Saturday, March 12, 2011


This week holds a fun dinner for my family - Our St. Patrick's Day Dinner. My grandmother Alice was born in Ireland and so we can't let the day go by without a little celebration of our Irish roots! This year we will eat the traditional corned beef and cabbage and I am going to try my hand at Irish soda bread. I will also make our traditional rainbow cake except that this year, I will add (chocolate) coins at the end of it. I just use a mix to make it easy and skittles for the 'rainbow'. My kids love it. Wouldn't you know those sneaky leperchauns also manage to play a few tricks on us while I cook dinner. They turn our food green and leave little green treats by everyones plate. What a fun evening!

This week also features one of my favorites - Chicken Pillows and Baked Ziti. I am also including a recipe for Portobello Fajitas from my sister. They are low-fat and healthy. Save them for a day when the weather is good and you can use your outdoor grill (or you can just broil them on a broiling rack in your oven). I am also including a childhood favorite - GORPS. My mom used to make these all the time when we were kids. They are a healthier, filling snack that are so easy to whip up and my kids LOVE them.

And I will leave you with an Irish saying: "May you get all your wishes but one, So you always have something to strive for."

This Weeks Menu

Monday - Chicken Pillows w/ Green Beans
Tuesday - Marinated, Grilled Portobello Mushroom Fajitas
Wednesday - Baked Ziti & Garlic Bread
Thursday - Corned Beef & Cabbage and Irish Soda Bread
Friday - Chicken & Rice Casserole


Chicken Pillows

*ADDED NOTE* there are different variations of this recipe. My favorite version mixes a few tablespoons of butter with the cream cheese and then some fresh or dried chives that have been minced, mix in chicken (which I chop small). Put this mixture into the crescent rolls, and pinch the dough around them to cover. I then mix the sage with plain bread crumbs, dip the roll into melted butter and then roll into bread crumb/sage mixture to coat. I don't usually use a sauce but will serve it on the side for those who like it. :) I don't know exact measurements which is why I include the recipe below. Try both and see which you like better.

3 pkg pillsbury crescent rolls
4 chicken breasts
1 cube margarine
1 pkg cream cheese
1 tsp sage
1 can cream of chicken soup

Cook chicken. Cut up chicken. Mix margarine, cream cheese, sage and chicken together. Flatten out crescent and put spoonful of chicken mixture into crescent. Fold crescent. Bake at 350˚for 10-12 mins or until golden brown. Take out of oven. Pour a spoonful or two of soup over each crescent then serve.

Marinated, Grilled Portabello Mushroom Fajitas – From “Eat, Shrink & Be Merry”

1/2 c light balsamic vinaigrette dressing
2T steak spice rub (Montreal steak seasoning is what it is called in Canada)
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t chili powder
1/2 t dried oregano
4 large Portobello mushrooms (about 6 inch in diameter)
1T olive oil
1 large red onion, sliced
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 T lime juice
1T fresh cilantro
8 - 6" whole wheat flour tortillas
Fajita Fixin's: light sour cream, salsa, chopped lettuce, cheese, guacamole, etc

To make marinade, combine dressing, steak rub, cumin, chili poweder and oregano in a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, brush marinade over both sides of mushrooms. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
Preheat grill to high setting. Spray grill rack with cooking spray or brush lightly with oil. Grill mushrooms for about 3 mins per side, until tender with nice grill marks. Remove from heat. Cut each mushroom into 6 slices. Cover with foil and keep warm. (I use the broiler function in my oven for this in the winter)
Heat olive oil in large , non stick wok or skillet over medium high heat. Add onion slices and peppers. Cook and stir until vegetables are tender crisp, about 5 mins. Add lime juice, cilantro and reserved mushrooms. Stir gently and cook just until mushrooms are hot.
To serve, layer your favourite fajita fixin's on warm tortilla followed by cooked vegetables. Wrap up and enjoy!

Baked Ziti

1lb. dry ziti pasta
1 onion, chopped
1lb. ground beef
2 (26oz) jars spaghetti sauce
6oz. provolone cheese, sliced
1 1/2C. sour cream
6oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
2T grated parmesan cheese

Cook ziti pasta until al dente, about 8 minutes, drain. In large skillet, brown onion and beef over medium heat. Add spaghetti sauce and simmer 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 and butter 9x13 pan. Layer as follows: 1/2 of the ziti, provolone cheese, sour cream, 1/2 sauce mixture, remaining ziti, mozzarella cheese and remaining sauce mixture. Top with grated parmesan cheese. Bake 30 minutes or until cheeses are melted.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

3 pounds corned beef brisket with spice packet
10 small red potatoes
5 carrots, peeled and cut into 3-inch pieces
1 large head cabbage, cut into small wedges

Place corned beef in large pot or Dutch oven and cover with water. Add the spice packet that came with the corned beef. Cover pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer approximately 50 minutes per pound or until tender. Add whole potatoes and carrots, and cook until the vegetables are almost tender. Add cabbage and cook for 15 more minutes. Remove meat and let rest 15 minutes. Place vegetables in a bowl and cover. Add as much broth (cooking liquid reserved in the Dutch oven or large pot) as you want. Slice meat across the grain. Serve with mustard or horse radish.

Chicken & Rice Casserole

3-4 chicken breasts
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 16 oz sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
1 sleeve of Ritz crackers, or similar crackers
2 TBSP butter melted

Cook the chicken and cut into cubes. Mix cream of chicken soup, sour cream, chicken,
salt, and pepper together and spread in 9x13 pan. Crush the Ritz crackers and sprinkle crushed crackers over the top of the casserole. Spread the butter over top of crackers. Bake 350 for 30-40 minutes or until itʼs bubbling on the sides and itʼs heated through in the middle. While the casserole is baking, cook the rice separately. Serve the rice with casserole on top.

Amazingly Easy Irish Soda Bread

4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and margarine. Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk and egg. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form dough into a round and place on prepared baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk; brush loaf with this mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut an 'X' into the top of the loaf.
Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 30 to 50 minutes. You may continue to brush the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes.

GORPS - Good ol’ fashioned raisins and peanuts

1 c. corn syrup
½ c. peanut butter
¾ c. milk powder
1 c. oats
½ c. raisins
¼ c. wheat germ
½ c. chocolate chips (we like ours without)

Mix peanut butter and corn syrup. Add milk powder, wheat germ, then oats and raisins (and chocolate chips). Roll into balls (it helps if you keep your hands slightly damp with water so that the mix doesn’t stick – I keep a wet paper towel nearby to do this) and refrigerate until firm. Store in fridge in tightly closed container for up to a week.

1 comment:

  1. What a fun idea for the rainbow cake on St. Patricks Day!!! I think I might have to try that this year. :)