always add more.

Cook on low for 8-10 hours or High for 6-8 hours. An hour before serving, I take out about a cup of gravy from the beef stew and whisk with 1/4 cup flour. Then stir into the stew along with the frozen peas. Stir and taste for S and P at this point.

I let it cook on high for 2 more hours. You should let it cook for at least 1 more hour after the addition of the flour. The flour will thicken the gravy, so you’ll want to cook for at least 1 more hour on high setting.

Enjoy! a loaf of crusty bread would be in order on the side.

Saucy Stuffed Shells – Baked and Meatless

Shells 004Shells 007Shells 009Shells 010OK you must be thinking is she kidding Stuffed Shells? gotta be the most fattening food to eat , and it probably is outside of lasagna, baked ziti and the like. Super delicious and sometimes you just hafta roll with it. I wanted a crowd pleaser that was vegetarian and something that can easily be made ahead and frozen.  My mind wanders to yummy, gooey food with a lot of cheese because who doesn’t love a lot of cheese. Ah , yes Stuffed Shells.  I wouldn’t cook like this all the time, but once every blue moon no one is getting hurt, right? I served with a salad , no need for bread and butter here. Homemade Maple Syrup Salad Dressing ( see on blog) and it was really pretty awesome. Took a few hours to prepare, mostly because I made my own sauce ( Sunday night sauce) but feel free to use a jar of prepared sauce if you must. This is a perfect meal to make ahead of time, and just pop into oven.

Of course if you love it with meat you can make a meat sauce and follow same directions.

Happy Holidays to all — and visit me on Instagram @cookingwithcandi


1 box Jumbo Shells ( you won’t use all but a lot of them break, etc.)

1 lb. Ricotta ( I used Part Skim)

1 lb. Mozzarella Shredded ( I used Part Skim) if you can obtain fresh mozzarella and shred it that would make it even better! whatever works for you

1 cup grated Parmesan ( any kind you like)

1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

*marinara sauce or any red sauce I made my own and use my own recipe. If buying sauce and there are some delicious good sauces out there, you’ll need at least 1 jar and maybe a 1 1/2 jars. I make a big batch of sauce and freeze the remainder. It’s nice to have a little extra sauce in case you need it when you re-heat the stuffed shells.


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Prepare Pasta , cook for between 12 and 15 minutes, you’ll want them soft but not undercooked at the center. Drain pasta and cool for easy handling.

Combine ricotta, 1/2 of the mozzarella, 1/2 of the Parmesan, parsley and egg in a bowl. Taste for Salt and Pepper.

When shells have cooled down, fill them with rounded spoonfuls of cheese mixture and arrange them seam side down in casserole dish. I used a 9 x 13 Pyrex. Top Shells with remaining sauce and remaining mozzarella and grated cheese. Place shells in very hot oven . You can turn on broiler for last few minutes , it should be slightly browned and bubbly. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.