I recently tried this Good Housekeeping recipe that was suggested to me by a great friend of mine. Turns out that even though it is super healthy, it actually tastes good too! Prepping the squash is a bit of a pain, but once you accomplish that, the slow cooker does the rest. I served it with grilled old bay seasoned shrimp, but it would be great plain, as a side or with pretty much any other protein you like.
2shallots, thinly sliced
2sprig(s) fresh thyme (I used a palm full of dried thyme)
2cup(s) pearl barley
4cup(s) lower-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1large (2 1/2-pound) butternut squash, peeled and seeded, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Note - I cooked this recipe for 2 and it was WAY to much food. I would suggest cutting it in half unless you have an army to feed.
In 12-inch skillet, melt 1 tablespoon margarine on medium-high. Add shallots and cook 2 minutes or until golden, stirring often. Add thyme; cook 30 seconds. Add barley and cook 2 minutes or until toasted and golden, stirring often.
Transfer to 6-quart slow cooker bowl, along with broth, water, squash, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook on high 3 1/2 to 4 hours or until liquid is absorbed and squash is tender.
Uncover; discard thyme. Add Parmesan, remaining tablespoon margarine, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Gently stir until margarine and Parmesan melt. Transfer one-third of mixture to container; refrigerate up to 3 days. Transfer remaining mixture to serving dishes and garnish with parsley.