1-1/2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
4 medium red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1-1/2 cups fresh baby carrots, cut in half lengthwise
1 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup medium pearl barley
2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) beef broth
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes with basil, oregano and garlic, undrained
1 jar (12 ounces) home-style beef gravy
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Mashed potatoes, optional
In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove to paper towels to drain. In the drippings, cook beef and onion until meat is browned, breaking it into crumbles; drain.
In a 5-qt. slow cooker, layer the potatoes, carrots, corn and barley. Top with beef mixture and bacon. Combine the broth, tomatoes, gravy and pepper; pour over top (do not stir).
Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours or until meat and vegetables are tender. Stir before serving. Serve over mashed potatoes if desired.