Sunday, January 30, 2011

Vegetable Barley Casserole

The following recipe was our Thursday night dinner and my Friday lunch. I happened upon it while browsing the Weight Watchers website for vegetarian main dishes.

Vegetable Barley Casserole
From Weight Watchers - 4 PointsPlus per serving

2 tsp. canola oil (I used extra virgin olive oil)
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 c. frozen corn kernels, thawed and drained
3 c. Swiss chard, thick stems removed, coarsely chopped (I used stems)
14 1/2 oz. canned diced tomatoes, with chilis, well-drained (I combined diced tomatoes with 1/2 can of green chilis)
2 c. cooked barley, quick-cooking recommended
1/4 tsp. cumin seeds
1/4 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
1/2 tsp. table salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground
2 sprays cooking spray
1/2 c. low-fat shredded cheddar cheese, sharp variety recommended.

Preheat oven to 350.

Heat oil in very large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, corn and Swiss chard; cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent and Swiss chard is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, barley, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Heat through.

Coat a 2.5-3 qt. baking dish with cooking spray (think 13 x 9). Spoon barley mixture into prepared dish in an even layer; sprinkle with cheese. Bake until cheese melts and mixture is hot, about 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes before slicing into six pieces. 1 piece = 1 serving.

I cooked the onion and the chard stems together first, adding my minced garlic partway through. I added the corn and chard leaves after the onion began to soften. I measured salt, but not the pepper.

We didn't find this to be particularly sliceable, but maybe leaving it stand longer would help? We did find it quite yummy. At first, Caleb was not sure about the new dish, but he got excited about the corn (thought it was farmer market corn - sadly no, funny boy). Once he tried it, he was pretty happy with it. Ellie decided she didn't want dinner that night. I'm certain it had nothing to do with what was being offered. She was tired beyond tired. Aaron seemed to like it quite well. He couldn't remember having tried barley before, and I think he found it interesting. I loved this dish. It's vaguely "Tex-Mex" but not very spicy. It definitely falls into the category of comfort food and good for those cold or wet nights. It's pretty easy to prepare, and I know you could substitute many green leafy vegetables such as spinach for the chard if you can't get any chard in your area.

I definitely would make this again.

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