“Green” Food for St. Patrick’s Day

This Saturday, March 17, marks the celebration or shall we say the feast day of St. Patrick. For years the Irish would partake in this day with traditional Irish food and drink. In the 19th century, the color green became a symbol of Ireland and it has made its presence in the form of a green river in Chicago to the traditional green beer and Irish dishes.

For those of us that do not have a drop of Irish blood in us, it is an excellent excuse to celebrate and pretend to be Irish for a day! Are you planning your own party, get-together or family dinner this year? We are here to show you how to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with green themed food and traditional Irish dishes. But before you begin to tackle these recipes, make sure you brush up on ways to save energy in the kitchen.

Green Chile Macaroni and Cheese
Serves: 4 to 6
Prep/Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients
8 ounces elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons butter4 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup green jalapeno salsa
1 can (4 ounces) mild chopped green chile peppers
2 to 3 tablespoons finely chopped jalapeno peppers, canned or fresh, optional
8 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, about 2 cups salt, to taste
3 to 4 tablespoons chopped cilantro, optional
1-cup fresh finely ground breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons butter
Paprika

Directions:
Heat oven to 350° and grease a 2-quart baking dish. Cook macaroni in boiling salted water following package directions. Drain and rinse well. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the 4 tablespoons of butter. Stir in flour and pepper until well blended and bubbly. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Stir in salsa, chile peppers, and cheese. Cook, stirring, until cheese is melted. Taste and add salt, as needed. Combine with the drained macaroni; stir in cilantro, if using. Spoon into the prepared baking dish. Combine 2 tablespoons melted butter with the bread crumbs and sprinkle over the macaroni and cheese. Sprinkle lightly with paprika. Bake for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned and bubbly.

Irish Grilled Cheese
Ingredients
4 tablespoons softened butter
2 chopped parsley, scallions and chives
4 slices white bread
sliced Irish cheddar cheese
butter pickles
butter

Directions
Mash 4 tablespoons softened butter with 2 tablespoons each chopped parsley, scallions and chives. Spread the mixture on 4 slices white bread; top each with sliced Irish cheddar cheese and bread and butter pickles. Cover with 4 more bread slices. Spread plain butter on the outside of the sandwiches and fry in a skillet until golden on both sides. Spread the remaining herb butter on the warm sandwiches. Slice into quarters, then press the cut sides in more chopped herbs.

Enjoy!

Special thanks to Flickr user Pink Sherbert Photography.