Chicken Barley Chili

Chicken Barley Chili

This was a BIG weekend for Gene and me!  We got together with a group of folks who were our very first friends after we got married!  Wait.  Let’s back this thing up a bit!

Gene and I got married one weekend (in 1989), my very new husband flew to Germany the following weekend to report to his new base, and then I followed several weeks later after I got my military ID, passport, and travel orders.  God blessed us with a wonderful church there, and we got especially close to some people from our Sunday School class.  We spent a lot of time in each others’ homes and enjoyed traveling together sometimes too.

We had several years together there, then we scattered all over the world, quite literally.

Now fast forward to this weekend.  Five of those couples from way back then met up at Tybee Island for a friends’ reunion, and we were all SO excited!  We hadn’t seen each other for over 20 years!  We picked back up right where we left off!   (There’s just something special about military friends who are also brothers and sisters in Christ!)


You all KNOW what was required for this weekend, right?  FOOD!  And lots of it!  Lots of junk food, of course, but I knew some of use would want a healthier option at some point.   Since I live close by I cooked a big pot of soup ahead of time for us to have for lunch one day.  I suspected the other men would be like Gene, preferring a thick, hearty soup over a broth-y soup.  (But probably preferring pizza instead, if we’re being honest!)


May I introduce to you Chicken Barley Chili!  This stuff is incredibly easy to make, and it’s delicious!  I found this recipe on the back of a box of Quaker Barley years ago, and I’m still making it.  (And the recipe is STILL on the back of the box!)  Here is the recipe, copied from Quaker’s website.


      • 1 Can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained (may use tomatoes seasoned with peppers)
      • 1 jar (16 oz) salsa or tomato sauce
      • 1 Can (14.5 oz) fat-free chicken broth
      • 2/3 Cup Quaker® Medium Barley
      • 4 Cups water
      • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
      • 1 Teaspoon cumin
      • 1 Can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
      • 1 Can (15 oz) whole kernel corn or corn with peppers, undrained
      • 3 Cups (about 1-1/2 lbs) chicken breast, cooked, cut into bite-sized pieces
      • Reduced or no-fat cheddar cheese (optional)
      • Reduced or fat-free sour cream (optional)


In 6-qt saucepan, combine first 7 ingredients. Over high heat bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beans, corn, and chicken; increase heat to high until chili comes to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for another 5 minutes, or until barley is tender. If upon standing the chili becomes too thick, add more chicken broth or water until chili is desired consistency. If desired, top with shredded cheese and sour cream.

Note:  If you use “quick barley” your cooking time drops to about 20 minutes instead of 40.

Another note:  If you’re a Trim Healthy Mama, this is a yummy E meal!  (If you add the optional cheese and/or sour cream, it’s an amazing Crossover.  YUM!)

I usually double the recipe so I can freeze some portions of it for quick meal later.


This is a favorite of mine, and I hope you’ll like it too.  It’s super healthy AND filling AND yummy!  That works for me!

This is Day 3 of my Write 31 Days Challenge.  To see the full list of posts in this series, click here.  Thanks for stopping by my kitchen!



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12 thoughts on “Chicken Barley Chili

    1. I really like both recipes on the box. One is for this chicken barley chili, and the other is for a beef veggie barley soup. It’s fun when your dish at a church dinner is a hit, isn’t it!

      1. Yes, it is! And mine didn’t even come out very soupy. I finished cooking it, put the lid on and left. When I arrived, all the liquid had been absorbed so it was more like a beef barley hash but it was a hit and people raved about it!

  1. It sounds (and looks) delicious! I love to make a variety of soups or stews (or chili… is chili a type of stew? I think it is) throughout the winter and have them simmering in the crock pot. I’ll have to give this one a try this winter. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Rats! Commented then something happened. This chili looks scrumptious. I forget to buy/add barley but I love it. Pinning this recipe for this winter. Glad you enjoyed a weekend with your friends.

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