By Katie Moosbrugger

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner.  I found a couple of traditional St. Patrick dinners and desserts that are not only easy to make, but chances are good your kids will enjoy them too. Wouldn’t that be lucky? Print today’s blog as a shopping list and gather your ingredients. Involve the kids and make March 17th a complete St. Patrick’s Day celebration with fun food, history, customs, games and crafts.



Irish Stew Recipe

~ 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour, divided
~ 1 ½ pounds lamb stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
~ 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
~ 3 medium onions, chopped
~ 3 garlic cloves, minced
~ 4 cups beef broth
~ 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
~ 4 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
~ 1 cup frozen peas
~ 1 teaspoon salt
~ 1 teaspoon dried thyme
~ ½ teaspoon pepper
~ ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
~ 2 tablespoons water

~ Place 1/3 cup flour in a large resealable plastic bag. Add lamb, a few pieces at a time, and shake to coat.
~ In a Dutch oven, brown lamb in batches in 2 tablespoons oil. Remove and set aside. In the same pan, saute onions in remaining oil until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
~ Add broth, stirring to loosen browned bits from pan. Return lamb to the pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour or until meat is tender.
~ Add potatoes and carrots; cover and cook for 20 minutes. Stir in peas; cook 5-10 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender.
~ Add seasonings and Worcestershire sauce. Combine remaining flour with water until smooth; stir into stew. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Yield: 8 servings (2-1/2 quarts).

Irish Soda Bread

~ 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
~ 2 tablespoons caraway seeds (optional)
~ 1 teaspoon baking-soda
~ 3/4 teaspoon salt
~ 1 1/2 cups (about) buttermilk

~ Preheat oven to 425°F.
~ Lightly flour baking sheet.
~ Mix flour, caraway seeds, if using, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Mix in enough buttermilk to form moist clumps.
~ Gather dough into ball.
~ Turn out onto lightly flour surfaced and knead just until dough holds together, about 1 minute.
~ Shape dough into 6-inch-diameter by 2-inch-high round.
~ Place on prepared baking sheet. Cut 1-inch-deep X across top of bread, extending almost to edges.
~ Bake until bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on bottom, about 35 minutes.
~ Transfer bread to rack and cool completely.

Cheddar-Topped Shepherd’s Pie

~ 2 pounds baking potatoes (about 4), peeled and thinly sliced
~ Coarse salt and ground pepper
~ 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, such as safflower
~ 6 medium carrots, halved lengthwise, quartered if large, and thinly sliced
~ 6 celery stalks, thinly sliced
~ 1 large onion, chopped
~ 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
~ 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
~ 1/4 cup tomato paste
~ 2 pounds ground beef chuck
~ 1 cup whole milk
~ 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar (6 ounces)

~ Preheat oven to 450.
~ Place potatoes in a large saucepan, and cover by 1 inch with salted water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife, 15 to 20 minutes.
~ Heat oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium-high. Add carrots, celery, onion, and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add flour and tomato paste; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add beef; cook, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink, 6 to 8 minutes. Add 1 cup water; bring to a boil, and simmer 1 minute. Set beef filling aside.
~ Drain potatoes; return to pan. Cook over medium, stirring, until liquid has evaporated and a thin film covers bottom of pan, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat; add milk and 1 cup cheese. Mash until smooth; season cheddar-potato topping with salt and pepper.
~ Pour beef filling into a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Drop dollops of topping over filling; spread to edges with a spatula. Using a fork, make decorative peaks; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake until topping is browned and filling is bubbling rapidly, about 20 minutes (if topping and filling were chilled, increase to 35 minutes). Let stand 5 minutes before serving.


Luck o’ the Irish Brownie

~ 4 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
~ 1 cup margarine, softened
~ 2 cups white sugar
~ 3 eggs
~ 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
~ 1 cup all-purpose flour
~ 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
~ 2 tablespoons milk, or as needed
~ 1 ½ teaspoons peppermint extract
~ 6 drops green food coloring
~ 1 1/3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
~ 6 tablespoons butter
~ 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
~ 1/2 cup butter, softened


~ Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.
~ Melt the unsweetened chocolate in a cup or small bowl in the microwave. Stir at 15 second intervals until chocolate is smooth. Allow to cool slightly. Transfer to a large bowl, and stir in the margarine and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Stir in the flour just until blended. Pour the batter into the prepared dish and spread evenly.
~ Bake in the preheated oven until the surface appears dry and the sides are beginning to pull away from the edges of the pan, 20 to 25 minutes. The brownies may look more like cake and may jiggle slightly in the center- this is normal. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan set over a wire rack.
~ To make the middle layer, beat 1/2 cup of butter with confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl using an electric mixer. Add milk as needed to get a spreadable consistency. Stir in the peppermint extract and green food coloring. Spread this over the cooled pan of brownies. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
~ In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave chocolate chips with the butter until melted. Stir every 20 seconds until chocolate is smooth. Stir in vanilla and then pour over the chilled brownies and quickly spread to cover the surface. Cool again until firm, about 10 minutes, then cut into squares and serve.


Leprechaun Hat Cookies

~ 1 pouch Betty Crocker™ sugar cookie or chocolate chip cookie mix
~ ½ cup butter or margarine, softened
~ 1 egg
~ 1 container (1 lb) Betty Crocker™ Rich & Creamy vanilla frosting
~ ¼ teaspoon Betty Crocker™ green gel food color
~ 24 large marshmallows
~ 24 small (1-inch) chewy chocolate candies
~ 12 small green gumdrops

~ Heat oven to 375°F. In medium bowl, stir cookie mix, butter and egg until soft dough forms. Roll dough in 24 (1-inch) balls. On ungreased cookie sheets, place 2 inches apart.
~ Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Immediately place marshmallow on each cookie. Remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.
~ In microwavable bowl, microwave frosting on High 30 seconds. Stir; frosting should be a thick spoonable glaze. Stir food color into frosting, adding more if needed to achieve desired color. Spoon warm frosting over each cookie, coating completely and allowing excess to drip off. Let stand 20 minutes to set.
~ Roll chocolate candies into ropes. Flatten with rolling pin into 1/8-inch-thick ribbons. Cut into strips with scissors to resemble hat bands; arrange around base of marshmallow on each cookie. Cut gumdrops crosswise in half (reshaping as needed). Press cut side onto hat band. Lift cookies onto serving platter with pancake turner, leaving excess frosting behind. Store in airtight container.

St. Patrick’s Day Mint Shakes

~ 1 pint vanilla ice cream (2 cups)
~ 1/4 cup whole milk
~ 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
~ 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
~ 3 or 4 drops green liquid food coloring
~ Whipped cream and green sanding sugar, for garnish

~ Blend the ice cream, milk, peppermint extract, vanilla and food coloring in a blender until smooth. Pour into one or two serving glasses and garnish with whipped cream and sanding sugar.