This recipe from Penzeys is a cheap, easy, and tasty cold-weather classic. It's also great if you're recovering from illness, as I found out recently when I made it for some friends recovering from The Stomach Plague of 2011 . . . which we passed along to them. Sorry, Goffs! I imagine you enjoyed the gift of soup more than the gift of nausea that preceded it.
The soup's ingredient list is quite flexible. For example, you can add more carrots or leave out celery, depending on what you have on hand.
6 c. beef, chicken, or vegetable broth (or 6 c. water and 6 t. Better Than Bouillon, which is what I used)
1/2 c. pearled barley
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 small potatoes, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 c. (or so) fresh parsley, chopped
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Add everything to a stock pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 50-60 minutes, until the barley is soft.
I'm making it again this week!