Monday, January 9, 2012

Beef and barley soup from Fresh and Easy

What to get: a tub of Beef and Barley soup
Where to get it: Fresh&Easy Market

Why we approve: This soup is a winner in a few departments: it's thick and extremely satisfying, it's a recipe that takes forever to make at home and it's super delicious. From a weight loss or maintenance perspective this is a great central dish to your meal: it only has 110 calories per cup, and 8 grams of protein. Double the serving and you have 16 grams of protein - not too bad. They put kale in there, which adds texture, and the barley is not a lot but proves that we love the childhood memory of this soup, because it's fun to chew on. There are not huge chunks of beef in there, so you can fix that by adding some slices of roast beef on the side. 

Preparation: open the package, measure out your desired amount and place it in a pot. Add 1/4 cup of water for each cup of soup - I feel that it needs a bit of thinning. For those of you microwave loving folk, I am sure a microwave instruction is on the package - I personally have no clue how to heat anything in a microwave.

Variations: Serve this soup with a couple of extra slices of roast beef, and why not some leftover chicken or pork. You can even add some crisp bacon bits if your diet permits. Grate cheese on top? Why not! I have a feeling that you can add some precooked quinoa or barley and thicken it up with a more solid carbohydrate source if you have had a very active day. Feel like more greens? Add a cup of spinach leaves and a bit more water while you are heating it.

Note: I found this soup to be a bit salty. Roland said it was not salty enough. At 300 mg of sodium per cup I don't think in needs any extra.

Pros: great taste at a reasonable price, saves time and it's very filling. They have a 2 for 6 dollar special right now, so it's very well priced. The taste is better than you would expect from anything store bought. The ingredients are mostly good. You could eat this cold in the office - maybe along some string cheese :)
Cons: There is no telling what the natural flavoring in there is. Well, those are the risks of a grab on the drive home meal - it's a small amount, so I would not sweat it.

Bon apetit!

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