Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Happy Fat Tuesday/Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras!

Today is the last big hurrah before the season of Lent begins.  And while I am not in New Orleans, I can bring a little Cajun flavor into my Western Pennsylvania home.  This is not something I will do every year, but this year, the mood just struck me, so I decided, why not.

Because tonight is my last photography class (sad face) I will not be home when Hubby arrives, and we will not see each other until 9 pm.  So, I went ahead and prepared the food this morning, so all we need to do is heat it up tonight for our Mardi Gras feast!

For the main course, I made chicken and sausage jambalaya.

 I used precooked sausage that was labeled "andouille style", because that is as close as I could get without going to a specialty store.  I cooked chicken, and later the sausage, in some Worcestershire sauce and Cajun seasoning.  I set it aside, and started my rice.  Since I wanted this to be full of flavor, I used a Cajun rice mix, with some flavoring included.  I got that started, then started cooking veggies for the jambalaya.  I cooked up some frozen peppers and onions, and added chopped mushrooms, again with Worcestershire and Cajun seasoning.  Then, I added a can of diced tomatoes.  Once that all cooked down, and the rice was at a good boil, I added the veggies, chicken, and sausage to the rice, and just let it cook down.  It looks and smells amazing!

I also made a side dish of Cajun vegetables.

 It was so simple, I just sliced two young zucchini, added some sliced mushrooms, and sliced onions.  Again, I seasoned with Worcestershire and Cajun seasoning, and just let it cook down until the veggies were tender, but not soggy.

And finally, no Mardi Gras dinner is complete without king cake!

 I decided to make the king cake well ahead of time, so I actually made it yesterday.  I got some box mixes for dough, and added sugar to make it sweet dough.  I mixed it Sunday night, and put it in the fridge, they got it out early yesterday and let it warm and rise.  Once it had risen, I shaped it into a log, and rolled that out flat.  I took fat free cream cheese and rolled it into a log, and placed that in the middle of the dough, then spooned strawberry pie filling on top.  I folded all the sides and ends over, using water to seal it a little, then shaped into a ring and baked.  I used a can of vanilla frosting, divided into 3 bowls.  Using milk and food coloring, I thinned the icing to a glaze and made green, gold, and purple.  Once the cake cooled, I spooned the glaze over the cake, then put colored sugar on top.  It looks amazing.

So, there you have it folks.  My  Mardi Gras feast for tonight.  Not completely authentic, but easy, fast, and cost effective.

I have and uncle who lived in Louisiana for many years.  I think he would be surprised and pleased how well this Polish Princess can cook like a Cajun Queen!