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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Luck of the Irish Potato

Many will celebrate St. Patrick's Day with Irish-inspired dishes like the classic corned beef and cabbage, but let's not forget the potatoes. Taters are a must on an Irish menu, whether it be in the form of shepherd's pie, colcoannon, champ, boxty, or hash. Not sure what any of those are? Don't worry; I'll get you up to speed!

Shepherd's pie is traditionally a ground lamb filling with a mashed potato-topped crust. The meat filling is often packed with mixed vegetables, such as peas and corn. It's a one-stop-shop for meat and veggies. Colcoannon is mashed potatoes with the addition of kale or cabbage. It may also contain ham or bacon and onions or leeks. Champ is similar to colcoannon, but is more simply mashed potatoes with chopped green onion. Boxty is a traditional Irish pancake made from a mixture of mashed potatoes and grated potatoes. Just like a pancake, it's heated on a griddle or a frying pan and can be served as a savory side dish at breakfast or dinner. Finally, hash consists of finely chopped meat and potatoes with spices added. Corned beef is generally used near St. Patrick's Day and is often served as a breakfast meal with a perfectly poached egg on top.

Although potatoes have gotten a bad rap for being starchy, there is no reason to exclude them from the diet (unless you have kidney disease). As a matter of fact, potatoes are a great source of potassium, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and iron. If potatoes are part of your St. Patrick's Day meal, choose an Irish preparation, such as the potato cake recipe below!

St. Patrick's Potato Cakes

2 cups leftover mashed potatoes

⅓ -½ cup all-purpose flour

2 Tablespoons nonfat milk

½ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon onion powder

Salt and pepper to taste

1 Tablespoon trans-fat free margarine

In a large bowl, combine potatoes, ⅓ cup flour, milk and seasonings. Add additional flour if necessary to form a dough. Flour hands and clean surface. Knead the dough until smooth. Divide into 4 balls and flatten into a 3-inch patty. Melt margarine in skillet over medium heat. Add the patties and cook 4-5 minutes per side, until golden brown.

Yield: 4 servings

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 140 calories, 3 grams fat, 190 milligrams sodium, 26 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 3 grams protein