Simple Summer Slow Cooker Dinner: Turkey Tenderloin with Barley and Vegetables
The title pretty much tells you what today's posting is about: a simple summer meal that you make in the slow cooker so that you don't need to heat up your kitchen. The turkey tenderloin is very low in fat and cooks on top of a vegetable and barley mixture. I use a rotisserie-seasoned tenderloin, but you could just as easily use a plain tenderloin or one seasoned with garlic and herbs. The tenderloin, even with little fat, cooks up moist in the slow cooker and lends its seasoning to the vegetable/barley mixture. Once you add the ingredients to the slow cooker, you're free to do whatever you'd like. After about four hours, you'll have a nicely seasoned protein, plenty of vegetables, and a grain ready to go for dinner. Just sprinkle some cheese over the turkey, if you'd like, and perhaps add a green salad for a tasty, nutritious, and substantial but not too heavy dinner. You might even have room for ice cream--later!
Turkey Tenderloin with Barley and Vegetables -- Serves 4+
1 1/2 cups of barley (pearled), rinsed well
3 cups of hot/boiling chicken broth or 3 cups of hot/boiling water mixed with 3
teaspoons of reduced sodium chicken "Better Than Bullion"
1/2 cup of chopped celery
1/2 cup of carrot shreds (or sliced carrot, is fine, too)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup of chopped bell peppers (red, yellow, orange, or a mixture)
2-3 zucchini, sliced into rounds
1 14-16 ounce can of diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon of lemon pepper
1 18-22-ounce package of seasoned or plain turkey tenderloins
1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
In an oval or 9 x 13-inch slow cooker, combine the barley, broth, vegetables, garlic powder, thyme, and lemon pepper. Lay the turkey tenderloins on top of the vegetable-barley mixture. (If you're using plain tenderloins, add salt to taste. The seasoned turkey tenderloins have plenty of salt for the whole meal!) Cover the slow cooker and cook the tenderloins and vegetable-barley mixture for about 4 hours on high. Remove the lid to the slow cooker and sprinkle the cheese on top of the tenderloins. Return the lid to the slow cooker just until the cheese melts. Slice the tenderloins crosswise and serve the slices with the vegetables and barley.