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A Mardi Gras Party!

A Mardi Gras Party!

If you can't get to New Orleans to celebrate, bring the Crescent City home with this festive meal!

By FamilyTime

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Mardi Gras! The words alone make us think of wild celebrations. Most of us can't get to New Orleans, but we can celebrate the food of that graceful old city by planning our own Mardi Gras dinner.

Creole and Cajun Food Reign!
In simplest terms, the Creole food of New Orleans is city food. It's the outgrowth of the myriad cultures that have left their mark on the city and has evolved into a distinct cuisine.

Cajun food is country food. While it shares many characteristics of Creole, it is usually a little more robust.

Both foods rely on roux to thicken dishes, and flavorings that traditionally include bell peppers, onions, celery, and garlic. In New Orleans cuisine, roux is a mixture of oil or butter and flour, cooked very slowly to form a thick, dark paste.

Both Creole and Cajun dishes are forgiving. If you don't have enough chicken, toss in some shrimp! Don't like sausage? Use ham or pork instead.

They both rely on fresh-caught fish and shellfish from the nearby Gulf of Mexico. And because the climate is warm, they rely, too, on numerous fresh fruits and vegetables.

Pecan orchards dot the region and the tasty nut is used in all manner of dishes -- most notably in the sweet, rich pralines sold in numerous shops along Bourbon Street.

Party On!
Our menu takes advantage of the foods the folks in New Orleans love: shrimp, bold-flavored sausage, steamed rice, citrus fruit, and pecans. We also suggest serving cornbread dressed up with jalapeno peppers and other seasonings, and a fruity cocktail punch spiked, if you like, with rum or vodka.

The party begins with shrimp cooked in their shells -- this is a great way to start the laughs coming! No one can be too dignified while peeling spicy shrimp.

Our citrusy spinach salad is just sweet enough to offset the full flavors of the gumbo. Add a pan of cornbread to sop up the stew and everyone will be happy.

Traditional New Orleans desserts include pralines, bananas foster, and ice cream-topped crepes. We decided to end our meal with crunchy Pecan Bars. Give yourself a break and bake them ahead of time, and serve them with scoops of rich vanilla or butter-pecan ice cream.

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Mardi Gras Celebration
Colorful street festivals and all-night parties document Mardi Gras in much of the hemisphere. Your celebration might be quieter - but just as delicious!
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King Cakes Fit for a Kid
Let the Mardi Gras festivities begin with these individual king cakes! You and the kids will be starting a new tradition of fun.
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Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo
Try the traditional Louisiana gumbo just as it should be.

Mardi Gras Shrimp
Messy, fun and a great excuse for a party!

Almond-Citrus Salad
A nutty salad that compliments any meal!

Snappy Corn Bread

Pecan Bars
If you like crunchy pecans, then try these pecan bars that are so rich and crunchy, you are bound to go for seconds.

Banana Pineapple Colada
A tasty drink that works as a dessert or just a snack.


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