Friday, March 19, 2010

Luck O' the Irish!

Wednesday, March 17th was St. Patrick's day. Perfect time to make the Shepherd's Pie and Irish Soda bread. Pure soul food!

Both dishes were very quick and simple and were put together in no time! I had the luck of the Irish on my side when I took a few short cuts and let my oven do the rest of the work for me!

Warmer temperatures, longer days, bright sunlight, no white stuff in sight and more green stuff springing out - shows the triumphant return of Spring! Why shouldn't one celebrate with comfort foods?!

Irish Soda Bread:

Whether or not you're Irish, this classic quick bread brings great aroma to your kitchen and equally great taste to your dining table! Have it with a good spread of light butter. It was similar to biscuits, with way too less fat!

3 tablespoons margarine(I used Becel), softened
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup raisins
3/4 cup or more buttermilk

How to:
Heat oven to 375ºF. Grease cookie sheet.
Cut margarine into flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl, using pastry blender( or crisscrossing 2 knives), until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in raisins and just enough buttermilk so dough leaves side of bowl.
Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead 1 to 2 minutes or until smooth. Shape into round loaf, about 6 1/2 inches in diameter. Place on cookie sheet. Cut an X shape(Why the "X" shape? Legend is that this cross is meant to scare away evil spirits. Spooky!) about 1/2 inch deep through loaf with floured knife.
Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with margarine, softened.
Serve with blobs of butter on it!

Shepherd's Pie
An equally easy, one pot dish that can satisfy any palate.

1 lb. lean ground meat
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 cup BBQ sauce
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 medium each red and green pepper, chopped
1 chopped Jalapeno pepper
1 Pack of instant mashed potatoes
1/2 cup hot water
1 cup milk
2 tbsp.butter
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

How to:
Cook ground meat and 1/4 cup of the onions in an oven proof sauce pot over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until meat is brown; drain well. Stir in barbecue sauce, 3/4 cup of the corn and the peppers. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to low to keep warm.
Meanwhile, cook potatoes as directed on package for 4 servings, using 1 pouch Potatoes and Seasoning, hot water, milk and butter. Stir in remaining onions and corn; let stand 5 minutes.
Spoon potatoes onto center of meat mixture, leaving 2 1/2- to 3-inch rim around edge of skillet; sprinkle cheese over potatoes and meat mixture. Broil until a beautiful golden crust is formed.

Enjoy with the Soda bread!

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