Celebrate Mardi Gras with New Spins on the Classics

Let the good times roll!

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Food Network Kitchen’s No-Churn King Cake Ice Cream

Photo by: Matt Armendariz

Matt Armendariz

From beads and feathers to gumbo and King Cake, Mardi Gras (also known as Fat Tuesday) is arriving soon and we couldn’t be more excited. While the holiday is known for lively festivals and parades of purple, gold and green making their way through New Orleans, it’s also a time for some good, old-fashioned regional eats.

Just thinking about the list of Cajun- and Creole-inspired foods will make your mouth water! And, while the traditional dishes are delicious on their own, sometimes adding a bit of personal flair can be cause for extra celebration. That’s why we’ve rounded up six recipes that put a spin on some of the tastiest French Quarter foods.

Photo by: Armando Rafael

Armando Rafael

Jambalaya is a Mardi Gras staple, but it can be hard to make if you’re on a time crunch. Luckily, Rachael Ray has mastered the art of making a quick, 30-minute jambalaya that tastes just as delicious. Made with the traditional rice, shrimp, vegetables and seasonings, this recipe embodies everything we love about the Crescent City into one pot. Once served, Rachael adds chopped scallions and thyme leaves, giving the dish an added kick.

Quick Rotisserie Chicken Gumbo as seen on Valerie's Home Cooking Spicy Mud's New Orleans Favorites episode, season 7.

Photo by: Rob Pryce

Rob Pryce

One of the defining traits of Gumbo is that it contains the “Holy Trinity” of vegetables: onions, celery and bell peppers. And, whether you’re making traditional gumbo or this quick rotisserie chicken version from Valerie Bettinelli, you can’t forget the trinity. Served over hot, cooked rice and topped with scallions, it will make you feel like you’ve been transported to the heart of NOLA after your first bite.

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A shrimp stew mixture in a blue bowl

©marcus nilsson, Food Stylist: Jamie Kimm Prop stylist: Robyn Glaser

marcus nilsson, Food Stylist: Jamie Kimm Prop stylist: Robyn Glaser

In a traditional etouffee dish, shrimp and crawfish take center stage, yet in this recipe, savory chicken thighs and juicy andouille make a special appearance. Braised in a mixture of delicious seasonings and (you guessed it) the holy trinity of vegetables, this dish is smothered in a rich roux-based sauce, which is appropriate since “etouffee” literally translates to “smother.”

Photo by: Armando Rafael

Armando Rafael

If you’re a fan of dirty rice, then you’ll love Giada’s dirty risotto recipe. It adds some Italian flair to this popular Cajun dish. Adding sausage, onions and peppers to traditional risotto, this recipe is the perfect marriage between the two cultures. And, for those of us who are still settling into these final days of winter, it makes for some great comfort food, proving that you can enjoy a Mardi Gras celebration in any kind of weather.

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100527_0274.tif

Food Stylist: Anne Disrude Prop Stylist: Amy Wilson ,Food Stylist: Anne DisrudeProp Stylist: Amy Wilson

There are plenty of savory foods available for Mardi Gras, but no meal is complete without something sweet, and these mini banana beignets are the perfect treat. Beignets are made by deep-frying small pieces of dough and adorning them with sweet and powdery sugar. This recipe adds bananas to the mix, giving the fried dough a fruity kick. Rolled in cinnamon-sugar, the end result is magnifique!

Food Network Kitchen’s No-Churn King Cake Ice Cream

Photo by: Matt Armendariz

Matt Armendariz

Last, but most definitely not least, it’s not Mardi Gras unless there’s a King Cake! This ice cream puts a creative spin on the classic dessert. Baked sweet buns topped with delicious homemade ice cream get a sprinkle of purple, gold and green – the colors that make Mardi Gras so special. Plus, there’s a hidden treasure inside!

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