St. Pat's Day Snacks: 5 Ways to Use Crumbled Corned Beef

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It's a common St. Patrick's Day mishap. That costly piece of corned beef you slaved over falls to pieces--maybe because you cut into it at the wrong angle or maybe because it hadn't cooled enough or maybe just because. Instead of the appetizing slices you were counting on, you're left with a few intact slivers on a platter full of fragrant rubble.

The good news is that it usually happens when the meat is especially tender and delectable. The better news is that there are several fast, easy ways to rescue your entrée. In fact, even if your corned beef doesn't crumble, try any of these dishes if you want to repurpose the leftovers.

1. Blarney Casserole - a hearty meal that incorporates the usual St. Patrick's Day staples. Blend about ½ cup of pan drippings or half a stick of melted butter with a cup of milk. Use half the mixture to coat the bits of corned beef and layer them in a casserole dish with cooked potato slices plus chopped cabbage or onion or both. Sprinkle shredded Blarney or Swiss cheese on top and pour the remaining liquid over all. Bake at 325 degrees for about 30 minutes.

2. Gaelic Pizza - fun and festive, with lots of room for improvisation. Spread a pizza shell (or two if you have lots of beef) with a thin layer of deli mustard. Distribute corned beef evenly and top with shredded cheddar or jack cheese and a generous sprinkling of chopped onion and green pepper. Follow pizza shell baking directions.

3. Scarlett O'Hara Sub - part Irish, part French and completely delicious. Split a loaf of French bread lengthwise and spread each half with cranberry sauce. Cover with corned beef and top with chunks of Brie or your favorite cheese. Bake on a cookie sheet at 325 degrees until the cheese melts. Cool slightly and cut into sections

4. Open-Faced Mini-Sandwiches--just watch the plateful disappear! Spread rye or pumpernickel with Russian or honey-mustard dressing and top with corned beef. Add sauerkraut and Swiss cheese for a classic Reuben, or mix it up by substituting cole slaw and cheddar. Bake in a shallow pan or on a cookie sheet at 325 degrees until the cheese melts.

5. St. Patrick's Loaded Potatoes - great for appetizers but substantial enough for a meal. Quarter and slightly scoop out baked potatoes, fill with corned beef and shredded Swiss or your favorite cheese. Bake on a cookie sheet at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Or, for a heartier entrée, halve baked potatoes and place in microwaveable soup bowls. Top with corned beef, cheese and chopped scallions or green pepper. Microwave on medium-high for about 60 seconds. Serve with sour cream, mustard or your favorite dipping sauce.