In my house Mardi Gras is no joke. I spend most of the day cooking jambalaya and king cake. Don't ask why I started this tradition, it just happened with no rhyme or reason. However, everyone I know is grateful for the food. I searched the internet looking for the best recipes for your Mardi Gras this year.

What is Mardi Gras? Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday where you stuff your face before lent. That's the SparkNotes version. Of course now, Madi Gras has become synonymous with New Orleans. In New Orleans, Mardi Gras is celebrated for a few weeks with parades and festivals. I had the pleasure of visiting New Orleans back in 2010 and it's pretty funny how the beads, people associate with Mardi Gras, are hanging everywhere.

TSM Chelsea Corrine

Here are some pictures from the Mardi Gras museum in New Orleans.

Now onto the recipes.

I make a HUGE pot of jambalaya every year. I think you think when I say huge you picture a lobster pot or a large pasta pot. That's too small. I take a roasting pan and put it over 2 burners on my stove. I, at minimum, double the recipe below. I sometimes will even make 3 times the amount. This recipe makes 5 average servings, however you won't have any leftovers or seconds. Keep that in mind.

My favorite recipe I found is from myrecipes.com. I don't add the hot sauce because the sausage I get is spicy enough. Check out the recipe here. Finding the right sausage is tricky. I've found most brands are more smokey in flavor than spicy. My favorite is Wegmans' brand andouille.

You've got to have cornbread with your jambalaya, it balances off the spicy-ness with the sweet flavor of the cornbread. I love this recipe from thespruce.com because they make it in a skillet. Check out the skillet cornbread recipe here.

King cake will take you the longest to make because you have to let the dough sit for 2 hours and then an additional 45 minutes. I would suggest doing this first, then the cornbread, then the jambalaya. It will make it less stressful. Here is the recipe I use for king cake.

The tradition of king cake may seem a bit odd because you put a toy baby in it after it cooks. The baby is to represent baby Jesus. Whoever gets the piece with baby Jesus will have good luck, is the king of Mardi Gras, and is responsible for Mardi Gras next year. After your cake cools, make a small cut on the bottom and pop the toy in. I found these babies on Amazon.

For all of those over 21, check out this recipe for a hurricane. You need something to wash it all down with don't you?

Another New Orleans food that you can make for your Mardi Gras festivities are beignets. Beignets are a fried puff pastry with powdered sugar. Pretty much, they're amazing. Here is a pretty straight forward recipe.

Have a happy Mardi Gras!

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