1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 1/2 cups water
2 large tomatoes (I used a ton of cherry tomatoes)
1 (15 ounce) can ro-tel tomatoes with juice (I use mild)
4 cups beef or vegetable broth (not bullion)
1/3 cup uncooked barley
1/4-1/2 teaspoon black pepper (I like 1/2 teaspoon)
2 cups chopped zucchini
1 can rinsed and drained kidney beans (or your favorite bean)
pinch of red pepper flakes if you like heat (optional)
Spray a large soup pot with vegetable spray and sauté the onions, celery and carrots until the onions turn soft and a little sweet.
Put the undrained can of rotel tomatoes
PLUS the two fresh tomatoes into the food processor and blend until smooth, then add to the pot.
Add everything else to the pot and simmer SLOWLY for 45 minutes, that's it; just stir it once in a while.
I'm SURE this could be easily done in the crockpot as well.