While the dates change from year to year, Mardi Gras always begins on Three Kings Day and culminates the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. This year, it’s next Tuesday, February 21st. It’s quite the party and fun to be a part of, but we can’t all travel to Louisiana. What we can do, though, is host a Mardi Gras feast at home.
A quintessential meal in the Big Easy is jambalaya. It’s a Creole and Cajun dish filled with meat, vegetables, and rice. Deb Kotansky (Minden, LA) shared her Down Home Jambalaya recipe that has been in her family for over 40 years.
“I have changed some things from my Mom’s version,” shares Deb. “Hers called for many dried ingredients, and I now choose to use fresh.”
True jambalaya takes a little bit of work but is so worth it. One tip Deb shares is that you can make the chicken stock the day before. This will save you some time in the cooking process.
Deb’s jambalaya is filled with chicken, ham, shrimp, and smoked sausage. The spices are just right. Nothing is too overpowering and it’s delicious served over white rice. So good, in fact, you may find yourself snacking on it right out of the pot before serving.
People in Louisiana consider crawfish a food group, and it’s always on the menu. Betty Campisi (Kaplan, LA) shared her Crawfish Fettuccine recipe, and it’s a delicious way to enjoy them.
“This dish is a crowd-pleaser,” thinks Betty. “Serve with garlic bread. You could also add a salad.”
I love this casserole because it’s an impressive dinner that’s easy to prepare and feeds a crowd. It’s cheesy and creamy with a hint of spice. Crawfish is the star of the show, though.
If you’ve never had crawfish, they taste a little sweet and are in the same family as lobster or shrimp. In this fettuccine casserole, they just melt in your mouth.
One of my favorite things to eat when visiting New Orleans is a muffuletta sandwich. They’re made with ham, salami, cheese, and an olive dressing. Diane Atherton (Pine Mountain, LA) uses those classic flavors in her delicious Muffuletta Stuffed Burger.
“This week’s sammie challenge included black olives and carrots,” explains Diane. “Olive mix and Muffuletta came to mind immediately. I wanted to do something different, so why not a stuffed burger with an olive mix!”
Burger night in your home will never be the same once you serve these.
Diane created an easy olive dressing with green olives, black olives, carrots, and capers. It’s salty and a nice contrast to the fatty meat. That gets stuffed inside the burger with salami and cheese. So good it is one juicy and decadent hamburger.
It’s not Mardi Gras without a King Cake. Typically, a King Cake is round and decorated in Mardi Gras colors – purple (for justice), green (for faith), and gold (for power). A baby figurine is baked or placed inside the cake. Tradition says the person who gets it in their piece will have good luck.
“I started making King Cake about 10 years ago, and every year my husband’s office requests one,” says Joanne Gotwald (Ravenna, OH). “It is a very easy recipe and will gather many compliments.”
Joanna’s Favorite King Cake Recipe has a tender bread texture with a hint of nutmeg. Its filling is full of flavor with cinnamon, pecans, and a raisin swirl. The homemade bread dough recipe takes a few steps but is simple. Once it is decorated, it’s not only delicious but festive too.
Sweets are also a must at Mardi Gras. Jeanne Benavidez (Odessa, TX) posted a Mardi Gras Gorilla Bread that’s cute and tasty.
“Here is another idea for a Mardi Gras quick and easy dessert,” reveals Jeanne. “Again, since I don’t have a lot of patience for making my own bread, I use a little help from some already prepared dough and add my own lazy twist to it.”
Jeanne uses a sweet, cinnamony gorilla bread recipe and decorates it like a King Cake. Inside the buttermilk biscuits, she stuffs a strawberry cream cheese filling. It’s a great combination of flavors. This is a fun recipe for breakfast or dessert.
Don’t let travel plans stop you. Bring Mardi Gras into your kitchen and host a Mardi Gras feast at home by making any of these Blue Ribbon recipes. Laissez les bons temps rouler friends and Happy Pinching!