There's something about fall and winter in Indiana that just makes me want to make soups, stews and chili. It's likely the same thing that has curled up on the couch on Saturday mornings during these seasons with my hands wrapped around a hot coffee mug...it's freezing out!
I try to steer clear of cream laden soups, for obvious reasons, but a little bit of cheese never hurt anyone (well except those that are lactose intolerant, in which case just make hamburger soup).
1 pound ground beef (or turkey)
1 medium onion, diced
4 cups water
1 cup celery, diced
1 large potato, diced
4 carrots, sliced
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon ground pepper
½ teaspoon basil
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 can of crushed or diced tomatoes
½ cup quick cook barley, prepared
Shredded Cheese of choice
Brown beef in stock pot. Add diced onion and cook until onion is translucent. Add celery, potatoes and carrots. Add pepper, basil thyme and bay leaf and toss to combine. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Stir in tomatoes (including the juice). Lower heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add cook barley and heat through. Approximately 5 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Top with cheese and serve with a crust loaf of bread or a side of fries.