However, today I am a little bit cramped for time, so I've decided to share a recipe with you, since for the most part I can just do a cut-and-paste to add it to this post. :-)
In another lifetime and several jobs ago, I belonged to a book group at work. We met once a month at lunchtime, and at the holidays we had a pot lunch. One of the other people in the group brought this casserole, and I liked it so much I asked her for the recipe. Since then I have made it pretty regularly, since it is both yummy and quite filling.
Recently I even made it successfully using the crock pot, and have added those notes at the end.
We have it as a main course, but I'm sure it would be a good side dish as well. Let me know if you try it, and what you think.
Barley Feta Casserole
This is an excellent dish for a day when you would like a hearty meal, but also want to get the preparation out of the way so you can do other things. It also has the advantage of being low-fat, if you are watching your fat intake and/or cholesterol.
1 cup barley, rinsed in cold water
3 cups vegetable broth or water, heated (I usually use half broth/half water)
2 medium onions, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 large tomatoes, cut into chunks
2-3 teaspoons of dried oregano (or even better, the equivalent in fresh if you have it)
1 clove garlic, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups feta cheese (or your cheese of choice, we like feta so we always use that)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a baking dish, combine everything EXCEPT the feta cheese.
Cover the baking dish, and bake for 45 minutes.
Stir in the feta cheese, and bake uncovered for another 25 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the barley is tender.
Remove from the oven, and let it sit and “rest” for 5 minutes before serving.
Two additional things:
1. This recipe makes quite a bit, and is good reheated. I’ve never tried freezing the leftovers, so I can’t tell you how well that does or does not work.
2. Another tomato sliced thinly on top looks nice, if you want to make it look prettier.
**This recipe is based on one from Low Cholesterol Cuisine, by Anne Lindsay. (New York : Hearst Books, 1989)
NOTES FOR THE CROCKPOT:
When I made this in the crockpot, I added another cup of water/broth, and cooked it on High for 5-6 hours. It worked just fine, so I hope if you try it you have good results.