Easy College Eats | Beef & Barley Soup + Cheesy Toasts

The only reason I eat at Panera is for their chicken and wild rice soup and because it can be quite expensive, I decided to make a few soups of my own. My favorite of all time is beef and barley, so I whipped out my Instant Pot and cooked a week’s worth in 60 minutes. Waco’s weather has been inconsistently frigid recently, which makes this soup the perfect meal to combat the cold. I paired each bowl with a few slices of crispy, cheesy, garlic bread that I made myself as well!


  •  For beef & barley soup
    • One and a half pounds stew meat
    • Four large carrots
    • 16 oz bag small potatoes
    • One yellow onion
    • Three cloves of garlic
    • One container of baby bella mushrooms
    • One cup pearl barley
    • 10 oz can diced tomatoes
    • Three cups beef stock
    • Two tablespoons butter
    • Salt, pepper, basil, oregano, thyme, two bay leaves
  • For cheesy toasts
    • Large bread baguette
    • Butter
    • One clove of garlic
    • Shredded cheese of your choice (I went with an Italian mixture)


  • For soup
    1. Turn Instant Pot on Sauté mode.
    2. Prep the carrots and onion by dicing into small cubes (would be a mirepoix if I added celery) and chop mushrooms into quarters. Cut garlic into tiny bits. (same first two steps as my braised short ribs recipe!)
    3. Cut stew meat cubes into tiny bite pieces that would fit in a spoon.
    4. Melt butter in the pot once it reads “HOT.”
    5. Cook all of the meat until almost completely brown (should take less than a minute) and then remove and place in a bowl.
    6. Cook onions and garlic until translucent and fragrant. Add carrots until softened and scrape all the brown bits from the bottom and sides.
    7. Return meat to the pot and add barley, mushrooms, bay leaves, diced tomatoes, seasonings, and immerse with beef stock.
    8.  Press the Pressure Cook button and set timer for 45 minutes. Make sure venting knob is set at “Sealing” not “Venting.”
    9. Once 50 minutes are up, release pressure by turning the knob to “Venting.”
    10. Remove bay leaves from soup.
    11. Enjoy with garlic cheesy toasts!
  •  For toast
    1. Slice baguette into half inch pieces.
    2. Chop garlic clove into small pieces.
    3. Butter thoroughly and top with garlic bits and cheese.
    4. Place slices in toaster until cheese is golden brown and bread is crunchy.