I love that this recipe is so simple and easy to change up. You can use almost any kind of vegetable like squash instead of green beans or potatoes instead of barley. My kids always loved this soup on a cold winter night.
Use a medium sized soup pot. I put about 2T vegetable or olive oil in the pot and sautee the onions and carrots first until the carrots are almost fork tender and the onions are almost soft.
Add the ground beef and break it up as it cooks till browned. This is where I would add the seasoning. I use fresh from my herb garden if I can. This allows those flavors to cook right into the meat.
Now add your beef stock, green beans, mushrooms and stewed tomatoes. I swish in another can of water after I empty my tomatoes. Then I add another cup of water.
Add your barley last and stir well. Simmer on medium low heat for about 30-45 minutes or until barley puffs up nice and plump. Be sure to stir a few times while cooking so the barley doesn't just sit on the bottom. This will give you a nice thick soup. If you want to stretch it or if it's too thick just add a beef bouillion cube and more water to suit your taste. You can serve with crackers or some toasted garlic french bread.