“Mom, do we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?” my little guy asked me other day. Without even the teeniest bit of Irish in my blood, I answered, “Of course we do!”
I’m a holiday kind of girl, especially when it comes to food and any chance I can get to make something new or different I’ll take it! Of course I’ll have a corned beef simmering all day in my slow cooker, some buttered cabbage and Irish soda bread muffins (maybe made with mini chocolate chips instead of currants!) and there will also be green bagels! What is life if you can’t celebrate the fun!
Holidays help me jazz things up a bit, so bring on St. Patrick’s Day and each year I’ll concoct something new. Whether I color foods green or combine Irish flavors in new ways, there’s no better way to celebrate a holiday than getting creative with food. I even make a corned beef empanada which my older son asks me to make every year.
Throughout the years I’ve made many St. Patrick’s Day inspired foods. Here are my absolute favorites:
Make it a Green Day — Since green fruits and vegetables happen to be our favorites, this one is an easy one. We start the day off with kiwi and honey dew melon, move onto celery and cucumbers for lunch and then dinner has to have asparagus, broccoli and kale. It’s a green fruits and veggie kind of day!
Color Your Food — Since this one is artificial, I hesitate to even write about it. But everyone knows how happy a green bagel makes a kid on St. Patrick’s Day. Squirt a bit of green food coloring into smoothies, pancakes, oatmeal, or muffins and you’ll serve and smile the day off to a good start!
Irish Soda Bread Muffins — I turned to King Arthur Flour for help and with a few tweaks to their recipe, we now have a St. Patty’s Day favorite. We’re completely addicted! These scone-like muffins, sans any caraway seeds (sorry my Irish friends but we really don’t like them in my house), filled with tiny currants are flaky, delicious and a fabulous way to start the day. Plus, they make a perfect bite size food to bring to school. Use mini chocolate chips instead of currants and you’ll definitely hit a home run pleasing the whole family.
Shamrock Soups — So many vegetable soups are naturally green that they’re an easy way to celebrate. My favorites are potato leek (using the dark green parts of the leeks to color the soup), creamy asparagus and broccoli soup.
Leftover Corned Beef Empanadas — You’ll soon get the recipe for these delectable empanadas inspired by pounds of leftover corned beef! Maybe a little strange, they are now my son’s favorite.
A Tad Irish Muffins
(Adapted from King Arthur Flour)
Makes 12 large or 30 mini muffins
Hold the caraway seeds and substitute chocolate chips for the currants and you’ve got a scone like breakfast muffin. Although it hardly resembles Irish soda bread, it’s delicious none-the-less.
2 ¼ cups unbleached white flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
1 ½ cups mini chocolate chips (or currants)
1 cup sour cream
6 tablespoons melted butter
Course sugar for sprinkling on the tops (optional)
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar and chocolate chips. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg, sour cream and butter. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry.
Grease the muffin tins with butter or baking spray and fill halfway with batter. Sprinkle the tops with sugar and bake for approximately 18 minutes.