Vernal Equinox and St. Patti's Day Dinner

Cameron wanted to do an Irish meal for St. Patrick's Day, but we were gone to Mesa for a fabulous wedding on that day, so we decided to make our Vernal Equinox meal do double duty. Sunday the 20th was the Vernal Equinox, so we had the dinner then. Ed and Kayleen (just friends), came to visit us for the weekend, so we included them in the dinner and had a ball.

We found pint glasses at Dollar Tree (for a buck each), and then Kayleen helped me come up with a cool way to fold the napkins. I found the fabric in the discount bin at WalMart, but it wasn't quite big enough to be a table cloth, so I just put it as a runner, and then found a green crocheted washcloth that I hadn't used yet (so it was still crisp and pretty) and put the beeswax candles on it as a center piece. Simple, but it did the job.

Here's what we had to eat:

and to drink...
Cream Soda! (not Irish, but it looks like Ale in the pint glasses, lol)

We had a lot of fun with this, and stuffed ourselves silly.

Cabbage and Potatoes

We had saut├ęd cabbage and boiled potatoes as 2 of our side dishes for the equinox/Irish dinner. Both were pretty simple, so I didn't want to make 2 separate posts for them.

Cameron sauted the cabbage (along with chopped onion) in butter, a little bit of bacon grease (he loves cooking with bacon grease), and some of the brine/juice from boiling the Corned Beef.

Cameron boiled the potatoes in the leftover juice/brine/water from boiling the Corned Beef. I think he had to add a little bit of water just so there'd be enough.

Corned Beef

This was oh so yummy! When Cameron told me that he was making Corned Beef, I cringed. The only corned beef I'd ever known was the hash out of a can...needless to say I was hesitant. I was quite glad to learn that it also came roast style.
We found this Corned Beef at WalMart-giver of all good and evil.

  • Cameron put the raw corned beef in a pot of cold water and then stuck it on the stove.
  • When the water got to boiling, Cameron took the roast out and put it in a pan and covered it 1/2 way with the water/juice it was just boiling in, and then placed it in the oven (at 325) for 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
That's it! It was simple but really tasty.

French's Green Bean Casserole

I loved this. Cameron...not so much. The picture makes it look nasty, but it was oh so yummy (Ed and Kayleen thought so too).

Even though this isn't Irish, we chose it because it's green (well, under the onion pieces on top it's green) and I wanted one other side dish for our Equinox/Irish dinner.

Ingredients:

1 (10 3/4 oz.) can CAMPBELL'S® Cream of Mushroom Soup

3/4 cup milk

1/8 tsp. black pepper

2 (9 oz. each) pkgs. frozen cut green beans, thawed*

1 1/3 cups FRENCH'S® Original or Cheddar French Fried Onions

Directions:

MIX soup, milk and pepper in a 1 1/2 -qt. baking dish. Stir in beans and 2/3 cup French Fried Onions.

BAKE at 350°F for 30 min. or until hot.

STIR. Top with remaining 2/3 cup onions. Bake 5 min. until onions are golden.

Green Trifle

I was in charge of dessert for our Vernal Equinox/St. Patti's Day dinner. I neglected to look up an Irish dessert recipe, so instead I just went for a green dessert. I decided to make a green trifle in my cool trifle dish we got for our wedding (in 4 1/2 years, this was the first time I've used the trifle dish for a trifle).

Ingredients:
1 Angel Food Cake (I just bought mine pre-made at Wal-Mart...it was only $.50 more than making it myself).
2 normal sized boxes of pudding (we used the cheese cake flavor)
1 box jello (we chose lime)
6-10 Kiwis, peeled and sliced.
1 pkg blueberries
2 pears, cut into chunks

Directions:
1. Make the jello, according to the package directions, well ahead of time so that it is mostly set up (not all the way) by the time you want to put the trifle together. I did mine about an hour and a half ahead of time. You can add fruit chunks to the jello, or just leave it plain.
2. Mix up the pudding according to package directions. I added a drop of green food coloring to the pudding.
3. Tear/cut the angel food cake into 1 inch chunks.
4. Place about 1/2 of the cake chunks into the bottom of your container.
5. Spoon jello across the layer of cake chunks.
6. Pour about 1/2 of pudding into the next layer.
7. Add fruit.
8. Repeat steps 4-7 until the ingredients are used up, or until container is full.
9. You can serve immediately or refrigerate and serve later.

Green Chili Burritos

Another of my pork roast meat recipes. Again, super yummy and super fast.

