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Celebrate St. Patrick with Irish-inspired snacks, main dishes

Thursday is St. Patrick's Day and - if you're like me - it snuck up on you this year. Maybe it was that hour of sleep we lost last weekend when we went to daylight saving time. Who knows?

But, while green beer always seems to be on tap for the occasion, maybe you're looking for a couple of last-minute snacks and quick supper ideas to help you celebrate all things Irish.

Well, the luck of the Irish is with you ... you've found the pot of gold! The Idaho Potato Commission has a collection of Irish-inspired recipes you can serve all month long to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland.

The first two recipes take a favorite snack - nachos - and give them an Irish twist. Two others are perfect main dishes for a weeknight supper.

Irish-style Nachos

3 pounds potatoes (waffle cut using a mandoline)

1 pound corned beef, small dice

2 cups Irish sharp cheddar, shredded

2 tablespoons fresh horseradish, grated

1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

2 teaspoons chopped chives

Drizzle of truffle oil

Deep fry waffle-cut potatoes until crisp. Set aside to drain on paper towels.

Arrange fries on a sheet pan and sprinkle cheese, corned beef and horseradish evenly on each fry.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes or until cheese has melted.

Arrange fries on a platter, drizzle truffle oil and garnish with chopped chives. Serve and enjoy.

Makes 8 servings.

Recipe from: Patterson Watkins Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, via Idaho Potato Commission

Crisp slices of roasted potatoes get topped with corned beef, sauerkraut, melted Swiss cheese and thousand island dressing. It's the perfect crowd-pleaser for any occasion.

Reuben Irish Nachos

1 pound red potatoes, cut into 1/8-inch slices

1 tablespoon canola oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1-1/2 cups chopped corned beef

1-1/2 cups sauerkraut, drained well

1 cup grated Swiss cheese

1/2 cup pre-cooked crumbled bacon

3 tablespoons thousand island dressing, plus more for serving

2 tablespoons sliced scallions, for garnish

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Add potato slices to a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.

Transfer the potato slices to the prepared baking sheets, spreading them out in an even layer, making sure not to overlap the slices. Bake for 12 minutes on each side, or until golden and slightly crispy.

Turn the oven down to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a cast iron pan or small baking dish. Layer the potatoes in the bottom of the pan. Top with chopped corned beef, sauerkraut, and grated Swiss cheese (in that order). Sprinkle with crumbled bacon. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

Drizzle the dressing over the top and garnish with scallions. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings.

Recipe from: Jennie Phaneuf, food blogger, One Sweet Mess, via Idaho Potato Commission

Fusing two classic dishes, chicken pot pie and shepherd's pie, to make a new family favorite meal.

Chicken Pot Shepherd's Pie

2-1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces


2 tablespoons butter


1-1/2 cup milk, divided

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil, divided

1 chicken breast, diced (approximately 1 pound)

1 cup chopped onions

1 cup chopped carrots

1/2 cup chopped celery

1 cup frozen peas

1/4 teaspoon ground thyme

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup chicken broth

In a medium sized pot add potatoes and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover potatoes with water. Bring to boil and continue cooking until potatoes are fork tender, about 15-20 minutes.

Once cooked, drain water and return pot full of cooked potatoes to the stove. Add butter, salt, pepper and 1 cup milk. Using a hand masher, mash potatoes until all ingredients are incorporated and mashed potatoes are smooth. Set potatoes aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large 10-inch cast iron skillet or oven-safe pan, over medium high heat add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add chicken breast pieces and cook until evenly browned.

Add chopped onions and cook until softened, approximately 5-7 minutes. Stir in carrots, celery and peas and cook for 5 more minutes. Season with salt, pepper and thyme.

Add 2 tablespoons oil and flour to the vegetables and stir until flour is incorporated. Stir in chicken broth and 1/2 cup milk and cook until mixture is thick. Remove from heat.

Gently spread mashed potatoes evenly over the chicken mixture until fully covered. Bake in the oven until bubbly and golden, 20 to 30 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.

Note: If you do not have a large oven-safe pan, cook everything as directed above. Then transfer chicken mixture to an oven-safe casserole dish, top with potatoes, and bake.

Recipe from: Laura Bashar, food blogger, Family Spice, via Idaho Potato Commission

Lucky Irish Twice-baked Potatoes

For the baked potatoes:

2 large russet potatoes, scrubbed

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 cup grated jack cheese or grated cheddar-jack cheese

1/2 cup chopped chives

1 ripe avocado, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks

Salt and pepper, to taste

For the guacamole:

1 ripe avocado, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

For the guacamole: Mash avocado chunks with lime juice in a medium bowl. Add cilantro and salt. Blend until creamy.

For the baked potatoes: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Bake whole potatoes for 1 hour; remove potatoes and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

Let potatoes rest for 5 minutes, then cut in half lengthwise and scoop out potato flesh into large bowl. Remove potato jackets.

Add butter, sour cream, milk, salt, pepper and cheese to potato in bowl. Whip until creamy with electric hand mixer. Mash avocado chunks with lime juice in a medium bowl. Gently stir in chives and avocado pieces.

Spoon mixture into halved potato jackets and bake in 350-degree F oven for 20 minutes. Top each with a heaping spoonful of guacamole to serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe from: Idaho Potato Commission

Terri Hahn of Osceola has worked in food media for more than 30 years and has won numerous state and national awards for her writing. Email her at [email protected]


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