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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Another St. Patrick’s Day Around the Corner

By Sherrie Norris

It’s hard to believe that we are nearly in the middle of March with St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner. I have never lived a faster winter in my lifetime and can hardly believe that we have already arrived at this place in time. Hopefully, a big green-based parade in the heart of Boone on Saturday will help us all get in the spirit of springtime celebrations.

Several theories abound about St. Patrick, including the idea that the patron saint of Ireland wasn’t even Irish. But, we do know that March 17, traditionally considered the date of either his birth or death, has evolved into a huge cultural and religious celebration in the United States.

Historical accounts say that Paddy was enslaved in Ireland and returned later as a missionary. He predates the Roman Catholic Church and was considered a “saint’’ before the Roman church created its list of saints and included him on same.

Some say that he was kidnapped by pirates at 16 and sold into Irish slavery, and that he experienced “religious visions” and found strength in his faith during six years of captivity.

Finally escaping, he went to France, became a priest and later a bishop.

Legend has it that Saint Patrick drove all the snakes (pagans) out of Ireland and “into the sea,” where they drowned.

The three-leafed Irish clover we know as the shamrock, means “summer plant,” and is a common image in Celtic artwork, found on Irish medieval tombs and old copper coins, known as St. Patrick’s money. The plant is also alleged to have mystic, even prophetic powers.

St. Patrick was credited for using the shamrock in the fifth century to symbolize the divine nature of the trinity when he introduced Christianity to Ireland. Today, the shamrock joins the English Rose and the Scottish Thistle on the British flag and is a vital part of Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations.

“The Wearing of the Green” symbolizes the birth of springtime. Irish legend states that green clothes attract faeries and aid crops.

Whatever the story, let’s continue to celebrate Ireland’s patron saint like we’ve done for centuries. For many, it is traditional to eat corned beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie and so much more.

Some of us, too, just like to serve something green, whether Irish based, or not.


Green Pepper Shamrock

Create a simple but healthy St. Patrick’s Day snack by slicing a green bell pepper widthwise; it will reveal a shamrock or lucky four-leaf clover shape. Slice another pepper lengthwise to create stems. Serve with your favorite dip.


Irish Potato Casserole

10 medium potatoes, peeled

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

8 oz. sour cream

½ cup butter or margarine, melted

¼ cup chives

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. garlic powder


Cook potatoes in boiling water for approximately 30 minutes or until tender.

Drain and mash. Beat cream cheese with electric mixer until smooth. Add potatoes and remaining ingredients, except paprika; beat just until combined. Spoon mixture into a lightly buttered casserole or baking dish; sprinkle with paprika. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove 15 minutes before baking. Uncover and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.


Celebration Punch

½ gallon lime sherbet

2-liter bottle ginger ale

Large can pineapple juice

Allow sherbet to soften in the refrigerator for about an hour. Mix sherbet, juice and ginger ale in punch bowl, allowing sherbet to melt into liquid. Stir and serve immediately.


Irish Soda Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups whole wheat flour

1½ tsp. baking soda

¾ teaspoon salt

2 cups low-fat or regular buttermilk

Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 450.

Combine the flours, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.

Mix thoroughly. Make a well in the center of mixture.

Add buttermilk to flour mixture; stir until blended (dough will be sticky). Turn dough out onto a generously floured surface. Knead lightly 4 to 5 times. Shape dough into an 8-inch round loaf; place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450 for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 400 and continue to bake for another 15 minutes, or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped underneath. Cool on a wire rack. Simple and delicious!


Simple Green Eggs and Ham

Add a drop of green food coloring into eggs before scrambling.

Enjoy on or with your favorite piece of ham.


Kid’s Peppermint Shake

2 ½ cups vanilla ice cream

¾ cup milk

Junior Mints or Peppermint Pattie Bars, about a ½ cup, cut in pieces

Green food coloring

Place candy in freezer for about 15 minutes. Combine all ingredients in blender and blend at medium speed for 30 seconds. Stir as needed and blend until desired consistency and color is reached. Top with leftover candy pieces. Serve with spoons and straws.


Green Fluff

1 large can crushed pineapple, undrained

1 pkg. instant pistachio pudding

1 cup miniature marshmallows

1 cup chopped pecans

1 large container whipped topping

Mix ingredients in order given. Chill several hours before serving.