Beef and Kasha Mexicana

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Have you ever had buckwheat kasha before? Here in the U.S., I’ve seen it ground into flour and added to pancake mix. I was first introduced to it as a whole grain rather than a flour when I lived in Russia for 6 months. In Russia, they would serve it in place of rice in a pilaf, as a breakfast cereal sprinkled with a little sugar, or as a bed for a delicious gravy with some kind of meat in it. I came to love the distinct and nutty flavor of buckwheat kasha. It’s a very versatile grain and has lots of protein in it. In fact, it is one of the few plant sources that has all the amino acids to make a complete protein. Another thing that’s great about buckwheat is that it’s gluten-free.

Whole Grains
When I saw the Betty Crocker Whole Grains: Easy Everyday Recipes cookbook at the library, I picked it up thinking that I would find a new way to use this delicious grain and I was rewarded! Here is the amazing recipe I found:

Beef and Kasha Mexicana

1 lb extra-lean (at least 90%) ground beef

1 small onion, chopped (1/2 cup)

1 cup uncooked buckwheat kernels or groats (kasha)

1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained

1 can (4.5 oz) chopped green chiles, undrained

1 package (1.25 oz) 40%-less-sodium taco seasoning mix

2 cups frozen whole kernel corn (from 1-lb bag), thawed

1 1/2 cups water

1 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese (4 oz)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, if desired

2 tablespoons sliced ripe olives, if desired

  1. In 12-inch skillet, cook ground beef and onion over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is thoroughly cooked; drain. Stir in kasha until kernels are moistened by beef mixture.
  2. Stir in tomatoes, chiles, taco seasoning mix, corn and water. Heat to boiling. Cover; reduce heat to low. Simmer 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until kasha is tender.
  3. Sprinkle cheese over kasha mixture. Cover; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with cilantro and olives.

Betty Tip: This tasty main dish combines whole-grain kasha with beef and uses familiar Mexican ingredients. It’s a great transition recipe, when you’re just starting to eat grains. You can also use this mixture as a filling for tortillas.

Makes 6 servings.

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For this, I did not have lower sodium taco seasoning so I just used the regular, I used drained canned corn in place of thawed frozen corn, and I used fresh chives instead of cilantro because I didn’t have any fresh cilantro. Other than that, I followed the recipe exactly. I did double it because I thought it wouldn’t be enough for my family, but let me reassure you that this recipe makes good-size 6 servings. I did not need to double the recipe! This smelled so good while it was cooking and I was really excited to try it. The first serving was good, but it was very different from what I’m used to eating. I do have to say that the more I ate it, the more addicting it became! The second and third servings were incredible (Did I say third serving?…Yes, I did!). Since there were Mexican flavors, I thought topping it with a little sour cream would be really yummy and the sour cream was incredible on it. This meal will be added to my repertoire as it was incredibly easy and fast (dinner was ready in 30 minutes!) and it was so delicious. I think next time I will try it as a filling for tacos as suggested by the cookbook or serve it with tortilla chips and use it as a dip. Either way, it was so good and a very tasty way to introduce whole grains into your diet or just try something new!

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Note: If you’re wondering where to pick up some buckwheat kasha groats, I love the bulk foods section at Winco. It’s a great price and you can purchase as much or as little as you’d like. If you don’t have a Winco close by, you can purchase buckwheat kasha groats at any health food store or near the alternative flour section (ie. gluten-free flour section) of most grocery stores. It’s a little more expensive at the health food store or at the grocery store so that’s why I buy mine from Winco in the bulk food section. Happy shopping!


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