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Slow-Cooker Beef and Barley Vegetable Soup

The best part of this superhealthy soup is that you can prepare it the night before and let it cook in a slow cooker while you’re at work the next day. Just brown the beef, assemble all the ingredients (except the potato) and stow them in the crockpot in the fridge overnight.

Brown ground beef in a skillet over medium heat; drain. Place beef in a slow-cooker crockpot and add onion, carrots, potato, parsnip, garlic, pepper, basil, beef broth, tomatoes, vegetable juice cocktail and water. Cover, and cook on low setting for 7–9 hours.

Turn slow cooker to high setting, and stir to break up whole tomatoes. Stir in barley and frozen veggies. Cover, and cook on high for 30 more minutes.

Right before serving, add hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper, to taste. Makes 8 servings.

Per Serving: 208 calories (23% from fat); 5 grams (g) fat (2 g saturated); 22 milligrams (mg) cholesterol; 29 g carbohydrates; 12 g protein; 72 mg sodium; 2 g dietary fiber.

Source: Knight Ridder News Service.

1/2 pound ground round beef

1 onion, chopped

3 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 potato, peeled and chopped

1 parsnip, peeled and chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon dried basil leaves

1 (14.5-ounce) can low-sodium beef broth

1 (14.5-ounce) can whole tomatoes, no salt added

2 cups low-sodium vegetable

juice cocktail

1 cup water

1/2 cup quick pearled barley

1 cup frozen mixed vegetables

hot pepper sauce, to taste

salt and pepper, to taste

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