Classic Beef-Barley Soup

1 1/2 pounds lean beef cubes
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2/3 cup pearl barley
3 to 4 medium carrots, diced
1 package of sliced mushrooms (button or portabello)
3 ribs celery, diced
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes
3 1/2 to 4 cups beef broth
2 c. water
1 (10 1/2 oz.) can tomato soup (optional)
1 bay leaf
1/4 c. minced parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:Brown beef, onion, and garlic in skillet; drain well. Transfer meat mixture to slow cooker; add barley and remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on high 1 hour then on low 5-6 hours. Can be made on stove top or slow cooker. Serves 6.

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