by | May 16, 2019

Let grains be the star of your next meal

If you’re trying to build more grain into your eating plan, good for you! Many people forget that grains like barley, oats, farro and the like provide a healthy boost of vitamins, minerals, fi ber and more to a healthy diet. And they’re full of carbohydrates which supply fuel for the body and help us feel full longer. Start by adding a grain you’d like to try into a recipe you enjoy, then work your way toward new recipes. You’ll fi nd them both fi lling and delicious.

Beef Barley Soup

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1-1/4 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 26-ounce can beef stock
  • 1 packet beef gravy mix
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 ribs celery, sliced
  • 14-1/2 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 8-ounce can mushrooms, drained
  • 2 cups quick-cooking barley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 cups frozen peas, thawed

Heat vegetable oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add beef, seasoning with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring once. Stir in onion and garlic and cook 3 minutes longer. Add beef stock, beef gravy mix, bay leaves, water, carrots and celery. Cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes, mushrooms, quick-cooking barley, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the thyme. Simmer 30 minutes longer, covered, stirring occasionally. Stir in peas, simmer fi ve minutes longer. Remove bay leaves before serving.

Oat Apple Crisp

  • 6 Gala or Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup fl our
  • 1/2 cup butter, cold (do not substitute)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Toss apple slices in a medium bowl with white sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Place coated apple slices in a 9-inch round or oblong baking dish.

Combine brown sugar, oats, fl our and remaining teaspoon cinnamon in a separate bowl. Cut the cold butter into the oat mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Mixture will be thick.

Spread over the top of the apples to the edges of the baking dish. Pat the topping gently until fairly even. Topping will be thick.

Bake until golden brown and sides are bubbling, about 45 minutes.

Garlic Grits

  • 5 tablespoons salted butter, divided
  • 4-1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup instant grits
  • 10 ounces herb-and-garlic cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup cornfl akes, crushed

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch-by-12-inch casserole dish. Bring 4-1/2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan; add 1 teaspoon salt. Add the instant grits and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes, whisking constantly

Add the cheese and 4 tablespoons butter to the hot grits and stir until melted and combined. Beat the eggs in a small bowl, then whisk in the milk. Slowly stir the egg mixture into the grits, then pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish.

Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter; pour over the cornfl akes in a bowl and stir to distribute the butter. Sprinkle the cornfl ake crumb mixture on top of the grits. Bake 45 minutes.

Cornbread Mini Muffins

  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1-1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 green onions, fi nely chopped
  • 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk together the cornmeal, fl our, salt, baking powder, baking soda and sugar in a large bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, honey and butter. Mix well. Spray a mini muffi n pan with cooking spray. Fill muffi n cups 3/4 full of batter.

Bake for 12 to 14 minutes until lightly browned on top and centers test done. If desired, sprinkle top of hot muffi ns with shredded cheese before serving. Note: You could make these using a regular muffi n tin and bake for approximately 25 minutes per batch.

Mediterranean Farro Salad

  • 1-1/2 to 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup farro, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cucumber, halved, seeded and fi nely diced
  • 1/2 red pepper, fi nely diced
  • 1/2 yellow pepper, fi nely diced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, fi nely chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, fi nely diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 bottle prepared Greek vinaigrette salad dressing
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Rinse farro and drain in colander. Place 1-1/2 cups chicken stock in a large pot and bring to a boil; add farro. Bring to a boil again, then turn heat down to low, covering to simmer until farro grain is al dente. If liquid evaporates too rapidly, add 1/2 cup chicken stock and stir.

When grain is cooked, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process and cool down for salad preparation. Drain well before proceeding.

In a medium-sized bowl combine cucumber, red and yellow pepper, tomatoes, parsley, onion and welldrained farro. Salt and pepper to taste. Shake salad dressing well until combined; pour 1/4 bottle of dressing over mixture and combine. Continue adding dressing to taste or until vegetables and farro are lightly coated. When ready to eat, sprinkle feta cheese on top of each serving.

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