We had Beef with Barley Soup and Bloomin' Onion Bread. My husband gave the soup a 6.5 (he's not much of a soup man) and the bread a 6. He said it had good texture, but was lacking in taste. My daughter gave the soup a 6 and the bread an 8. I gave the soup an 8 (I liked it) and the bread a 5. I thought it was okay, but nothing worth noting. Here are the recipes.
Beef with Barley Soup
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 pound Beef Cubes (for Stew)
1 whole Large Onion, Medium Diced
2 cloves Minced Garlic
2 whole Carrots, Smaller Ends Cut Into Rounds, Larger Ends Diced
2 whole Potatoes, Large Dice
1-1/2 teaspoons Seasoning Salt
1 teaspoon Sea Salt (or To Taste)
Ground Black Pepper To Taste
6 cups Beef Stock
2 cups Water Or As Needed
1/2 cup Pearl Barley
1/2 teaspoon Thyme
1 whole Bay Leaf
1 can (14.5 Oz. Size) Diced Tomatoes
Heat a large stock pot over medium high heat. Add the olive oil. Brown the beef cubes for three minutes in the oil, then add the onions and garlic. Lower the heat to medium low and cook until the onions are cooked and just start to caramelize. Stir as needed to keep onions and garlic from burning. Lower heat if necessary; drizzle a little more olive oil if needed to keep food from sticking. Add everything except the tomatoes to the pot and stir well. Increase the heat and bring the soup to a boil, then turn heat to low, cover pot, and simmer for two hours, stirring occasionally. Adjust heat as necessary to keep soup at a slow simmer. If the soup thickens too much, add a little more water or broth. Taste to correct seasonings, then add tomatoes and simmer for another hour. Remove bay leaf before serving. serves 8 from http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/soups/beef-with-barley-soup/ by Terri @ that's some good cookin' The calories for this were about 350. (We only made a half batch since there are only three of us.)
The only things I did differently was to use 1) dried minced onions instead of fresh onions, 2) beef bouillion and more water instead of beef stock, 3) regular salt instead of sea salt/seasoned salt, 4) leftover pot roast beef meat instead of beef cubes for stew, 5) added a little bit of leftover green pepper.
Bloomin' Onion Bread
1 unsliced loaf sourdough bread
1 pound Monterey Jack cheese, thinly sliced
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup finely diced green onion
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the bread lengthwise and widthwise without cutting through the bottom crust. This can be a little tricky going the second way but the bread is very forgiving. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Insert cheese slices between cuts. Combine butter, onion, and poppy seeds. Drizzle over bread. Wrap in foil; place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Unwrap the bread and bake 10 more minutes, or until cheese is melted. serves 8 from http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/2011/05/bloomin-onion-bread.html Calories per serving were about 450.