Meal-Planning & Chicken Barley Soup

Lately, while I have been doing fairly tough workouts with my buddies, I haven’t been working out enough in general (twice a week doesn’t cut it).  And to top it off, I’ve gotten a little lazy with watching what I’m eating.  I’m pretty sure the food is roughly 8 times more important than the exercise (I don’t want to bother you with the calculus involved. 😉 ).  So this weekend, I followed some guidance from Fitness Magazine, and tried to prep a bunch of stuff in advance so that it would be easy for me to eat healthy this week.

General prep for the week:

  1. poached 4 organic free-range chicken breasts, shredded the meat for use in soup, wraps, salads, whatever.
  2. cooked 1 cup (dry) of barley for soup, salads, etc.  Makes about 3.5 cups cooked.

This alone will help me behave.  Just having the right carbs on hand leaves me with no excuses.

But last night I also made this super-easy Chicken Barley Soup.  I got the recipe from Fitness Magazine (P.S. who subscribed to Fitness Magazine for me?   I have been wondering about it for months.  Thank you, generous friend/family.). Can’t find the recipe on their website yet, but here it is, from memory:

  • 1.5 cups cooked shredded chicken breast (substitute tofu if you’re feelin’ Veggie)
  • 4 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth (I used half vegetable broth, because I had some leftover in the fridge)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • ~3/4 cup chopped carrots
  • ~3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1.5 cups of sliced mushrooms (I used baby bellas)
  • 1/4 c chopped green onions
  • 1 3/4 c cooked barley
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning blend (I totally didn’t measure this, but the magazine says 2 tsp)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic (hahaha, more like 3 tsp over here)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

Heat olive oil in a large cooking pot (you’ll use this for the whole soup, so use your big — 4 quart? — pot).  Saute the garlic for about 30 seconds, then toss in the celery, carrots, mushrooms, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.  Let it all cook, until the mushrooms have given off most of their juices, 4-6 minutes.

Add the wine, and simmer until the wine has almost evaporated.  About 3 minutes…  Then add the broth, and bring the soup base to a boil, cooking until vegetables are soft enough for you.  This took about 8 minutes for me.

Add in the barley, chicken, and green onions, and cook until everything is heated through.  Adjust thickness of the soup to your liking, using broth or water. This takes less than 5 more minutes.

Makes 4 servings, according to the magazine.  I feel like it could easily stretch to 5-6 servings.  I had it for dinner & late night snack yesterday, and lunch today.  My boyfriend also took some for lunch today, and there is still enough left for one more serving in the fridge.  It tastes great!

————————————————————
I also picked up some chick peas, white beans, avocados, and some 100-calorie wraps to use with the remaining cooked chicken and barley.  Here are my thoughts for lunches the rest of the week:

Creamy Avocado & White Bean Wrap

Tomato, Feta, & Barley Salad (with Chicken)

Do you ever prep stuff in advance for your weekday lunches and dinners?  What do you make?  Is it always leftovers?  Any recommendations?

-Amanda

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