Tag Archives: St. Patricks Day

Shepherd’s Pie, Shamrock’s and Shillelagh’s; A St. Patrick’s Day Feast!

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……….more being Irish on St. Patrick’s Day! March 17th is the feast day of the Patron Saint of Ireland, St. Patrick. What better way to celebrate a feast day than with a feast?!? Even a tricky little leprechaun couldn’t talk my family into eating corned beef and cabbage, which is why I made a feast of a different kind:

Shepherd’s Pie

Shillelagh Sautéed Broccoli

Irish Soda Bread

Minty Milkshakes


Delicious dinners are best enjoyed at a beautiful table. To me Ireland represents both the gorgeous, rustic countryside and the elegance of fine china, cut crystal, and stunning linens. I love the juxtaposition of the casual with the formal. I covered my table with a cheerful, apple green tablecloth with paisley’s and floral scrolls, and rich brown woven placemats. More of everything is always better so I added a gold leaf charger, white china with a scalloped edge and a dessert plate with Kelly green paisley’s (to echo the paisley in my tablecloth). Ireland always makes me think of wonderful textures, like nubby burlap, which is why I chose one of my favorite, heavily woven napkins. Again, I love the combination of rustic with elegant, so I chose to use green beaded napkin rings. Of course, nothing but the sparkle of cut crystal would do for both the water and wine glasses. As a centerpiece, I filled a footed glass pedestal bowl with fingerling potatoes, flanked by shamrock plants (Oxalis) and crystal candlesticks. For a little extra charm, I placed a sweet clown, adorned with shamrocks and a framed needlepoint “Kiss Me I’m Irish” plaque.  


With such a hearty meal planned, I only put out a few little snacks; Kerry Gold Reserve Cheddar, Blarney Castle Smooth and Creamy Gouda with salami and crackers. Fresh veggies are always a hit, so I placed the carrots, cucumbers, snap peas and peppers in individual cabbage leaves. They were just darling.

Shepherd’s Pie:

4 lbs of boneless beef short ribs (can be cut into smaller 1” cubes)

3 Tbsp vegetable oil

6 cloves of garlic

1 ½ Tbsp fresh chopped rosemary

1 ½ Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper

1 onion, peeled, quartered and sliced

¾ cup turnips, peeled and chopped

1 ½ cups carrots, peeled and chopped

1 ½ cups parsnips, peeled and chopped

2 cups tomatoes, diced

2 bay leaves

1 ½ cups beef broth

1 cup red wine

Champ Potatoes:

5 lbs potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 cup of buttermilk

6-8 scallions, sliced and rough chopped

1 stick of butter

Pre-heat the oven to 300°

In a large bowl, combine;


1 Tbsp oil



Worcestershire Sauce

Salt and pepper

In a skillet, heat 2 Tbsp oil, over medium-high heat

Add beef and brown on all sides

Remove beef and place in a baking dish 

Add onions and sauté for approximately 4 minutes

Turn off heat and add to the onions;





Bay leaves

Mix well

Evenly spread over beef in baking dish


In the skillet, heat;



Pour over beef and vegetables

Cover with aluminum foil

Place in the oven

Cook for two hours

In the meantime, you can get the potatoes prepped. No need to start cooking them though until the last 40 minutes that the beef is cooking.

Champ Potatoes:

Place butter, sliced into Tbsp size pieces, into a large bowl

In a large stock pot, cover the potatoes with cold water, bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.

Cook for 25-30 minutes, or until tender


Pour potatoes on top of butter, so the butter melts a little bit

In a saucepan, add;



Heat through and simmer for about 5 minutes

Add milk and scallions to potatoes and butter, mashing with a potato masher or hand mixer

After 2 hours, remove the beef from the oven

Pre-heat the broiler

Skim a few cups of juice from the beef

Cover the entire baking dish with potatoes

Broil until the potatoes are lightly golden, only a few moments and watch carefully

While the beef is cooking, you can make the Irish Soda Bread

2 eggs, beaten

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 cups of flour

½ tsp salt

½ tsp baking soda

1 cup of buttermilk, plus more if needed

Pre-heat oven to 400°

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper

In a small bowl, beat eggs and set aside

Grate Parmesan cheese and set aside

In a large bowl, mix together;



Baking soda

Add milk, a few Tbsp’s at a time, turning into a soft dough

You may need to add a little extra milk so the dough isn’t so sticky

Knead until the dough is well combined


On a floured surface, knead dough and roll out into a rectangle shape, approximately 1/2” thick.

Cut dough into 12 rectangular pieces

Brush each piece with egg wash

Sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese

Place dough onto parchment paper

Bake in oven for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until nicely browned

Shillelagh Sautéed Broccoli:

1 lb broccoli florets

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

2 tsp brown sugar

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

Broccoli can be prepared in advance

Prepare and ice bath

Bring a pot of water to a boil

Add broccoli and cook for approximately 3-4 minutes (you don’t want the broccoli to get mushy)

Drain and submerge in ice bath

Drain again and place on paper towels to soak up the moisture

If you are preparing the broccoli in advance, place it in a paper towel lined Ziploc baggie and refrigerate until ready to use


Add the brown sugar to the Parmesan cheese and set aside

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat

Add the cooked broccoli, seasoning with the pepper flakes, salt and pepper

Toss, so the broccoli is well coated, cooking for 2-3 minutes

Turn off the heat and sprinkle generously with the Parmesan cheese mixture


On a dinner plate, place heaping spoonful of the Shepherd’s Pie, broccoli and the Irish Soda Bread.

