A Taste of Ireland: St. Patrick's Day Recipes
Celebrate with these healthy versions of the comfort food classics.
By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD
Weight loss clinic WebMD – Column of experts
Reviewed by Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD / LD
St. Patrick's Day is not just about dressing green. It's the party when many Americans make an extra effort to eat like the Irish. It may be the only time a year that we sit down to a dinner of cabbage and cabbage.
When we think of "Irish food", we often think of the irrepressible potato. But the potato was not really brought to Ireland from the New World until about 300 years ago. In addition to potatoes, beef and dairy farming are strong in Ireland. But the most popular meat to serve at Sunday's big meal is (drum, please)? Pork!
The wheat and barley crops have been growing in Ireland for about 5,000 years, and oats and rye became staple cereals about 1,500 years ago. You will find these smart cereals rich in carbohydrates in many Irish recipes.
Speaking of recipes, I thought I might be in the mood for some fun Irish dishes. These are lighter versions of the original Irish recipes, and each includes daily suggestions.
Mini Potato Cakes
The original recipe for potato cake requires making a large pancake the size of a pan and dividing it into 4 segments once it is golden brown. In this version, we cut the dough into 3-inch round mini cakes.
3/4 cup unbleached white flour
2 tablespoons butter, cooled
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups mashed potatoes (the leftover mashed leftover works very well)
1 tablespoon of medium and medium fat or low fat milk (if necessary)
Canola cooking spray
About 1 tablespoon of canola oil (optional)
Add the flour to a medium bowl. With a plastic knife, cut the butter into small pieces and add to the flour. Use a pastry blender to cut the butter in the flour until the granules are formed. Measure the salt and baking powder and add to the flour mixture; Stir well with a fork. Measure and mix in mashed potatoes. Knead the mixture in the container with your hands, incorporating as much of the flour mixture as possible in the mashed potatoes. Add a half and a half tablespoon of fat or milk, if necessary, to turn the mixture into a batter. Stretch the dough on a floured board, using a rolling pin, until about 1/2 inch thick. Cut the dough into circles using a round biscuit or 3-inch cookie cutter. Heat the griddle or non-stick pan over medium heat. Lightly grease the bottom of the pan with canola oil (or canola cooking oil). Add the potato cakes to the pan, sprinkling the caps with canola oil. When the bottoms are well browned, turn the cakes with a spatula to brown the other side. (If you want to add cheese on top of the cakes, do it now). When the bottom is golden, remove the cakes to the plate to serve.
Serving Suggestion: Although not required in the original recipe, these cakes are delicious when you sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese on top while cooking on the second side. When the second side has browned, the cheese melts!
Makes 10 mini cakes (about 5 servings).
Per portion (without cheese): 132 calories, 3 g of protein, 19 g of carbohydrates, 5 g of fat, 13 mg of cholesterol, 1 g of fiber, 261 mg of sodium. Calories from fat: 35%.
Irish chicken and meatballs
I have been told that Chicken and Dumplings is the best Irish food. Here is the "Recipe Doctored" version: lighter in calories and fat grams, but it's still comforting.
2 cans (10.75 ounces each) of Healthy Cream of chicken soup with low fat content, condensed
3 cups of water
1 cup of sliced or chopped celery
2 medium onions, chopped into large pieces
1/2 teaspoon of salt (optional)
1/2 teaspoon seasoning for birds
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 boneless and skinless chicken breast halves
4 whole carrots, sliced (about 4 cups)
1/2 cup of frozen peas
2 large potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch slices, then cut into quarters
1 1/2 cups low fat Bisquick baking mix
1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/3 cup half and half fat-free or low-fat milk
In a large saucepan, add condensed soup, water, celery, salt if desired, onions, seasoning for poultry, pepper, chicken breasts, potatoes and carrots. Carry boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pan. Simmer about 30 minutes. Remove the chicken from the casserole, cut it into small pieces (or divide it in a saucepan with a spatula), return to the casserole and add the peas. Add Bisquick, butter and a medium to medium-medium bowl without fat and mix to a smooth dough. Place the dough with spoonfuls in the stew over low heat. Cover the pan and simmer about 20 minutes. Uncover the pan and simmer 10 more minutes. Serve hot!
Makes 6 servings
Per serving: 347 calories, 24.5 g of protein, 51.5 g of carbohydrates, 4.5 g of fat (1.2 g of saturated fat, 0.8 g of monounsaturated fat, 1.6 g of polyunsaturated fat), 50 mg of cholesterol, 5 g of fiber, 465 mg of sodium. Calories from fat: 12%.
Cabbage is the best half of the famous Irish duo, "corned beef and cabbage." This is a tasty recipe for cabbage that you can easily make in a large nonstick skillet.
3 slices of turkey bacon Louis Rich
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 head of cabbage, cut into 4 segments.
1 cup low-sodium chicken or beef broth
1/2 teaspoon sugar or Splenda
Pepper to taste
1 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar of rice wine or cider vinegar
Add the turkey bacon strips to a large nonstick skillet and cook over medium heat until crisp. Remove the strips to a paper towel to cool. Crumble the bacon and set aside. Add the onions to the pan with the turkey bacon drops (there will not be much) and cook over medium heat until lightly browned (4 minutes). Add the cabbage, broth and sugar to the pan with the onions. Cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid and cook until the cabbage and broth evaporate almost (approximately 5 minutes more), stirring occasionally. Add the turkey bacon and the vinegar. Serve immediately.
Makes 3 servings
Per serving: 78 calories, 5 g of protein, 7.5 g of carbohydrates, 3.4 g of fat (0.9 g of saturated fat, 1.3 g of monounsaturated fat, 0.9 g of polyunsaturated fat), 12 mg of cholesterol, 2.2 g of fiber, 225 mg of sodium. Calories from fat: 38%.
Baked lemon pudding cake
This is an old-fashioned family dessert. It is separated into two very different layers: a cakel-shaped layer on top and a creamy layer of pudding on the bottom.
Canola cooking spray
2 tablespoons of butter (margarine can be substituted with low content of trans fat or with low fat content)
6 tablespoons of Splenda
6 tablespoons superfined granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup of lemon juice
Grated lemon, finely chopped
1/2 cup unbleached flour
1 1/4 cups of low-fat milk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cover a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray. In a bowl, mix butter or margarine thoroughly with an electric mixer. Add the Splenda and the sugar and beat well. With an egg separator, separate the eggs; Store the egg whites in another bowl. Add the yolks to the butter mixture one by one; Gradually add lemon juice and lemon zest. The dough will look like lemon frosting at this point. Slowly add the milk to make a thin dough. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites until stiff with an electric mixer. Gently fold the egg whites into the lemon mixture. Mix the flour gently until they are mixed. Pour the dough into the prepared cake plate. Place the pie plate in the preheated oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove the pie plate from the oven and allow the pudding cake to cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired and / or serve with fresh sliced strawberries.
Makes 6 servings
Serving Suggestion: Try it with strawberries and light whipped cream.
Per serving (without strawberries and whipped cream): 170 calories, 5 g of protein, 24 g of carbohydrates, 6 g of fat (3.3 g of saturated fat, 2 g of monounsaturated fat, 0.4 g of polyunsaturated fat) , 83 mg of cholesterol, 0.4 g of fiber, 83 mg of sodium. Calories from fat: 32%.
Originally published on March 11, 2004
Medically updated on March 17, 2010.
© 2005 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.
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