How do I qualify "good"? It's good if most of my kids will eat it.
*This is not the barley version. I forgot to take a picture of that. See below.
This recipe is what I came up with after tweaking the recipe on the box of Quick Barley. The quick is the only kind my store sells; if you use pearled or another variety of barley you'll have to cook it much longer. If you're going to do that, you can use a beef bone or stew meat. Then it will no longer be Good & Fast, just Good, in which case you can disregard this post because here it's all about the Fast. Don't let the screen door hit ya on your way out.
Now here's for the rest of you with a husband just about to walk in the door or six hungry kids or the impatient equivalent:
Brown the ground beef and drain. Stir in the onion and garlic. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until the barley is done, about 10 min. The beef base has lots of salt, so do not add any salt until you taste it. You can also add some pepper if you like. If you want another flavor leave out the ground beef and use a different soup base, like chicken or vegetable.
*The last time I made this I already had some leftover cooked wagon wheel pasta in the fridge, so I used that instead of barley. I added it at the last minute just to warm it through and keep it from getting mushy.