CREAMY VEGETABLE BARLEY SOUP

Makes 4 servings

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 8.5 hours in slow-cooker at low heat (or 4.5 hours at high heat)

Ingredients:

1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup frozen whole kernel corn

1/2 cup medium pearl barley

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

1 cup chopped onion

1 carrot, peeled and sliced

1 stalk celery, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons dried oregano or Italian seasoning

1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 (14-ounce) can low-sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup cornstarch

3 cups cold fat-free milk

1/4 cup chopped parsley

4 teaspoons reduced-fat shredded Parmesan cheese

In a 3 1/2- to 5-quart slow cooker, place beans, corn, barley, tomatoes, mushrooms, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, oregano, salt (if desired) and pepper. Pour in broth, stir and cover and cook on low heat for 8-9 hours (or on high heat for 4-5 hours).

Near end of cooking time, stir cornstarch into milk. Stir milk mixture into slow cooker until well blended. Continue cooking 20-30 minutes or until soup has thickened. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and cheese at serving time.

Nutritional Facts per serving:

Calories 390

Total Fat 2.5 g

Saturated Fat 0 g

Cholesterol 5 mg

Sodium 610 mg

Calcium 35% Daily Value Protein 22 g

Carbohydrates 75 g

Dietary Fiber 13 g