Luck of the Irish- Corned Beef, Pickled Cabbage, and Irish Soda Bread

I think it would come as no surprise to people that I love to cook full meals.  I love the feeling of planning a complete meal from protein, to starch, to veggie and even to dessert (but lets face it, dessert often just comes in the form of store bought ice cream).  Having just arrived home after 10 weeks of school yesterday (St. Patricks day) was my first full day at home and since it seemed a perfect occasion for a full meal we dove head first into planning a traditional St. patricks day mea– Corned beef, pickled cabbage, irish soda bread, and potato wedges, and drumroll please… chocolate whiskey souffles for dessert.

Now, I have never cooked corned beef in my life, nor have my parents when I was growing up so part of me didn’t have a clue how to go about this meal but the other part of me (the determined cook part) wanted to push through the unknown and come out on the other side with a new checkmark on my cooking bucket list.  And that is exactly what we did– with a little help from Trader Joes of couse.

To me, corned beef exists only in the delicious sandwich shop in my neighborhood as a perfect sandwich on sourdough (or dark rye) with some lettuce, and light mayo and mustard, toasted of course.  Ever since I tried this particular combination when my dad got it when I was a kid I have loved it and have made a point to go back and order it whenever I am in town.  So the thought of eating corned beef other than on a sandwich, or making it myself left me without a game plan.  But true to form, I jumped on my computer and started using good ol’ google to see how to make corned beef and cabbage.

Armed with a grocery list and a menu in mind we headed to Trader Joes to get the ingredients.  Leave it up to TJ’s to have their sample of the day on St. Patricks day be corned beef and potatoes with a sweet and spicy mustard.  They won us over in a heartbeat.  So we purchased the already seasoned and cooked corned beef that merely required us to bake it for 30 min with a little water in the pan, pre-shredded cabbage, some chocolate, buttermilk for the soda bread and a few miscellaneous things (like the first cheap daffodilles of the season) and we were off to make this dinner.

Let me tell you, it was completely satisfying in the end to produce this meal of all new recipes but the road to get there felt like none other than Thanksgiving day.  Between my sister, mom, and I, I felt that were were running racing around that kitchen barely breathing until we sat down to eat.  However, I tend to prefer this to waiting for something to cook and not feeling like you can do anything to make it cook faster.  This meal turned out better than I could imagine, with a familiar taste of corned beef from that sandwich shop paired with the subtle bite of the pickled cabbage and the sweet and sour mustard I’m pretty sure the first half of my plate was devoured with my eyes closed.

Corned Beef


  • 1 purchased package seasoned corned beef, already cooked
  • 1/2 cup water
  • aluminum foil


  1. place beef into shallow baking dish with 1/2 cup of water.  cover with aluminum foil and cook according to package instructions
  2. (right before the beef was done I took it out and slathered some of the sweet and spicy mustard onto the top of the meat)

Irish Soda Bread with Raisins

I have never made irish soda bread, I have heard of people making it but never really looked into it myself.  Let me tell you, it is the easiest recipe with so few ingredients and a perfect addition to a meal like this.  Add spices or anything you want to personalize this bread to your meal, but all I wanted to add were raisins and it was phenomenal.  Find this recipe and other irish soda bread recipes Here

Pickled cabbage

The thought of pickled cabbage just sounded so Irish to me when I found it while planning this meal that I new I had to try it, if only for the sake of it being St. Patricks day.  Low and behold it actually turned out delicious and not pickled in the sense of eating a pickle but more that it just had the perfect tangy bite to it.  They didn’t have white wine vinegar at TJ’s so we got rice vinegar and it turned out great (although having never made it with white wine vinegar I don’t know how different it would taste).  This recipe paired the pickled cabbage with a corned beef sandwich which as you can imagine, brought be right back to that sandwich shop.  I would have stuck to the sandwich idea had this not been a dinner but a lunch.


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