A Bounty of Irish Recipes for St. Patrick's Day
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Published on March 07, 2017

reuben sandwich

A Bounty of Irish Recipes for St. Patrick's Day

Sláinte! With St. Patrick's Day just over the horizon, the traditions of the Emerald Isle will once again pop up like clover on menus and dinner tables.

While everyone enjoy's this March holiday and its trappings, there's some wisdom in watching what we eat when it comes this special time of year. That's why we enlisted the help of Avera Heart Hospital Regisitered Dietitian Lauren Cornay. In keeping with the season, she offered a smorgasboard of heart-healthier choices based on some of the customary cuisine of the season.

"We all know corned beef and cabbage is an Irish-American dish for St. Patrick's, but we did a variation using baked chicken, which cuts down on the sodium and fat. We also used an Irish stout in the recipe for Irish Stew," said Cornay. "We also have a little comparison between the Reuben sandwich and its better-for-you cousin, the Rachel. All are delicious, and a bit less indulgent than the traditional fare of St. Patrick's Day. You can still celebrate and stay true to your weight-loss or nutrition goals."

The Reuben Versus The Rachel: A Comparison

The Reuben The Rachel

3 oz thinly sliced corned beef

2 slices rye bread

2 oz sauerkraut

1 tbsp thousand island

1 slice Swiss cheese


3 oz thinly sliced turkey

2 slices rye bread

½ cup coleslaw (recipe below)

1 slice Swiss cheese

Olive oil

547 calories

31 gm fat

106 mg cholesterol

2346 mg sodium

39 gm CHO

28 gm pro

411 calories

17 gm fat

45 mg cholesterol

954 mg sodium

38 gm CHO

25 gm pro

Benefits: Sauerkraut is fermented so it is a good source of pro-biotics, which have been shown to be beneficial in gut health.

Benefits: In both cases, hard white cheeses (like Swiss) tend to be lower in fat and sodium. This version of the sandwich has less than half the fat, cholesterol and sodium of the Reuben.

Risks: LOADED with calories and sodium

Risks: so delicious you might have to eat more than one

Heart-Healthy Coleslaw 


½ cup plain yogurt

2 Tbsp Dijon mustard

1 Tbsp water

2 tsp olive oil based mayo

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

6 cups thinly sliced cabbage (about 1 large head)

4 medium carrots, shredded

1 cup thinly sliced red onion (about 1 large)

½ tsp dill seeds


In a large bowl whisk together yogurt, mustard, water, mayo, and lemon juice. Add remaining ingredients, tossing to combine well. Season with pepper as needed.

Chicken with Carrots and Potatoes

Servings: 6


  • 1 ¾ cups vertically sliced onion
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • 6 small round red potatoes (approx. 1 pound), cut into ¼ inch slices
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • ¾ tsp salt, divided
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 lb skinless bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Optional: chopped fresh thyme


  • Place onion in a 6-quart slow cooker coated with cooking spray; top with carrots and potatoes
  • Combine broth, white wine, thyme, garlic, ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper. Pour over vegetables
  • Combine paprika, remaining ¼ tsp salt, and remaining ¼ tsp pepper; rub over chicken. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken. Cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Arrange chicken on top of vegetables.
  • Cover and cook on low for 3 ½ hours or until chicken is done and vegetables are tender. Garnish with additional thyme, if desired.
Calories Fat (g) Sodium (mg) Carbohydrates (g) Fiber (g) Protein (g)
229 4.9 454 20.7 3.2 21.7

Dietitian Tips:

  • If you do not have white wine around, you can just use 1 cup of chicken broth
  • Could substitute 1 ½ lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breast (4 protein choices)

Slow-Cooker Stout & Chicken Stew

Servings: 8 (1 1/3 cup)


  • 6 Tbsp plus ½ cup all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 tsp salt, divided
  • ½ tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 2 ½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
  • 4 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 pieces bacon, chopped
  • 1 (14 oz) can Guinness beer or other stout
  • 1 lb whole baby carrots
  • 1 (8 oz) package cremini or button mushrooms, halved if large
  • 2 cups onion, chopped
  • 4 gloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups frozen baby peas, thawed


  • Combine 6 Tbsp flour with ½ tsp each salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. Dredge chicken thighs in mixture to coat completely; transfer to a plate.
  • Heat 2 tsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken and cook until well browned, 2-4 minutes per side; transfer to a 5-6 quart slow cooker. Reduce heat to medium and repeat with the remaining 2 tsp oil and chicken thighs. Arrange the chicken in an even layer in the slow cooker.
  • Add bacon to the pan and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup flour over the bacon and cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes more. Add stout and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour the mixture over the chicken. Add carrots, mushrooms, onion, garlic and thyme, spreading in an even layer over the chicken. Pour broth over the top.
  • Cover and cook until the chicken is falling apart and tender, 4 hours on high or 7-8 hours on low.
  • Stir in peas, cover and cook until the peas are heated through, 5 to 10 minutes more. Season with the remaining ½ tsp salt and pepper.
Calories Fat (g) Sodium (mg) Carbohydrates (g) Fiber )g) Protein (g)
366 13 650 28 4 30

Dietitian Tips:

  • Substitute chicken breast meat, and eliminate bacon to reduce fat content. The ½ cup flour can be added to drippings from just the chicken.

Recipe source: Avera Heart Hospital Registered Dietitian Lauren Cornay, from myrecipes.com and Eating Well.

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