Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day With Irish Inspired Dishes

In honor of St. Patrick on March 17, plan a special meal or dessert to treat your family to Irish inspired dishes. Mini Fudge Brownie Bites with Mint Frosting and Andres Crème de Mint Thins Garnish are easy to assemble and make a tasty dessert for St. Patrick’s Day. Photo Contributed To The Observer

By Ann Cipperly

This year, whether you are Irish or not, treat your family to a meal featuring dishes inspired from the Emerald Isle of Ireland on March 17 for St. Patrick’s Day. It can be a fun and educational treat. Ask your family to wear green for celebrating the event.

My family didn’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day when I was growing up in Opelika. It wasn’t until Don and I were married and visiting his parent in New York on March 17 that we celebrated St. Patrick. While there was a parade, I was hoping his mother was making her scrumptious standing rib roast with Yorkshire pudding for dinner, but instead it was corned beef and cabbage. As a world traveler, she had a fondness for Ireland.

Once I learned about St. Patrick’s Day, I was interested in the missionary. St. Patrick was a 5th-century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland who converted the Irish people to Christianity.

History records that he was born in Roman Britain into a wealthy Romano-British family. His father was a deacon and his grandfather a priest.

When he was 16 years old, St. Patrick was captured by Irish raiders and taken to Gaelic, Ireland, where he spent six years herding sheep. During that time he became a Christian. He recorded that God told him to escape to the coast to a ship that would take him home.

After he became a priest, he felt his heart calling him back to Ireland to tell the people about Christ. At age 60, he returned to the northern part of Ireland and converted thousands to Christianity.

St. Patrick died on March 17 (believed by some to be in the year 460) and was buried at Downpatrick. Over the centuries, stories and legends were passed down. It is said he drove the snakes out of Ireland, while others say Ireland never had snakes.

The story of St. Patrick using a three-leaved shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity was discovered in ancient writings.

In the early 17th century, St. Patrick’s Day was made an official Christian feast day in Ireland.

Over the years, celebrations have involved parades, festivals, wearing of green clothing and in some cities, dyeing lakes or fountains green.

On St. Patrick’s Day, it became customary to wear green clothing or green accessories, the “wearing of the green”, which is the color associated with Catholics in Ireland. Green has been associated with Ireland since the 1640s or earlier. A green harp flag was used by the Irish Catholic Confederation.

Corned beef is the traditional fare for St. Patrick’s Day. Corned beef doesn’t have anything to do with corn. It received its name in Anglo-Saxon times when a granular salt called corn was used in processing the meat.

While you may not have an Irish background in your DNA, plan a special meal in honor of St. Patrick. Following are various recipes for preparing corned beef or creating a green hued dessert. Children can help with the Mini Fudge Bites with Mint Frosting and Andes Crème de Mint Thins Garnish. They can add the Andes candy and sprinkle green sugar on top. The Mint Frosting can be tinted green with a few drops of food coloring, but having raised a child with ADHD, I don’t like to use a lot of dye on desserts for children. The green sugar can be omitted.

Lisa Turner’s recipe for a Lime Cake makes a yummy and attractive dessert. For a deeper green color, add a few drops of food coloring to the cake batter and/or the frosting.

Instead of preparing a corned beef, you can assemble Reuben rolls or roll-ups from corned beef in the deli section of the grocery store. You can also use the same filling to make sliders with small rolls. If your family doesn’t like corned beef, try Esther Marshall’s delicious beef stew.

Whether you prepare an Irish meal or celebrate with a special dessert, the recipes from local good cooks will give you plenty of great ideas.

Classic Corned Beef and Cabbage

4 to 5 lb. corned beef brisket

1 medium onion, quartered

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 medium size cabbage, trimmed of outer leaves, cored and cut into 8 wedges

Place brisket, onion and garlic in a large pan or Dutch oven; cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Cover tightly and simmer for 4 hours.

Skim fat from liquid. Add cabbage; cover and cook 15 to 20 minutes.

Serve with boiled potatoes and a horseradish or mustard sauce, if desired. Slice against the grain.

Kay’s Corned Beef and Cabbage with Mustard Glaze

1 corned beef brisket – 2 ½ to 3 lb.

Carrots, optional

Potatoes, optional

1 head of cabbage, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

2 Tbsp. butter

¼ cup yellow mustard

½ cup brown sugar

Remove corned beef from package and rinse with cold water. I throw away the seasoning packet. Place corned beef in covered casserole; add water just to top of meat. Bake at 350 degrees for 3 hours.

After 2 hours, you may add peeled and chopped carrots and peeled and chopped potatoes to the meat.

While meat is baking, melt butter in 3-quart covered pot. Add cabbage and onion, salt and pepper to taste. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until cabbage is tender.

When corned beef is done, remove from oven and transfer vegetables to a serving bowl.

Score top of corned beef and spread with yellow mustard and brown sugar. Put back in oven for 10-15 minutes or until the topping is browned.

