Celebrated in more places around the world than any other national festival, St. Patrick’s Day is a day of parades, parties, gatherings, festivals, and “Wearin o’ the Green” all around the globe.

The holiday began as a day of feasting to honor St. Patrick, the foremost patron saint of Ireland, and is celebrated on his reported date of death on March 17. It was made an official Christian feast day in the early 1600s, and spread to the United States in the 1800s and has become a widely-commemorated holiday—both religious and secular, with festivities ranging from the tame to the raucous.

Everyone’s a wee bit Irish on St. Paddy’s Day…so why not join in the fun this year with one (or more) of these easy-being-green recipe and decorating ideas!

 

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Whiskey & Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes 24 cupcakes

Ingredients

Cupcakes
1 box German chocolate cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup stout beer

Frosting

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
3/4 to 1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons Irish whiskey
1 (16 oz.) box confectioners' sugar
Food coloring or decorations (optional)

Directions

  • Heat oven to 350°F. Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups.
  • In large bowl, beat cake mix, eggs, oil and beer with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.
  • Bake about 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove cupcakes from pans to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  • To make frosting: In a medium bowl with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the heavy cream and Irish whiskey. On low speed, slowly mix in the confectioners' sugar until incorporated and smooth, mixing in food coloring, if desired.
  • Pipe or spread frosting on cupcakes when cooled; decorate as desired.

 

Shamrock Shimmy Smoothie
Makes 5 servings


Adapted from Midwest Living

Ingredients

6 kiwi fruit, peeled and quartered
1 cup seedless green grapes
1 banana, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 6-ounce carton key lime- or vanilla-flavored yogurt
1 cup orange juice or white grape juice, well-chilled
3 tablespoons honey
2-4 tablespoons rum (or a fruity non-alcoholic juice)
1-2 drops green food coloring (optional)

Additional slices of kiwi for garnish

Directions

  • Place kiwi fruit and banana in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Place in freezer and freeze, uncovered, for 2 hours or until frozen.
  • In a blender, combine grapes, yogurt, orange juice, honey, rum/juice, and about 1/3 of the frozen fruit. Cover and blend until almost smooth. Gradually add remaining fruit, blending after each addition until almost smooth. For a “greener” beverage, add food coloring.
  • Pour into glasses and garnish with kiwi fruit slices.

 

Simple Skinny Colcannon
Makes 8 servings


Adapted from Taste of Home

Ingredients

1-1/2 pounds red potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
7-1/2 cups chopped cabbage
8 green onions, chopped
1 cup skim milk
1/3 cup reduced-fat butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  • Place potatoes in a Dutch oven or similar large sauce pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook over medium heat for 12-15 minutes or until potatoes are almost tender, adding the cabbage during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
  • Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine green onions and milk. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5-6 minutes or until onions are soft.
  • Drain potato mixture. Mash with milk mixture, butter, salt and pepper.

Tip: Stir in chopped pastrami or corned beef for a bit of additional flavor.

 

Easy (and Occasionally Edible) Do-It-Yourself Décor

Want a unique, easy-to-assemble centerpiece for your St. Pat’s party? No need to call the florist—you can make a striking centerpiece sourced mostly from the grocery store!

Instead of limiting yourself to traditional blooms, assemble a bouquet of edible greens…need inspiration? Suggestions include Granny Smith apples and limes (mount on dowels), kale, lemon leaf greenery, dill, rosemary, peppers, lavender, basils, and many other herbs. Get creative!

Looking for a  luminary centerpiece? Fill a large hurricane vase half-way with dried green split peas. Nestle a pillar candle in the peas.

Another bright (and tasty) idea is green apple votive holders. Trace the outline of a tealight candle on the top of a green apple. Carefully use a paring knife to carve a niche, place the candle in, and light.

For a pop of color, make a rainbow leading to a pot of gold. Fill clear mason jars, tumblers, or wine glasses with water and use food coloring to tint each one a different color (red, orange, blue, green, purple). Backlight it with a strand or two of battery-powered LED fairy lights, and surround with gold-foil-wrapped chocolate coins.