Southwestern Barley Chili

Southwestern Barley Chili

I was never a barley eater.  I had bad memories from back when I was a child being forced to sit at the dinner table and eat my bowl of chicken barley soup…..which I don’t think I ever did eat.  Since that time, I have never liked barley.  Recently, I discovered that I enjoy farro, which has a similar texture to barley and thought it was time to give the grain another try.  With all of the cold weather we have been having I’ve been trying to make lots of soups and chili and am always on the lookout for new and interesting recipes. This recipe inspired me to try barley again.  I figured the southwest flavors would appeal to the kids, while introducing them to barley for the first time.  I ended up discovering that although barley is still not my favorite grain, I can now eat and enjoy it!  Put some sour cream and cheese on anything and the kids will most likely eat it, including this!  This was a great chili variation and was a perfect dinner for a cold night.

Southwestern Barley Chili
Recipe adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Café, adapted from the back of the Quaker Medium Barley box


  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup medium barley (not quick cooking)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • dash cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 12 ounce bag frozen corn kernels
  • Optional Garnishes: shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, scallions, tortilla chips  (we used only shredded cheese and sour cream)


  1. In a large stock pot combine the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, barley, water, chili powder, cumin, dried oregano and cayenne. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat and add the chicken, stirring to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer the mixture for approximately 40 minutes.  Stir the chili occasionally to prevent sticking.  The barley should be tender and chewy and the chicken no longer pink.  After 40 minutes, add the beans and the corn, stirring to combine.  Simmer the chili for five more minutes, then serve with the garnishes of your choice.** Mel noted that the chili will thicken considerably upon cooling.  If reheating leftovers, you can add chicken broth or water as needed to achieve a desirable consistency.

Slow Cooker Garlic Honey Teriyaki Chicken Wings


The Mr. and I like chicken wings.  Growing up in high school and college, I remember many of the local bars and pubs having 10 cent wing nights.  Then when the Mr. and I were visiting a friend of his up near his alma mater, Binghamton University, we visited a local restaurant that served all kinds of different flavored wings.  We were in wing heaven!  Nowadays, we don’t eat wings very often and rarely, if ever, do we cook them at home.  I’ve seen many different recipes for slow cooker wings out there on the internet and Pinterest and thought we’d give it a try.  Instead of regular hot wings, I figured these garlic honey teriyaki flavored wings would appeal more to the kids.  Slow cooking definitely beats standing over a deep fryer!  And the kids did enjoy the sweet honey teriyaki sauce.  We are going to need to eat wings more often though and get our son accustomed to the mess of eating them.  He actually asked for a fork and knife to eat the wings with since they were “too messy!”  These are a healthier and easier to cook alternative to fried chicken wings.

Slow Cooker Garlic Honey Teriyaki Chicken Wings
Recipe adapted from The Housewife In Training Files

  • 2 lbs chicken wings
    Teriyaki Sauce:
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp cold water
  • Garnish: sesame seeds, scallions
  1. Make the teriyaki sauce by combining the water, soy sauce, honey, garlic and garlic powder in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Whisk together the cornstarch and water until dissolved. Add the cornstarch mixture to the saucepan.
  3. Heat the sauce until it thickens. Add more water if the sauce becomes too thick. Set aside to cool.
  4. Layer the wings in the bottom of the slow cooker and pour the sauce over them. Set on high for 3 – 4 hours, depending on size of wings.
  5. Once wings are finished cooking in the slow cooker, remove from the sauce and place on baking sheet.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for fifteen minutes.
  6. While wings are baking, pour sauce from slow cooker into a medium sauce pan and heat over high heat to reduce (approximately 15 minutes), stirring frequently.  Once wings are done baking, toss in the thickened sauce.
  7. Serve sprinkled with sesame seeds and scallions.

Spicy Cider Beer Braised Chicken Enchilada Tacos with Sweet Chili Apple-Pomegranate Salsa


As I mentioned yesterday, our supper club’s January theme was alcohol.  I chose beer, thinking I would make some type of beer-braised chicken dish.  When I found this recipe I knew this was what I was going to be making.  Saturdays are busy with our morning farmer’s market trip, my son’s basketball game, and our weekly trip to the library.  Tieghan from Half Baked Harvest, where I found this recipe, gives directions on how to cook the chicken in the slow cooker.  So, of course, I went that route! The name’s a mouthful, but the dish is oh so flavorful!  It went really well with the black beans and whiskey glazed carrots that other supper club members had made.   Everyone enjoyed these tacos!  The flavors of the spicy chicken mixed with the sweet of the fruit salsa worked really well together.  This is not a dish that I’d think of making for the kids, based on the “spicy” and “sweet chili” in the title.  However, we had lots of leftover chicken and for lunch the next day both kids ate tacos without the salsa.

Spicy Beer Braised Chicken Enchilada Tacos with Sweet Chili Apple-Pomegranate Salsa
Recipe very slightly adapted from Half Baked Harvest


  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 2 chipotle chilies in adobo, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, or more or less to taste
  • salt and peper
  • 1 (8 ounce) beer
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1/2 -3/4 cup enchilada sauce
  • 8 warmed flour or corn tortillas, for serving
  • sharp cheddar cheese and queso fresco for serving

For the Sweet Chili Apple-Pomegranate Salsa:

  • 2 apples, finely chopped (we used gala)
  • arils from one small pomegranate
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 2-4 tablespoons sweet thai chili sauce


1. Add chicken through enchilada sauce into crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or low 4-6 hours. Shred the chicken and return to the crockpot. If needed cook the chicken oh high for 30 minutes with the lid off to help thin the sauce.

2. Meanwhile, make the salsa. Add the chopped apple, pomegranate arils, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice and sweet thai chili sauce to a bowl. Toss well to combine, taste and adjust if needed. Cover and store in the fridge until ready to serve.

3. Once the chicken is done cooking, remove it from the pot and shred with two forks. Meanwhile reduce the sauce that is left in the pot down to about 3/4 of a cup. Add the shredded chicken back to the sauce in the pot and toss. Next add the enchilada sauce and continue to cook about 2 minutes or until warmed through. If the sauce gets too thick, add a splash of apple cider.

4. To serve, add the shredded chicken to a warmed taco shell. Top with cheddar, avocado and then the apple salsa. Sprinkle with queso fresco and chopped cilantro.