What you need:

1 bag pork roast meat (see Pork Roast post)
1 can green chili, or if you're lucky enough to have it some fresh roasted green chili would be awesome!
2 potatoes
veggie oil
red chili powder
oregano
pinch of cumin
chopped onion or onion powder
minced garlic or garlic powder
flour tortillas
cheese, salsa, sour cream, and any other condiments you think sound good.
What to do:
Peel your potatoes and dice them into small cubes. Start these frying in a little bit of veggie oil. Stir every couple of minutes to prevent burning. Cook until golden brown and crispy.
Meanwhile, thaw your meat enough to get it out of its bag and into a pot. You might need to add a little water to help it thaw the rest of the way. Season to taste with the chili powder, cumin, onion, and garlic. You want the chili powder for flavor, but it will add heat so watch out. It's also easy to get too much oregano, so start with 1/2 a tsp or so and add more if you need it.
A minute or two before your potatoes are done, add the green chili to the meat and let it heat up, adjusting the seasoning if needed. When your potatoes are done, stir them into the meat and you're ready to go.
Pile up the meat and potatoes on a warm tortilla, sprinkle with grated cheese and add any salsa or other toppings that you want. Enjoy!

BBQ Pork Sandwich

This is one of the meals that I make with my pork roast meat(see Pork Roast post). It's super quick and super easy and great for evenings when you just don't feel like cooking. What you Need:

1 bag of cooked pork meat(see Pork Roast post)
BBQ sauce
buns or bread
Mayo, cheese, or anything else you want to dress this up with.

What to do:
I get my pork out of the freezer and thaw it in the microwave. Once it's thawed enough, I use a couple of forks and shred the meat pulled pork style. If you don't care if it's shredded, you could thaw your meat just enough to get it out of the bag and continue from here, letting it thaw during the rest of the cooking process. Put your meat into a saucepan or even a crockpot if you've planned that far ahead, and dump your favorite BBQ sauce over it. Stir it all up and heat it up good. Slap it on a bun and viola!, you have dinner.

Pork Roast

This is a easy, yummy way to make a roast. It's great served with potatoes and carrots like your traditional pot roast. I almost always use it a little differently though. I'll describe what I do with it later in this post.

What you need:
1 pork roast, I used a loin roast, but you can use whatever you want. I used to go for picnic roasts, but decided that I didn't want to pay for that much fat and bone, even if they are cheaper per pound.
1 pkg onion soup mix
What to do:
Place a sheet of tin foil big enough to wrap around your roast in a large baking pan (I used a 9x13 cake pan). Place your roast on the foil in the pan and rub the onion soup mix all over the outside of your roast.
Wrap your roast tightly in the tinfoil, using another piece if you feel like you need it. Put the roast in your oven (which should be preheated to 325) and bake for 20 minutes per pound, or until a thermometer stuck in the middle reads 155 degrees (If you use a thermometer, be sure it isn't touching any bones in your roast).
At this point, if you're going to eat this as a roast, then take the meat drippings from the bottom of your pan and make a gravy and enjoy your yummy meal.
Like I said, I almost never gobble mine up at this point. Instead, I wait for it to cool down enough for me to handle the meat, then chop it up into smallish pieces. I divide these into roughly 1 pound piles and put them in ziplock sandwich baggies. I also divide all the pan drippings between the bags.
Why do this? I freeze these bags of meat and then I have really yummy already cooked meat for use in a bunch of different meals. All I have to do is pull a bag out of the freezer and add it to whatever I decided to make that night. It's quick and easy and it's cheaper than ground beef and gives us a little variety. My next couple of posts will be some of the different meals I make with my pork meat.

Chicken Pot Pie

What you Need:
10 oz. frozen peas and carrots (I use frozen peas and then just chop up a fresh carrot or two)
1/3 cup butter or margarine
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup milk
2 1/2 to 3 cups cut-up cooked chicken or turkey
Pastry for a two-crust pie

What to Do:
Rinse frozen veggies in cold water to separate; drain.
In saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour, onion, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is bubbly; remove from heat. Stir in broth and milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in chicken and veggies; remove from heat.
Heat oven to 425 degrees.
Make pastry. Roll two-thirds of the pastry dough into 13 inch square. Ease into ungreased 9 inch square pan. Pour chicken mixture into pastry-lined pan.
Roll remaining pastry into 11 inch square. Place square over chicken mixtrue. Turn edges of pastry under and pinch to seal. Use a sharp knife to cut vents in the top of the crust.
Bake about 35 minutes or until golden brown.