Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 35 minutes Serves: 6 servings Nonstick cooking spray or olive oil to grease the casserole dish
3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking or regular pearl barley
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced yellow squash
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced zucchini
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups shredded low-fat cheese, such as cheddar, provolone, or jack with jalapeños
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Measure the ingredients; stir the vegetables, cheese, and thyme into the barley; sprinkle the cheese on top of the casserole.
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a large ovenproof casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray or olive oil.
2. In a 3-quart covered pot, bring the broth to a boil over high heat. Stir in the barley, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until tender but firm. (If using regular pearl barley, you’ll need to add about 30 minutes to the cooking time.) Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a greased, medium-size skillet, saute the red pepper and the onion over medium heat for about 3 minutes, or until soft. Remove from heat and add to the cooked barley. Stir in the yellow squash, zucchini, thyme, 1 1/2 cups of the shredded cheese, and the pepper.
4. Transfer the barley mixture to the prepared casserole dish; sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and lightly browned. per serving ( 1/6 recipe, about 1 1/2 cups): 330 calories, 10 g fat (0.7 g saturated), 551 mg sodium, 19 mg cholesterol. The barley makes this dish a great source of fiber.