More than 100 St. Patrick’s Day parades are held across the United States

St. Patrick’s Day, celebrated on March 17, marks the death of Saint Patrick in the fifth century & falls during the Christian season of Lent, Irish families would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. Lenten prohibitions against the consumption of meat were waived and people would feast–on the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage,( not corned beef. The popularity of corned beef compared to bacon among the immigrant Irish may have been due to corned beef being considered a luxury product in Ireland, while it was cheaply and readily available in America) As well, up until the 1970s, Irish laws mandated that pubs be closed on March 17. Beginning in 1995, however, the Irish government began a national campaign to use interest in St. Patrick’s Day to drive tourism and showcase Ireland and Irish culture to the rest of the world. Today, approximately 1 million people annually take part in Ireland ‘s St. Patrick’s Festival in Dublin, a multi-day celebration featuring parades, concerts, outdoor theater productions and fireworks shows

Irish Bacon and Cabbage

1 Shannon Traditional Slab Bacon (11/4 – 2lb)
1/2 green cabbage and 1/2 white cabbage
8 potatoes (peeled)
Salt and pepper

1. Remove slab bacon from plastic bag. Cover with cold water.

2. Bring to boil and drain.

3. Cover with fresh cold water. Bring to boil and then simmer for 25 minutes per 1lb plus 25 minutes over.

4. Remove outer leaves of cabbage. Cut in half, add to the saucepan and simmer for the last 20 minutes.

5. Remove bacon to chopping board and carve into thin slices. Drain cabbage, season with salt & pepper, chop and add a knob of butter.

6. Serve the bacon with the cabbage and boiled potatoes as well as your choice of sauce.

Today, people of all backgrounds celebrate St. Patrick’s Day throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, Singapore and Russia. The first parade held to honor St. Patrick’s Day took place not in Ireland but in the United States. On March 17, 1762, Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City. Along with their music, the parade helped the soldiers reconnect with their Irish roots, as well as with fellow Irishmen serving in the English army.

Whole-Wheat Irish Soda Bread

Soda breads are hearty Irish staples, often made from a wholemeal flour and wheat germ blend that is leavened with baking soda and moistened with buttermilk. Sometimes white flour is used in place of the wholemeal flour and wheat germ blend. The acid in the buttermilk reacts with the baking soda, which is an alkali, creating bubbles of carbon dioxide which rise the bread.

Makes: 2-pound loaf (12 slices)


2 cups whole-wheat flour

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2-1/4 cups buttermilk


1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and sprinkle with a little flour.

2. Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in buttermilk. Using one hand, stir in full circles (starting in the center of the bowl working toward the outside of the bowl) until all the flour is incorporated. The dough should be soft but not too wet and sticky. When it all comes together, in a matter of seconds, turn it out onto a well-floured surface. Clean any extra dough off your hands.

3. Pat and roll the dough gently with floured hands, just enough to tidy it up and give it a round shape. Flip over and flatten slightly to about 2 inches. Transfer the loaf to the prepared baking sheet. Mark with a deep cross using a serrated knife and prick each of the four quadrants.

4. Bake the bread for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 400° and continue to bake until the loaf is brown on top and sounds hollow when tapped, 30-35 minutes more. Transfer the loaf to a wire rack and let cool for about 30 minutes.

Cheddar-Ale Soup Serves: 6

What could be more appropriate than cooking with beer on St. Patrick’s Day? This creamy cheese- and beer-lover’s soup will have your taste buds dancing an Irish jig.


1 tablespoon canola oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 12-ounce bottle beer, preferably ale

2 18-ounce bags precooked diced peeled potatoes

1 14-ounce can vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 cup water

2-1/2 cups nonfat or low-fat milk

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1-1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided

1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced or finely chopped


Heat oil in a Dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add beer; bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes.

2. Add potatoes, broth and water; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and mash the potatoes with a potato masher to the desired consistency.

3. Whisk milk and flour and add to the soup. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook, whisking occasionally, until thickened, about 3 minutes.

4. Remove from the heat; stir in 1-1/4 cups cheese; keep stirring until melted.

5. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese and bell pepper.

Shamrock Dip

1 (8 oz.) pkg. Cream Cheese

¼ cup mayonnaise

2 T. Dijon Mustard

2 ½ oz. corned beef, chopped

2 T chopped red onion

2 tsp. freshly snipped parsley

¼ t salt

Soften cream cheese. Chop Beef and onion. Snip Parsley. Mix and serve with bread or crackers.

Leprechaun Lime Drink

1 Quart Lime Sherbet

½ cup limeade concentrate

2 Tablespoons sugar

24 oz. lemon lime soda

1 – 2 cups crushed ice

Measure limeade concentrate into a one gallon size pitcher. Add sugar and sherbet and mix together. Add soda. Mix all ingredients. Pour into glasses and zest a small amount of lime zest to each glass and serve.

Rockin’ Rueben Ring

¾ pound Corned Beef

1/3 cup Extra Mild Sweet and Sauerkraut

¼ cup Chopped Onion

1/3 cup fresh parsley

1 cup Swiss cheese, shredded

3 Tbsp. Bacon Flavored Thousand Island dressing

2 cans refrigerated crescent rolls

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 egg white, whipped

Preheat oven to 350°F. Unroll crescent dough; separate into 16 triangles. With wide ends of triangles toward the center of a large round pizza stone or baking pan, arrange 8 triangles in a circle. Corners of wide ends will touch and points will extend 1 inch beyond edge of Baking pan. Match wide end of each remaining triangle to wide end of each outer triangle; seal seams. (Note: Do not seal points overlapping in middle)

Chop Corned Beef and onion and mix together in a bowl. Snip Parsley and add to Bowl. Grate Swiss cheese. Add Cheese, Sauerkraut, Dressing and Pepper to Bowl and mix. Scoop mixture evenly onto arranged crescent rolls.

Beginning in center, lift one dough triangle across mixture. Continue alternating with outer strips, slightly overlapping to form ring. Tuck last end under the first.

Lightly brush egg white over dough.

Bake 20 – 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cut and Serve.

Leprechaun Pie (Makes one 9-inch pie)

6-oz. can Sweetened Condensed Milk

8-oz. can frozen Limeade

8-oz. tub Whipped Topping

3-4 drops Green Food Coloring, or more as desired

1 prepared Graham Cracker Crust or baked pie shell

Lime Slices (for optional garnish)

Thoroughly blend together the condensed milk and the limeade frozen concentrate. Fold in the whipped topping, adding green food coloring a few drops at a time until desired hue is attained. Pour the filling into the prepared graham cracker pie shell. Garnish pie with dollops of whipped topping and lime slices, too, if desired. Refrigerate for about 2 hours prior to serving. Slice to serve.

Best of cooking, Denise


  Denise Murray, now a 15-year resident of Forest Park. (Lived on the North shore of Chicago for 3 years prior, and a Southwestern before that) comes to us with over 33 years working in Food Service....

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