Wednesday, March 15, 2017

5 Easy St. Patrick's Day Recipes

My grandfather's family (on my dad's side) came to the United States in the mid 1800's during the Irish potato famine. They settled in Carson City, a small town in northern Michigan where they started a farm, built a house and became part of the community.

Years ago when I was a kid that side of my family had a reunion in the small town where our Irish ancestors first lived. The original farm house and land had been sold to an Amish family who continued to farm the land. The kind Amish family allowed us to wander the land, peek into the barns and just soak in the history. 

My favorite part was visiting the local cemetery where grandpa and his siblings pointed out headstones and names of past relatives. 

I'm not sure what percentage Irish I am (cause I'm really a "mutt") but with a last name like O'Brien it was a heritage that was truly embraced once a year on March 17! My mother (who isn't Irish at all) threw everything into celebrating that special day each year. As kids, we'd wake up to a fresh pile of green pancakes, green orange juice and anything else she could dye green and serve for breakfast! Dr. Seuss would have been proud of her green eggs and ham!

She also made these minty green sugar cookies that were shaped into shamrocks. Every year she would package plates of them for each of my sisters and I to bring to school to give to our teachers. This was fun and all in our early elementary years but by high school is was just plain embarrassing! She is still making these cookies today (and my kids love them too). 

Anyway, with St. Patrick's Day around the corner I thought I'd gather a few recipes that are simple yet have a traditional Irish flair to them and share this with you. 

#1. Irish Soda Bread

Since this bread doesn't have yeast as leavening these simple ingredients come together quickly to make a delicious bread that you can serve as a loaf or put in muffin tins to bake for individual serving sizes. The beauty of this bread is the "X" cut into the top of the raw dough prior to baking. It gives the bread such a unique look and it goes well with a hearty Irish stew. For a great recipe visit this site

#2 Irish Colcannon

Colcannon is traditionally made from mashed potatoes and kale (or cabbage), with milk or cream, butter, salt and pepper. You can also add other ingredients such as scallions, leeks, onions and chives. Colcannon is often eaten with boiled ham or Irish bacon. Click this link for a great recipe!

#3 Shepherd's Pie

This could be considered one of the BEST Irish comfort foods yet! Vegetables mixed in a seasoned gravy topped with mashed potatoes then baked until golden brown - Yum. Pure Yum. Originally called cottage pie, this simple recipe can be whipped up quickly and will definitely be a crowd or family pleaser dish. Check out this site for a simple yet tasty recipe.

#4 Skillet Roasted Lamb Loin

Simple and elegant is what this recipe is. Rub the loin with herbs + garlic + shallots, roll it and tie it up then sear it in a skillet. After you have a good sear put the loin in the oven to finish baking. The flavor of this tender meat is out of this world! You can get the complete recipe here.

#5 Irish Apple Cake

No meal is complete with out a dessert, am I right? Here is a simple Irish apple cake that can easily be paired with your after dinner coffee with a shot of Bailey's. For the delicious recipe click here.

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Happy St. Patrick's Day! And may the luck of the Irish be with you throughout this year! Oh, and don't forget to wear your green on March 17 - or you just might get pinched. 

I'd love to hear how you and your family celebrate St. Patrick's Day - leave me a comment telling me how you make this day special.


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