With the 2014 St. Patrick's Day celebration approaching, folks in the United States continue to prepare for one of the most enjoyable days of the year. A celebration of Irish and Irish American Culture in the US, St. Patrick's Day remains a very important date to those of Irish descent, a time that Irish Americans also use to remember the death of the patron Saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick. While the wearing of green and hanging of decorations such as four leaf clovers and claddagh pieces is a major part of the affair, sharing traditional Irish meals with loved ones is perhaps the most important part of the holiday since it's a way to show unity and togetherness among families.

A popular meal many enjoy during St. Patrick's Day is corned beef and cabbage. Different in flavor and texture than many traditional meats, corned beef – if made properly – can literally slice without the use of a knife and won't become a chore to chew apart in your mouth. When paired with cooked cabbage, carrots and potatoes, the corned beef dinner becomes a must-have on one of the most celebrated days of the year. Just days away from the St. Patty's Day holiday, here's a look at three fantastic ways to enjoy the traditional corned beef meal.

Traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage (courtesy of OregonLive.com)

Ingredients

3 sprigs fresh thyme

5 sprigs fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

1 3 1/2- to 4-pound corned beef brisket, preferably home-cured (see note)

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

12 white boiling onions or 3 small white onions cut into wedges

6 large or 12 small carrots, cut into large chunks or left whole if small

2 pounds small red-skinned or mixed-colored new potatoes

1 small head green cabbage, cut into 6 to 8 wedges

1 cup heavy whipping cream

3 tablespoons prepared horseradish

Salt

Directions

Tie the thyme and parsley sprigs together with kitchen string. Rinse the brisket, put it in a large, heavy pot and add water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. Add the herb bundle, bay leaves and peppercorns, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer gently until the brisket is almost tender, 2 1/3 to 3 hours.

Add the onions, carrots, potatoes and cabbage wedges and return the liquid to a simmer. Cook until the vegetables and brisket are fully tender, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Fold in the horseradish, then season with salt. Cover and refrigerate the horseradish cream until ready to serve.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to a large platter. Transfer the brisket to a cutting board. Cut the meat across the grain and arrange on the platter with the vegetables. Serve, passing the horseradish cream on the side.

St. Patrick's Day Potatoes serve as an important piece to many traditional Irish meals. Reuters

Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage (courtesy of AllRecipes.com)

Ingredients

4 Large Carrots, peeled and cut into matchstick pieces

10 baby red potatoes, quartered

1 onion, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

4 cups water

1 (4 pound) corned beef brisket with spice packet

6 ounces beer ½ head cabbage, coarsely chopped

Directions

Place the carrots, potatoes, and onion into the bottom of a slow cooker, pour in the water, and place the brisket on top of the vegetables. Pour the beer over the brisket. Sprinkle on the spices from the packet, cover, and set the cooker on High.

Cook the brisket for about 8 hours. An hour before serving, stir in the cabbage and cook for 1 more hour.

St. Patty's Day 2014 St. Patrick's Day is a special day for all Irish Americans. Reuters

Corned Beef and Cabbage Soup (Courtesy of FoodNetwork.com)

Ingredients

1 medium onion, quartered 3 stalks celery, quartered 3 medium carrots, quartered 3 tablespoons unsalted butter Heaping 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice 1 pound plum tomatoes, halved 3 cups low-sodium beef broth 4 cups chopped green cabbage (about 1/4 medium head) 1/2 pound Yukon gold potatoes, chopped 3/4 cup quick-cooking barley 1/4 pound corned beef, cut into thin strips (use leftovers or deli meat) Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

Pulse the onion, celery and carrots in a food processor until they are pea-size pieces. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion, celery and carrots and the allspice and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes to the food processor and pulse until finely chopped.

Transfer the tomatoes to the pot and add the beef broth, cabbage, potatoes, barley and 4 cups water; cover and bring to a boil. Uncover, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the potatoes and barley are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in the corned beef and season with salt and pepper.