I've been making something very like this for years without the pine nuts. Usually I add some sliced water chestnuts and a little soy sauce to the chicken or veggie broth. I've also added sliced and quartered zucchini and/or summer squash to it (around 1-1 1/2 cups, I think-ymmv). I've also added some lightly browned cubed chicken breast meat to it or brown chicken breast filets or pork chops and then place them on top of the barley and cover the casserole with foil or a lid before cooking. I'm going to try this tonight with some almonds that I have in the pantry.
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I've been making something very like this for years without the pine nuts. Usually I add some...