This month, we welcome back Marta Rivera for more of her meal plans. Marta is a trained chef, mom of twins, and Army wife – and she is also one of our Simply Recipes recipe testers!
The French essayist, Marcel Proust, said, “The smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, ready to remind us...”
Obviously, what they remind us of is wrapped up in the event itself, and as we head into the week of St. Patrick’s Day, I can’t help but remember my journey through the heart of Ireland as a young culinary student.
No, I’m not Irish. (Though, my maiden name is Daly, so who knows?!) But the flavorful memories I have of the Emerald Isle always seem to resurface during this time of year. Fondly, my meal plan for this week is going to honor those memories.
By the way, when shopping this week, check out what varieties of potatoes and carrots your local grocery has to offer and try something new! There are so many varieties and colors available to us now that I like to experiment. Typically, if they are the same texture, or firmness, and the same size, they will substitute just fine.
This stew transports me to the country roads of County Cavan in Ireland. The malty, Guinness-enriched stew reminds me of the dark, wood-lined rooms of the village pub where groups would gather to play fiddles, pipes, and accordions. Making the stew in a pressure cooker takes the stress out of dinner by cutting down cooking time drastically. This stew is on the table in less than two hours, start to finish (most of which is hands-off). If you don’t have a pressure cooker, try the slow cooker or stovetop versions.
I can’t go without making at least one green meal during the week of St. Patrick’s Day. Thankfully, this recipe doesn’t contain any dye -- it’s naturally festive because of spinach and parsley mixed into the cheese sauce. My twins also get a huge kick out of eating anything green that isn’t normally that color, and I’ve never had leftovers when I’ve made this meal. If you need an additional boost of protein, adding chopped grilled salmon or slices of sausage to this meal will work beautifully.
Tramping through the woods in Ireland to hunt down mushrooms is a hilarious memory that will always stick out in my mind. Never take a city girl to the country and convince her she can recognize mushrooms -- unless, of course, you’re standing right next to her and make sure she doesn’t pick up a toadstool by mistake. The mushrooms in this recipe are not at all poisonous, which is great because in the middle of the week, I need a filling and healthy meal like this one.
Meal planning is so critical as a working adult because it helps me tailor the meals that I want to enjoy to the week I'm planning ahead for. For instance, since I knew I wanted a heavier, more labor-intensive meal on Friday to begin our St. Paddy’s Day festivities, I decided to do a lighter meal on Thursday that doesn’t require a lot of effort to put together. The dressing for this easy green salad (see what I did there?) can be made up to week in advance.Continue to 5 of 5 below.
I couldn’t let St. Patrick’s Week go by without making the quintessential Irish-American meal! Corned beef and cabbage (with some boiled potatoes on the side) is definitely the way I want to end the week. Serve it with this Chocolate Guinness Cake for dessert is a sweet bonus, and a great way to kick off the holiday.