1 quart homemade chicken stock (from freezer)
2 cups cubed cooked chicken (from freezer)
1 cup cubed cooked ham (from freezer--removed from 3 cup packet)
1 small (old regular) can of Ro-tel diced tomatoes & green chilis with lime juice & cilantro
1 can black beans, drained
1 cup pearl barley
3 leftover button mushrooms, sliced
about half of an orange bell pepper, sliced into strips
about a third of a (larger) green bell pepper, sliced into strips
some Italian seasoning (herb mix)
This emptied a box of mushrooms (which have gone into two big soups and several other meals), and left me with one more meal's worth of bell peppers (green & orange) to play with. It leaves me with two cups of cubed ham (and several more packets, 2 cups each, of chicken and turkey) in the freezer.
The barley's getting done. It looks scrumptious; I hope it tastes that way.
Once you have your quart of homemade chicken stock and your packets of cubed cooked chicken (or turkey, or ham, or both) just about anything else you add will work. A little leftover Italian or Polish sausage? Slice it up and toss it in. Chopped/diced celery and/or carrots? Sure. Parsley, of course. That bell pepper (any color) languishing in the fridge? Yup. You can of course do without the starch, but if you want one, rice or barley are equally good, and you could throw in some pasta. Diced tomatoes & green chilis--a dash of lemon or lime juice--chopped greens--any kind of cooked beans (I just happen to like black beans a lot. Red or white beans would work just fine.) You could even use potatoes, though I usually save those for beef-based soups. Whole kernel corn, of course, if you like.
Time to eat, I think...
(Well, yes, of course you can use store-bought chicken stock or chicken broth. I just prefer my own. Which has no salt, no preservatives, and the mix of flavors I chose to put in the pot when making stock. You can use store-bought everything--and I certainly do use Ro-Tel's diced tomatoes & green chilis as I'm a lousy tomato-dicer, and canned black beans, and no, we don't grow our own barley. So no guilt trips intended, however you do it. Including buying a can of soup and just heating that up.)