Corned Beef for Reuben Sandwiches

Trudy Baker

1 corned beef

1 cup soy sauce

3 bay leaves

2 garlic buds

2-3 tsp. Coleman’s dry mustard

4 oz. jar peppercorns

Dash of red pepper

Water to cover

Place all ingredients in heavy stockpot; bring to a boil and simmer 3 hours or until tender. Cool in stock. Remove bay leaves.

The grocery story always has Murphy and David’s packaged beef. If you use this brand, wash the meat thoroughly and discard packaged spices.

Reuben Egg Rolls

Bobby Samford

(I ordered these at McGuire’s in Destin and had to try to repeat!)

1 pkg. egg roll wraps

1 lb. thin sliced corned beef

8 oz. Swiss cheese (shredded)

½ cup sauerkraut

1 egg

Vegetable oil

Thousand island dressing

Beat egg and a tablespoon of water together for an egg wash to seal each wrap.

In each wrap place corned beef, pinch of Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut (to taste). Start rolling at a corner, folding in the sides as you roll. Seal final corner with egg wash. Do not overfill or wraps (very thin) will break open.

Pour 1-2 inches of vegetable oil in skillet; heat to 350 degrees; drop in egg rolls until browned 2-3 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towel and dip in thousand island dressing.

Reuben Roll Ups with Thousand Island Dressing

1 pkg. crescent rolls

½ cup Thousand Island Dressing

4 oz. corned beef, (can use deli slices) thinly sliced

4 oz. Swiss cheese, thinly sliced

1 cup sauerkraut, drained and lightly squeezed dry

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Unroll and divide crescent rolls. On each roll, place 1 tablespoon sauce, ½ oz. corned beef, ½ oz. cheese and 2 tablespoons sauerkraut. Roll up and place on a parchment lined pan.

Bake 13-15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Serve with extra dressing for dipping.

Thousand Island Dressing:

1 cup mayonnaise

½ cup ketchup or chili sauce

1 cup or less sweet pickle relish

Combine ingredients in a small bowl. Chill until ready to serve. Keeps well in refrigerator.

Crème de Menthe Pie

Jo Ellen James

Chocolate cookie piecrust

7 oz. jar marshmallow cream

1/4 cup green crème de menthe

16 Andy’s mints pieces

2 cups whipping cream

Mix marshmallow cream and green crème de menthe. Fold in candies. In a separate bowl, beat whipping cream and add to other mixture. Pour into crust. Place other broken mints on top to decorate. Place in freezer until firm.

Mint Oreo Truffles

Lindsey Alsobrook

12 oz. Baker’s chocolate

1 (15.25 oz.) pkg. mint crème Oreos

8 oz. pkg. cream cheese

12 oz. pkg. green candy melts, optional

Crumble Oreos until they are fine and there are no longer any large pieces (can be crushed in a zip lock bag or in a food processor).

Mix Oreos with softened cream cheese in a large mixing bowl.

Roll mixture into balls about 1 ½ Tbsp. each.

Place balls on a plate and freeze for 30 minutes.

Melt chocolate in a deep bowl and dip one truffle at a time in the melted chocolate. Place each dipped truffle on a baking sheet to firm.

Optional: Once firm, melt green candy melts and pour into a squeeze bottle and drizzle on top of each truffle.

Mini Fudge Brownie Bites with Mint Frosting and Andes Crème de Mint Thins Garnish


4 oz. (4 oz. box) unsweetened chocolate

1 cup butter, softened

4 eggs

2 cups sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup all-purpose flour

Mint Frosting:

½ cup butter or margarine, softened

1 box 10x powdered sugar

4 Tbsp. milk

2 tsp. peppermint extract

Green food coloring, optional


Andes Crème de Mint candies, cut in half

Green colored sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt chocolate and butter on low heat; add eggs, which have been beaten with the sugar. Stir in vanilla and flour.

Coat mini muffin tins with nonstick spray. Fill tins with batter.

Bake for 10 to 11 minutes or until brownies are set. Cool.

To make frosting, cream butter and add sugar alternately with milk. Add extract and food coloring, if desired. Spread over cooled brownies or make a large rosette with frosting in a pastry bag with tip.

Place half of an Andes candy into frosting, and then sprinkle green sugar over top. Candy and green sugar can be omitted.

Crème de Menthe Brownies

Pat Brown was a good cook and enjoyed cooking for her family. She shared this recipe with her friends who are still preparing it.

½ cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

4 eggs

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ tsp. salt

1 ½ cups Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup in a brown squeeze bottle

1 tsp. vanilla

Cream ½ cup butter. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Combine flour and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with chocolate syrup, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in vanilla.

Pour batter into a greased and floured 13 x 9 baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-28 minutes. Cool completely. (Brownies will shrink from sides while cooling.)

Filling and Topping

½ cup softened butter, divided

2 cups sifted powdered sugar

2 Tbsp. Crème De Menthe

6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cream 1/4 cup butter; gradually add 2 cups powdered sugar and Crème de Menthe, mixing well. Spread evenly over brownies. Chill 1 hour.

