(Family Features) New Orleans may be the official home of Mardi Gras, but you don't have to live in the Big Easy to enjoy the party. Mardi Gras, or literally, "Fat Tuesday," is the final day of the Carnival celebration, the festive season that occurs before Lent.
While some people associate Mardi Gras with lavish parades and French Quarter parties, food is an integral part of the tradition. In fact, many locals skip the parades and spend time at home feasting with friends and family instead. Join the Fat Tuesday frenzy by throwing your own party.
"I love sharing the spirit of this season," said John Besh, Louisiana native and nationally acclaimed chef. "It's so easy to bring the fun of Mardi Gras home - wherever you are. Whip up some tasty New Orleans-Style meals, hang up some beads and masks for decoration, then invite folks over for good times all around."
Celebrate like a true New Orleanian by jazzing up an entire day's menu with popular and authentic dishes. Start with a savory brunch, a true Southern tradition. Snack on a creamy dip in the afternoon as you decorate and welcome guests. Then, dish out a traditional New Orleans-Style jambalaya, perfect for a Mardi Gras crowd. Finish the meal with a cupcake version of the official dessert of the Carnival season, the King Cake. Tradition states that whoever found the fava bean or small trinket in their slice of cake was charged with bringing the cake to next year's party. Share the fun with all your guests by including a fava bean in each cupcake.
These tried-and-true recipes will ensure your party will start a tradition to be celebrated for years to come. For more information on New Orleans-Style cuisine, visit www.facebook.com/zatarains.
Dulac Dirty Rice Mini Frittatas
Prep Time: 20 minutes / Cook Time: 45 minutes
Makes 12 (2 mini frittata) servings
1 pound bulk pork sausage
1 package Zatarain's Dirty Rice Mix, Original
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup toasted chopped pecans
14 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup each chopped red and yellow bell pepper
Cook and stir sausage in large skillet on medium-high heat 5 minutes or until no longer pink. Drain fat. Prepare rice mix as directed on package with sausage. Stir in raisins and pecans. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350∞F. Spray 2 (12-cup) muffin tins generously with no stick cooking spray. Set aside. Mix eggs and milk in large bowl until well blended. Add onions and bell peppers; mix well. Place 1/4 cup of the rice mixture into each muffin cup. Pour egg mixture evenly into each cup.
Bake 20 minutes or until eggs are set. Run small knife or spatula around each cup to loosen frittatas. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
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