Celebrating annual traditions like Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, is good for the soul. Even if you can’t get together with others, you can add a little Southern spice and a whole lot of fun with these Mardi Gras-inspired dishes.
We hand-selected recipes based on how easy they are to make. Some of the ingredient lists may seem long, but they are mostly seasonings, which you can pre-mix and then bring along to use when the time is right.
Appetizer/Main Course: Shortcut Chicken and Andouille Jambalaya – The Spruce Eats
If shrimp isn’t your favorite, then this chicken and andouille jambalaya may be a better option. The blandness of the chicken is infused with a plethora of flavors and spicy sausage. Again, only one pot is needed. Definitely a taste of the South!
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 pounds Andouille sausage (cut into 1/4-inch slices)
- 1 pound chicken thighs (boneless, skinless; trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes)
- 2 onions (chopped)
- 2 green peppers (cored, seeded, and diced)
- 4 ribs celery (diced)
- 1/2 cup scallions (sliced, white and green parts)
- 2 tablespoons garlic (minced)
- 2 1/2 cups rice (long grain, parboiled)
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste; start with less if your kids are not into hot!)
- 1 can/14 ounces tomatoes (crushed)
- 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
- Heat the oil in a very large deep saucepan over medium high heat. Brown the sausage for about 5 minutes until browned. Add the chicken and continue to cook until the chicken is lightly browned, but not cooked through, about 5 more minutes.
- Add the onions, peppers, celery, scallions, and garlic and sauté for another 5 minutes, until the vegetables have started to soften.
- Stir in the rice, Creole seasoning, and cayenne pepper and stir until the rice is well coated with the mixture.
- Add the crushed tomatoes and broth and stir well. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then lower the heat to low, cover the pan, and keep at a gentle simmer for about 25 minutes until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed.
- Stir well and serve hot.
Main Dish: Cajun Shrimp with Bell Peppers and Corn – Delish
New Orleans historically has created a unique combination of ingredients and flavors, and it wouldn’t be a Mardi Gras party without shrimp and Cajun seasoning. The best part, you only need one large skillet.
- 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/2 onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 bell peppers, chopped
- 2/3 c. corn (frozen and defrosted or canned)
- 1 1/2 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 tsp. Cajun seasoning
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and bell peppers and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and corn and cook for 1 minute more. Transfer vegetables to a bowl.
- Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan. Add shrimp in a single layer and season with salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning. Cook until pink, about 1 to 2 minutes per side.
- Add vegetables and lemon juice and toss until combined. Garnish with parsley before serving.
Dessert: Easy Pecan Pie Bars – Delish
Pecans are a favorite ingredient for Mardi Gras, and in the South in general. You can easily make these delectable bars the day before… and they will taste even better. Plus, you don’t need to go through all the steps for making pecan pie.
For the Crust
- Cooking spray
- 2 1/4 sticks butter, softened
- 3/4 c. packed brown sugar
- 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 3 c. all-purpose flour
For the Filling
- 1 c. (2 sticks) butter
- 1 c. packed brown sugar
- 1/2 c. honey
- 6 tbsp. granulated sugar
- 1/4 c. bourbon
- 1/4 c. heavy cream
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 4 c. (16 oz.) pecan halves, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9″x13″ baking pan with cooking spray. Line with parchment paper, leaving a slight overhang on two sides. Spray parchment.
- Beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in salt. While beating slowly add flour and beat just until clumps form.
- Using your fingers or a greased back of a measuring cup, press dough into prepared pan. Pierce dough all over with a fork. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool while you make the filling.
- Make the filling: Combine butter, brown sugar, honey, granulated sugar, bourbon, heavy cream, and salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Boil for 2 minutes, then remove from heat and stir in pecans and vanilla. Pour pecan mixture onto baked crust.
- Bake until golden, about 30 minutes.
- Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars before serving.