Chicken Pesto Slow Cooker Soup

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This post updated October 2015 as part of the #ThrowbackThursday photography project. There are no old photos because apparently I was so embarrassed that I removed them previously and left the post without pictures. 

Delicious, healthy, comforting, and filling! This slow cooker chicken pesto soup is a hearty meal perfect for chilly weather!

Baby Girl entered our lives just under twelve weeks ago. Some things have changed dramatically, and other things have stayed the same, but the one thing that absolutely floors me is how quickly the time is passing. I saw one of her birth announcements on our living room table this weekend and then looked at the little girl in my arms and I paused as I marveled at the amount of change that has happened in such a short time. Then, as if to really emphasize this, I baked for a friend’s son’s first birthday two weeks ago and I’m baking for another friend’s son’s first birthday party this weekend. I clearly remember having cinnamon rolls and Dance Revolution parties and baking for her baby shower while she was expecting. This happened last week I’m pretty sure, but the calendar is saying something different.

Since my calendar is clearly trying to cheat me out of “living” time (maybe you too), we must devise crafty ways to fight back! Enter the slow cooker. Ya’ll know I’m a fan after discovering that not all crock pot meals have to include processed “cream of something”.

Delicious, healthy, comforting, and filling! This slow cooker chicken pesto soup is a hearty meal perfect for chilly weather!

This soup makes me happy. I love how filling it is and it makes the house smell amazing. The barley is a great substitution to rice or pasta because it doesn’t get all mushy in the slow cooker or the refrigerator if you have leftovers (we did). I’m not sure if you can freeze the leftovers with the barley. Maybe? If you’ve had experience freezing barley I’d love for you to leave a comment below and share your wisdom.

If you have an herb garden, this recipe also serves as a fabulous excuse to use up any basil you have on hand for the pesto (or try an arugula pesto for a bit of a spicier kick since really, leftover basil?). You can also just use jarred pesto, but seriously, homemade pesto is easy with a food processor. (Future blog post? Check!)

Delicious, healthy, comforting, and filling! This slow cooker chicken pesto soup is a hearty meal perfect for chilly weather!

Now go forth and reclaim that time the calendar keeps sneaking away!

Chicken Pesto Slow Cooker Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped (approx 1 cup)
  • 1½ cups celery, diced
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1.5-2 lbs chopped chicken breasts
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1 cup milk, room temperature
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese (I used a blend of three Italian hard cheeses)
  • ½ cup pesto (homemade or store bought)
  • salt and black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Add broth, celery, onion, pepper, garlic, chicken, and barley to slow cooker. Stir.
  2. Cover and cook on LOW for about 4-6 hours until the chicken is cooked and the barley is chewy and soft.
  3. Stir in milk, cheese, and pesto. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes on HIGH.
  4. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
  5. Ladle into bowls and serve.

 

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