Here's a delicious make-ahead meal that will dazzle your dinner guests on St. Patrick's Day.

Appetizers: Start with a couple of easy hors d'oeuvres—one featuring cheddar cheese and the other, smoked salmon.

Main course: Then choose either corned beef, baked with an easy brown sugar and mustard glaze. Or if you're not a corned beef fan, prepare tasty Irish spiced beef.

Side dishes: Don't like plain boiled potatoes and cabbage? Try Colcannon, a rich mixture of mashed potatoes, cabbage, onions and bacon. Buttered, cooked peas and carrots make a simple and colorful accompaniment.

Dessert: To top off this delicious dinner, have fun and make it easy on yourself! Head to a local bakery and pick up some green-frosted or Leprechaun-decorated cupcakes. Or make it really simple by putting green sprinkles on low-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt.

And of course, what would St. Patrick's Day be without Irish coffee? We've made that simple, too!

Image source: The Sun Blog

Three-cheese spread

Makes about 2 cups

1/2 lb. sharp cheddar cheese, diced or shredded
2-oz. blue cheese, crumbled
3-oz cream cheese, cut into 4 pieces
1 tsp. caraway seeds
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 cup Guinness or other dark beer

  1. Place cheddar cheese, blue cheese and cream cheese in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Add caraway seeds, paprika and beer. Blend until smooth.
  2. Transfer to a serving bowl. Chill until 1/2 hour to one hour before serving.
  3. Serve with crackers or cut-up vegetables.

Image credit: Real Mom Kitchen

Irish smoked salmon appetizers

1 loaf sliced whole wheat bread
4 oz. smoked salmon
3 oz. cream cheese
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 Tbs. minced green onion
1 Tbs. minced fresh dill weed
Salt, freshly ground pepper to taste

 

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Using small cookie cutters, cut shapes out of bread slices; put bread cut-outs in baking pan or on a cookie sheet.
  3. Toast bread cut-outs until slightly golden; set aside.
  4. Chop salmon; add remaining ingredients and blend. (You can make this mixture in advance and refrigerate until about 1/2 hour before serving.)
  5. Spread salmon mixture on toast, or serve spread in bowl and put toast in a separate dish or basket.

Photo credit: Tasteologie