Foods to Secure a Happy St. Patrick’s Day and the Luck of the Irish!!

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St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday known for parades, shamrocks and all things Irish. From leprechauns to the color green, thousands of Irish Americans gather with their loved ones on St. Patrick’s Day to share a “traditional” meal of corned beef and cabbage. Some even celebrate with Shepherd’s pie. Try celebrating with traditional foods made a new way for a tasty variety!

Many Americans prefer corned beef in a Reuben. A traditional Reuben is a savory snack of rye bread, corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, dill pickles and Russian or Thousand Island dressing. Many of my friends love a Reuben Sandwich, so recently I tried a Baked Reuben Casserole, this gives you the taste of a Reuben with the ease of a crowd-pleasing casserole. It was a great hit!

Baked Reuben Casserole

5 to 6 slices of rye bread, divided
3/4 pound thinly sliced corned beef or pastrami (shaved)
1 cup rinsed and well-drained sauerkraut
3/4 cup dill pickles, chopped
1 teaspoon caraway seeds (I am not a caraway seed fan, so I leave these out)
4 cups Swiss cheese, shredded
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup prepared yellow mustard
1/4 cup Thousand Island salad dressing

Butter a deep (11x7x3-inch) baking dish. Preheat the oven to 350. Cut 3 to 4 pieces of the bread into cubes so that you have 2 cups of bread cubes. Line the bottom of the dish with the bread cubes. Cover with half of the corned beef. Make additional layers in this order: sauerkraut, pickles, caraway seeds, 2 cups of cheese, the remaining beef, and the remaining cheese. With a whisk, beat together the eggs, milk, mustard and Thousand Island dressing until well mixed. Pour over the casserole. Using a blender or food processor, make 1 cup of fresh breadcrumbs with the remaining slices of bread. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top of the casserole. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until set in the center. Serves 6.

Broccoli, Beef & Potato Hotdish

1 1/2 pounds broccoli, cut into 1-inch florets (about 6 cups)

2 tablespoons canola oil, divided

1 1/2 pounds 95%-lean ground beef

1 large onion, chopped

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided

4 cups low-fat milk

1/3 cup cornstarch

2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, preferably orange

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

4 cups frozen hash-brown or precooked shredded potatoes

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Canola or olive oil cooking spray

1/4 teaspoon Hungarian paprika, preferably hot

Preheat oven to 450°F. Toss broccoli with 1 tablespoon oil in a large bowl. Spread out on a baking sheet and roast, stirring once halfway though, until just soft and browned in spots, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add beef and onion and cook, breaking up the beef with a wooden spoon, until the beef is browned and the onion is softened, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in Worcestershire, garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

Whisk milk and cornstarch in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking often, until bubbling and thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, 6 to 8 minutes total. Remove from the heat and stir in Cheddar, 3/4 teaspoon salt and turmeric until the cheese is melted.

Spread the beef mixture in a 9-by-13-inch (or similar 3-quart) baking dish. Top with the broccoli and pour the cheese sauce evenly over the top.

Combine potatoes, egg, pepper and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Sprinkle evenly over the casserole. Coat the top with cooking spray.

Bake the casserole until it is bubbling and the potatoes are beginning to brown, about 40 minutes. Sprinkle with paprika. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 8, each serving contains: Calories 411, Fat 19 g, Cholesterol 115 mg, Carbohydrates 26 g, Protein 34 g, Fiber 4 g, Sodium 737 mg.

Steak with Roasted Cheddar Cabbage

2 medium red onions, cut into 8 wedges each

1/2 medium cabbage, cored and sliced 1/2 inch thick

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 teaspoon dried thyme

3/4 teaspoon salt, divided

3/4 teaspoon ground pepper, divided

1-1 1/4 pounds boneless strip steak (about 1 inch thick), trimmed

1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar, Gruyère, Swiss or Fontina cheese

Preheat oven to 450°F. Combine onions, cabbage, 2 tablespoons oil, thyme and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a large bowl. Transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast, stirring twice, until the vegetables are tender, 25 to 30 minutes.

About 10 minutes before the vegetables are done, pat steak dry and cut into 4 equal portions.

Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot, but not smoking. Add the steaks and cook until browned on the bottom, 2 to 4 minutes. Turn over, reduce heat to medium-low and cook to desired doneness, 3 to 5 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer to a plate and loosely cover with foil.

Push the vegetables into 4 mounds. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons cheese on each and return to the oven until melted, about 2 minutes. Serve the steaks with the vegetables.

Serves 4, each serving contains; Calories 352, Fat 21 g, Cholesterol 76 mg, Carbohydrates 14 g, Protein 28 g, Fiber 5 g, Sodium 597 mg.

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa, plus more for dusting finished cupcakes
2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch fine salt
1 bottle stout beer (you might try this with Mother Earth Chocolate Beer)
1 stick butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened at room temperature
3/4 to 1 cup heavy cream
1 (1-pound) box confectioners’ sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt.

In another medium mixing bowl, combine the stout, melted butter, and vanilla. Beat in eggs, 1 at time. Mix in sour cream until thoroughly combined and smooth. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet mixture.

Lightly grease 24 muffin tins. Divide the batter equally between muffin tins, filling each 3/4 full. Bake for about 12 minutes and then rotate the pans. Bake another 12 to 13 minutes until risen, nicely domed, and set in the middle but still soft and tender. Cool before turning out.
To make the icing:

In a medium bowl with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the heavy cream. On low speed, slowly mix in the confectioners’ sugar until incorporated and smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. Icing can be made several hours ahead and kept covered and chilled.

Top each cupcake with a heap of frosting and dust with cocoa.

Corned Beef and Cabbage Pizza

2 14 inch prepared pizza crusts of your choice

For the Toppings

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan
3 cups sliced green cabbage
Kosher salt
1 teaspoon pickling spices, tied securely in cheesecloth
1 large potato, peeled and thinly sliced
Freshly ground pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
6 ounces sliced corned beef
Prepare crust as directed.

Prepare the toppings: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cabbage, season with salt and cook until just soft, about 5 minutes. Add the pickling spices and just enough water to cover. Simmer over low heat, covered, until the cabbage is tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the cabbage and set aside (discard spices).

Place a pizza stone in the oven, if you have one, and preheat to 500 degrees. Toss the potato with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in a single layer on a baking sheet until golden, about 15 minutes.
Place the once pizza round on a floured pizza peel (if baking on a stone) or a large oiled pizza pan; drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Scatter half of each of the cheeses, corned beef, cabbage and potatoes on top. Season with salt and pepper. Carefully slip the pizza onto the hot stone, if using, or place the pan in the oven. Cook until golden and crispy, 10 to 15 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough and toppings. Yields 2 pizzas.