Combine chocolate morsels and remaining 1/4 cup butter in top of double boiler; bring water to boil. Reduce heat to low; stir until chocolate melts. Spread over brownies. Chill for at least 1 hour. Cut into squares while cold

Aunt Sadie’s Potato and Cabbage Salad

Cissy Yarbrough

10 potatoes, boiled in jackets, peeled and sliced

1 head green or red shredded cabbage

1 quart mayonnaise

3 onions sliced in rings

3 green peppers sliced in rings

Hard-boiled eggs, sliced

Celery seed

Salt and pepper

Paprika for garnish

In a large bowl, begin with a layer of shredded cabbage on the bottom. Add a layer of sliced potatoes, salt and pepper, celery seed, onion rings, pepper rings. Your own preference for onions and pepper will determine the amount. Add a layer of sliced eggs and then spread with mayonnaise to cover all. Start with another layer and another until all ingredients are used. End with a layer of eggs and mayonnaise. Garnish with paprika. Refrigerate 24 hours before serving.

 Shepherd ’s Pie or Cottage Pie

Melanie Consttance

Use ground lamb for a Shepherd’s Pie or ground beef for a Cottage Pie.

For the filling:

2 Tbsp. canola oil

1 cup onion, chopped              

2 carrots, diced small

2 cloves garlic, minced            

1 ½ lb. ground lamb (substitute ground beef for a cottage pie)        

1 tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. fresh ground pepper       

2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

2 tsp. tomato paste 

1 cup beef broth

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce                       

2 tsp. chopped rosemary

1 tsp. chopped thyme leave

½ cup corn

½ cup English peas

In a large saucepan, sauté onions and carrots in oil over medium 3-5 minutes, until onions are tender. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add lamb, salt and pepper and brown meat over medium high. Sprinkle meat with flour and stir to coat, cook another minute.

Add tomato paste, broth, Worcestershire and herbs; stir to combine. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Add corn and peas. Spread into an 11×13 dish.

For the potatoes:

1 ½ lb. russet potatoes            

1/4 cup half and half

2 oz. unsalted butter

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 egg yolk

8 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded

Peel potatoes and dice into 1/2-inch cubes. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Cook over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, and decrease heat to maintain a simmer, cooking until tender, about 10 to15 minutes.

Drain potatoes and return to saucepan, cooking briefly while stirring to get rid of excess water.

Warm half and half and butter. Mash potatoes and add remaining ingredients, except egg yolk, until smooth. Mix in egg yolk.

Top meat mixture with potatoes, being careful to seal edges, and bake for 25 minutes. Top with cheese and broil until lightly browned. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

Lime Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Lisa Turner’s Lime Cake makes a delicious and attractive green dessert for St. Patrick’s Day. For a darker green color, add a few drops of green food coloring to the batter and/or frosting.


3 cups all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

2 sticks (½ lb.) unsalted butter

2 cups granulated sugar

6 eggs

2 Tbsp. key lime zest

¼ cup key lime juice

½ cup buttermilk

1 tsp. vanilla flavor

Note: Key limes are not the same as regular limes. They are smaller and lighter in color and have a milder flavor. They will make for a better tasting cake. However regular limes can be used as well.

Lime Cream Cheese Frosting:

2 cups powdered sugar

4 oz. unsalted butter (softened to room temperature)

8 oz. cream cheese (softened to room temperature)

2 Tbsp. key lime zest

2 Tbsp. key lime juice

For the Cake:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and prepare three 9-inch cake pans for baking by coating with nonstick spray.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside in a bowl. 

In a mixer, cream the butter and granulated sugar together for about 2 minutes, until fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time.

After adding all the eggs, scrape down bowl and alternate adding the milk and dry ingredients by 3rds. Mix on low until well incorporated. Add lime juice and vanilla.

Fill the pans ½ to ¾ full with batter. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until thoroughly done.

Place on bakers rack until completely cool. 

For the Frosting:

Mix cream cheese and butter until fluffy.

Add powdered sugar ½ cup at a time.

Add lime zest and lime juice. Add green food coloring, if desired.

Note: add more juice for thinner icing or more sugar for thicker icing

Ice the cake after it has completely cooled and store in a refrigerator.

Beef Stew

Esther Marshall

If your family doesn’t like corned beef, try this delectable old fashioned stew.

2 lbs. stew beef or cubed roast

1 large yellow onion, cubed

1 bell pepper, cubed

3 stalks celery, cubed

3 carrots, cubed

4 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 box (32 oz.) beef broth

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp. black pepper

2 Tbsp. dried parsley

2 tsp. dried Thyme

2 tsp. rosemary (3 fresh 4 inch sprigs)

Brown onions, celery and garlic in 3 Tbsp. olive oil. Add meat; brown with seasonings. Add beef broth, and then add carrots and potatoes.

Add about 5  to 6 cups water.

Simmer about 2 hours until meat is tender and vegetables are done.


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