If you still have room for dessert, there’s our Minty Milkshakes


1 ½ quarts softened, vanilla ice cream

1 ½ cups milk

York Peppermint Patties

Green food coloring

Whipped cream

In a blender crush 8 peppermint patties

Add ice cream


Several drops of food coloring

Blend until well mixed

Pour into tall glasses

Garnish with whipped cream and a peppermint pattie



Irish Blessing:

Like the warmth of the sun
And the light of the day,
May the luck of the Irish
shine bright on your way.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!!

More celebrating, more sharing meals, more Irish Blessings…..

Feast Of St. Patrick: Shepherd’s Pie
Shillalegh Sauteed Broccoli



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The luck of the Irish…brings spring!

Top o’ the evening to ya!
“May good luck be your friend in whatever you do,
and may trouble always be a stranger to you.”

Oh, thank goodness for St. Patrick’s Day!! The snow has melted and the sun is shining, spring is on its way (until Sunday when snow is forecasted…but I refuse to believe it for a minute!). I was so inspired by the sunshine that I decided it was at long last time to retire the snowmen. For the most part I prefer snowmen to Santa’s when decorating for the holidays. Santa is just plain silly come January, whereas a snowman is at home until the last snow fall (which in Chicago can unfortunately mean through April. I can’t tell you how many times opening day for the Cubs is endured only with the benefit of down parkas, fleece lined boots and hand warmers in your mittens. Brrr.).

Some of my snowmen are especially charming. On the mantle shelf, above the cook top in my kitchen, were Mr. and Mrs. Cute Snow Couple. They are wearing coordinating red nubby jackets, trimmed with faux fur. He is quite jolly with a sprig of mistletoe tucked into his top hat, while she is elegant in her faux fur chapeau embellished with a little bit of holly. For years my pal Judy and I have been going to Christmas at the Faire, which isn’t as much a craft fair, but an opportunity for artisans to display their wares. It’s super fun to attend the preview night. The women come from miles around at 5 o’clock in the evening, on a Thursday night, and the line to get in snakes around the building. Everyone is dressed in their holiday finest as we shop, chat and have what is always a beautiful buffet dinner. We gals will do anything for a night out and these people don’t even serve wine! Though over the years Judy and I have perfected the experience, first by bringing a flask (shopping is so much better with a buzz), and then the past few years by flaunting our bad behavior by bringing bottles that we set out right on the tables. Rebels I tell you! Anyway, three years ago when we were on our little adventure, Judy and I both bought snowman paintings on canvases. Having never hung mine up before (quite frankly I misplaced it in the basement and forgot that I had it), I dusted it off, and found a home for Sally (that’s what I’ve named her) on my kitchen mantle. She was lovely.

I am a hoarder of all things, silly snowmen included. Because I am a gluttonous pig I also purchased this pedestal snowman from the Faire. His name is Fred. He spoke to me because he is sparkly and I am easily distracted by shiny objects. All it takes is a dusting of glitter. What I appreciate about him from a decorating perspective is that he adds height, but not bulk, so we works quite nicely in a grouping. Fred has lived in a number of places. He has been in the Foyer, the Powder Room and now the Kitchen. He really gets around. This year I was loving him on my island as a compliment to an iron basket full of melon sized glittery snowballs. To complete my vignette I framed our Christmas picture, a great close up of Nick, Amanda and Wrigley, and placed it next to our Christmas card from seven years ago which was an equally delightful a close up of Nick and Amanda (two months prior to Wrigley’s adoption). I am a proponent of the close up. Unless you are wearing a fabulous dress, have a great action shot, or are showcasing a landscape, the close up is the only way to go.

So, out with the cold and in with the spring! I bought this great oil painting, depicting these sweet bunny rabbits sharing a lettuce leaf last year, but I had yet to find them a home. I think they are perfect on my shelf! To balance out the equation I rested it slightly off center and placed a bird cage candle holder to the right. What I love about the birdcage is that it is tall and slender, so it adds some height, but not so much that it competes with the picture frame. It also brings an airy quality to the vignette because you look right through it. The addition of the candle adds dimension. To the left I have selected a large floral ball. It serves two purposes. The ball in this instance adds texture and the sphere is an interesting contrast to all of the linear objects. Every kitchen needs a rooster or three (and possibly 14 pieces of artwork too. I’ll have to show you those another day). It’s so very French….. Oo la la! What works so beautifully about this particular rooster is that it is sculptural, for another perspective, it is colorful and works seamlessly with my green cabinets, but it is also linear to mimic the height of the birdcage on the other side. For my personal aesthetic I’m crazy for balance, but not necessarily symmetry. I find that balance provides for a more pleasing display. I’ve never been one for the matchy matchy Garanimals look. I prefer more whimsy in my visual diet.

Speaking of whimsy, Target is the single most amazing store ever. High style, low prices. Genius! Several years ago I was cruising the aisles at Target, which is one of my all times favorite past times (Amanda and I were cruising their aisles this very afternoon as a matter of fact. Super cute stuff too. More about that later….). I spotted this amazing wire rooster. It was a seasonal item, intended for the yard, but I saw so much more. In essence this is a piece of art (just because it comes from Target with a reasonable price tag, doesn’t mean we should discard its artistic merit). Elliot (come on, he just looks like an Elliot) stands proudly at 30” tall, which is rather large when anchoring an island. He only works because he is sculpted out of wire, so even though he is huge he maintains a light, aristocratic quality.

All this spring talk makes me want to buy flowers, but I guess we’ll have to wait a little bit longer. You know how the saying goes…..April showers bring May flowers. Happy days, we’re almost there…….

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