Cooks Exchange

St. Paddy’s Day recipes and more to please everyone at your table

Try making some Irish Soda Bread for St. Patrick’s Day.
Try making some Irish Soda Bread for St. Patrick’s Day. MCT File

How many people read recipes, even print them or tear them from a magazine or paper, never to make that dish?

Probably, a lot of people. I have clippings or printouts that I have never looked at twice.

Former Coastian Patsie Killegrew and I have been comparing, sharing and cooking recipes lately. She cooks for her multigenerational family, some of whom are picky eaters. She does have one grandson who will eat most anything she cooks. She is blessed.

When she finds a recipe for something she thinks everyone in her household will eat, she shares it with me, and I do the same. Of course, there are only three of us, and the 4-year-old likes very few dishes — macaroni and cheese, white rice and Long Beach Winn-Dixie’s fried chicken sans the crispy skin. She really hasn’t yet developed a taste for good eating.

Killegrew found a recipe called Hawaiian chicken and tried it, and I did, too. We both declare it a winner with our families. Two of her grandkids didn’t like the pineapple on the chicken, but ate it off the chicken. My daughter liked the chicken even with the pineapple. Granddaughter wouldn’t touch it.

We both did the chicken in the oven, but I think it would taste even better done on the grill.

One I prepared was another hit with my daughter: bacon-wrapped meatloaf. For this dish, you need a baking rack, so the fats can drain to the bottom of the pan. It is yummy, and I am not particularly a bacon lover. I know that is sacrilegious down South.

The meatloaf is moist and flavorful, but most of all easy to do. Killegrew has not made this yet, but it is on her to-make list.

A recipe we both found for a banana pudding cake is a keeper. I made two of them Sunday, one for a church lunch and the other for my father-in-law’s 91st birthday. He loved the cake and kept saying “this cake is really good. I am glad you are leaving the whole thing.”

The cake would be good for a quick-and-easy Easter dessert, too. Now, my granddaughter loved the batter, but wasn’t too sure of the finished product. A couple of church members asked for the recipe, so I will share it today, along with the meatloaf and Hawaiian chicken.

ST. PADDY’S DAY GOODIES

Irish soda bread does not sound as good as it really is. I love the round loaves with the cross on top, but thought Irish soda bread muffins would be good this year. The individual baked goods work well for children and for those who grab-and-go out the door on the way to school or work.

St. Patrick’s Day is Friday, and these take little time to make.

For school parties, cupcakes topped with white icing make the basis for a rainbow and gold coins. Use the multicolored Airheads for the curved rainbow and gold-wrapped chocolate coins for the pot of gold. A green velvet or green-tinted cupcake makes for a good base, but still use the white icing so the rainbow and gold coins are the focal points.

BEET GREENS

Reader Lynette Faul asked if beet greens were edible and wanted to know how to cook them. Three readers weighed in with their methods.

“Beet greens are one of the joys of having fresh beets,” said Black Chaffe. “Take the stem out of the leaf; wash thoroughly to avoid any grit (same as any greens). Cook similar greens in a pan or skillet with a tiny bit of water. Use butter for the fat rather than oil or bacon grease. Cook until the greens are wilted (much like steamed spinach). Serve hot. Hope this helps.”

When living in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Evangeline Wagner would pick up beet greens at the farmers market, free of charge.

“The farmers would tear off the greens from the beets and sell the beets and put the greens in their trucks,” Wagner said. “I asked what they did with the greens, and they told me they fed them to their pigs. I asked if I could buy some, and they just gave them to me.”

Wagner and her daughter-in-law washed the greens thoroughly and cooked them in a skillet with a little olive oil, salt pork and garlic.

“I cooked them like I do kale and spinach,” Wagner said. “The beet greens have a sweet flavor and cook up like spinach. You think you have a lot, and when they are cooked, there is just a little.”

She also freezes the fresh beet greens. She blanches the greens for 1 to 2 minutes, cools and puts in freezer bags in the freezer.

Doris I. Lyons said, “Young tender beet greens can be washed, chopped or torn and used in a green salad. Wash beet greens, and trim away any tough stems, then the greens can be treated the same as spinach.”

BACON-WRAPPED MEATLOAF

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef

1 cup panko crumbs

1 packet onion soup mix

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Freshly ground black pepper

Salt (do not use too much because soup mix has salt)

6 slices bacon

1/2 cup ketchup

3 tablespoons brown sugar

Mix first 8 ingredients together and form a loaf. Place on rack inside baking pan.

Combine ketchup and brown sugar. Brush on loaf. Use all the mixture.

Crisscross bacon slices on top of loaf.

Bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes, uncovered. Serves 8-10 depending on portion size.

EASY HAWAIIAN CHICKEN BAKE

4 chicken breasts

Salt and pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

4 teaspoons barbecue sauce

4 fresh pineapple slices

4 slices Provolone cheese

Salt and pepper chicken breasts. Sprinkle with garlic powder. Spread about 1 teaspoon of barbecue sauce per breast. Top with fresh pineapple, then place cheese slice on top. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.

Adapted from ‘Recipe Magic’

BANANA PUDDING POKE CAKE

Cake:

1 box yellow cake mix

Water, oil and eggs called for on cake mix box

Filling:

1 large box banana instant pudding and pie filling mix

3 cups cold milk

Topping:

1 8-ounce container Cool Whip

2 sliced bananas

Vanilla wafer cookies

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 13-by-9-inch pan with cooking spray. Make and bake cake as directed on box for 13-by-9-inch pan; cool in pan on rack 5 minutes.

With handle of wooden spoon (1/4- to 1/2-inch in diameter). Poke holes almost to bottom of cake every 1/2 inch, wiping spoon handle occasionally to reduce sticking.

In medium bowl, stir together filling ingredients. Pour over cake immediately; spread evenly over surface, working back and forth to fill holes. (Some filling should remain on top of cake.) Refrigerate 1 hour.

Spread whipped topping evenly over cake. Just before serving, top with banana slices and crumbled cookies. Cut into 5 rows by 3 rows.

From Betty Crocker

IRISH SODA BREAD MUFFINS

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

1 egg

1 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup canola oil

3/4 cup dried currants or raisins

In a large bowl, combine the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda and caraway seeds. In another bowl, beat the egg, buttermilk, butter and oil. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in currants.

Fill greased muffin cups three-fourths full. Sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to wire rack. Serve warm. Yield: 1 dozen.

Nutritional data: 1 each: 235 calories, 9g fat (3g saturated fat), 28mg cholesterol, 247mg sodium, 35g carbohydrate (17g sugars, 1g fiber), 4g protein.

From Taste of Home magazine

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