Saint Patrick’s Day is a fun holiday to celebrate even if you’re not Irish. For something different this year, how about making a traditional Irish dinner with your kids, and celebrate this enjoyable holiday by having a themed dinner complete with Irish themed table decorations, games, and a movie?
Kids love to be in the kitchen with you, whether it’s to help cook dinner, bake cookies, or just lick the mixing beaters after cake mix is ready. My own children have been cooking for years, and now many of the older ones can make anything from chili to spaghetti to hamburgers. It’s something we all enjoy and makes for some fun memories in the kitchen.
Making a fun Irish themed dinner with them can bring the whole family together and give your kids a great sense of accomplishment. You don’t have to just cook green food although that can be fun; there are many yummy Irish recipes that you can use to create a great Irish dinner.
What’s for Dinner?
Irish Shepherd’s Pie is a delicious casserole type dish that has the meat, potatoes, and vegetables all together. It’s also pretty simple to make which is a plus.
There are many things your kids can do to assist in the preparation of this dish that are safe and kid friendly. Make sure the kids are not in the kitchen unsupervised while the meal is being prepared. Since the Shepherd’s Pie is a meal in itself, side dishes are not really necessary, but you can serve a small salad or rolls with butter.
Traditional Shepherd’s Pie
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 diced onion
2 diced carrots
2 diced celery stalks
2 crushed garlic cloves
2 pounds ground beef
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
½ cup beef stock
1 ½ cup peas
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Salt and pepper
Mashed potatoes, while homemade will be a better consistency; you can also use Yukon gold potatoes. Add butter, salt, cream, and cheddar cheese when you’re making them.
You’ll start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees. While it is preheating, add butter and oil to a large skillet.
Sauté your onions, carrots, celery, and garlic until they are tender, which will be about 7-10 minutes. Once they are done, season with salt and pepper.
Your vegetables will start to brown a little, and this is when you will add the tomato paste, and mix it all up together.
Add the ground beef and cook until no pink shows in the meat. Add the beef stock and Worcestershire and then the salt and pepper.
You’ll need to simmer this mixture for about 10 minutes more, and then mix in the peas. Pour all of the mixture into an oven safe baking dish (or two if you made that much), and add the prepared cheddar mashed potatoes to the top of the mixture.
If you have access to a pastry bag, you can let the children have some fun by piping the mashed potatoes to the top to look like florets. If you don’t have a pastry bag, run a fork through the top of the mashed potatoes to make peaks. Put in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown on the top.
While Dinner is Cooking
That’s it! Once it’s done serve with biscuits or rolls and butter, and you can add a nice salad on the side. Don’t forget dessert! You can make green jello with whipped cream, or green iced cookies or cupcakes. The children can help by handing you all the vegetables and ingredients as you need them during the prep process and while you are waiting for the Shepherd’s Pie to cook, they can set the table.
There are some other things you can do to that bring more Saint Patrick’s Day fun to the day for you and your kids.
Have everyone dress in as much green as possible for dinner, even if it doesn’t match. Have a contest of who has the most pieces of green clothing on.
Learn about the history of Saint Patrick’s Day, and teach the kids why the day is celebrated.
During the day, before dinner, make Saint Patrick’s Day crafts that can be used as table decorations for the Shepherd’s Pie meal.
Attend a Saint Patrick’s Day Parade if your town or city has one.
Play Saint Patrick’s themed games after dinner such as find the gold coins.
Watch a family Irish themed movie together.
Games the Kids will Love
Playing games as a family is a lot of fun and can be a great way for parents to spend time with their kids in a relaxed and enjoyable manner.
Some suggestions for games for this fun holiday include things like a potato hunt or find the pot of gold. Get gold coin candies and hide them somewhere in the house, and leave clues printed on shamrocks for the kids to find. There are a lot of fun games you can come up with if you give it a bit of thought and let your creativity flow.
Family Friendly Music & Movies
If you’d like to play music low at dinner, some great Irish inspired musical artists are Enya, Van Morrison, and even U2. Instrumentals are nice too.
Finish up the night by watching a family friendly Irish movie. One of the best Irish Folklore movies my kids love is The Secret of Roan Inish. They still ask to watch it over and over again.
No matter what you choose to do, this can be a fun filled day your kids won’t soon forget. Fill the celebration with delicious Irish based food, fun games, and a great family movie!
Holidays can be a great excuse to step out of the normal routine and have some creative and different kinds of fun. You never know when something you do with your own kids sticks with them so strongly it becomes a tradition they do with their own children.
Alisha Land is a mother of 8, a professional writer and ghostwriter for many clients and the owner of Kids Home Safe, a child safety education company. She is also the author of the kindle EBook “How to Make Ends Meet When You Don’t Have Any Money”. You can reach her at any of the links listed. Contact – Facebook – Twitter – LinkedIn – Book
Photo Credit – Rattikankeawpun