Seasonal Sundays: The Best of N'awlins (Week 6)

Today's recipes are inspired by a couple of days in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. Such exuberance! Such fun! If a little Mardi Gras fun sounds like, well, fun, I've got not just recipes but a mostly make-ahead menu for our own party next weekend. Laissez les bons temps rouler! Grab some beads and let the good times roll!

Seasonal Sundays, a weekly newsletter ♥, a seasonal collection of recipes and life ideas in and out of the kitchen.

Welcome to Seasonal Sundays ...

As ever, thank you for welcoming me into your InBox and RSS feed reader. It's your kitchens, your lives, I conjure while writing ...

Hello from New Orleans, where I write from ten floors up, looking down onto Canal Street. Friday was a perfect day, weather-wise for Mardi Gras parades and more. Today, Saturday, it's drippy and dreary and sadly, from what I hear, today's parades are not happenin'. The mood on the street? Hard to tell since not many people are out yet. I see one umbrella, the festive purple-green-gold colors of these days before Lent.

And ... our first two meals out, we started with cups of gumbo. Both were good, just not our favorite. (It's like our favorite seven-year old who said to her mom at breakfast recently, "Auntie Al's eggs aren't our eggs.")

And ... in an instant, we found ourselves plotting a Cajun feast, hoping it would turn into a small party, not knowing yet if the party would be this coming Saturday or Superbowl Sunday. (Anyone else kinda wish such fun occasions weren't all smooshed together in these next ten days?)

Maybe the prospect of a big pot of gumbo will inspire your own party mood? Just grab some beads ...

PS My apologies for the Monday delivery of Seasonal "Sundays". The Wifi at our hotel was abysmal, there was just no getting anything finished.

About the Photo By Popular Request, a Little Insight into the Top Image: This is the gathering of the Cork Krewe in front of the Court of Two Sisters on Royal Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans. So much fun! The costumes were amazing, from elegant to sheer fun. Everybody was h-a-p-p-y and it was 11 in the morning so nobody was yet in their cups. (And honestly, we didn't see obviously drunk people until 11 at night and they appeared to be all tourists, not local revelers.) Funky jazz from clarinetist/vocalist "Doreen" kept people a-bounce, lots of bystanders, lots of phones in the air, capturing a slice of Mardi Gras N'awlins-style.

Ten Things to ♥ About February

  • The days are noticeably! longer
  • Late-winter sunsets can stop you in your tracks
  • Plotting a mid-winter escape somewhere warm is its own therapy
  • But there's still hope for a surprise snow day or two
  • So many non-Hallmark celebration possibilities: the Superbowl, Mardi Gras, Pancake Tuesday, Galentines, the Lunar New Year, Presidents Day, and ... this year, Leap Day!
  • Some theaters show the year's best movies back to back and if not, there's 31 Days of Oscars beginning February 9th on the classic movie channel
  • Chocolate-peanut butter cups in heart shapes!
  • Still two months to get your taxes done
  • It's a short month, even in a Leap Year

  • What do you love (or okay, despise) about February?

Democracy Matters

The country needs calm, thoughtful and assertive voices amid the chaos inflicted by a minority hellbent on taking/retaining generational power by strangling democratic principles and equal rights. None of us have to personally change the world. We just have to do our part.

SURPRISE EVEN YOURSELF? 30 Things Joe Biden Did as President You Might Have Missed This president makes a huge difference, let's share that story.

UNDERSTANDING THE 14TH AMENDMENT, BEGINNING WITH THE CIVIL WAR The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the State of Colorado's action to disqualify Trump from running for president. This is the best explanation of the use of the 14th Amendment I've seen, from the brilliant Dahlia Lithwick and her guest Manisha Sinha, a professor of the history of the Civil war and reconstruction period. It's 100% worth a listen. Or two. The Neglected Constitutional History That Disqualifies Trump

Useful Links This Month

Let me just presume that if you're reading this, well, you're both a cook and a recipe collector. Don't the two kinda go together? And that means you tuck aside interesting recipe ideas all over the place and then, dang, where is that chicken recipe that looked so good anyway? Here's an idea. Start a folder on your phone, call it "Kitchen Parade" or "Alanna" or whatever makes best sense to you. Then save the recipes you're most interested in right there in one place. Easy Peasy.

Ahhhh, Warm Cornbread.
With Butter. Or Honey.
Because, Well, February.

~ Skillet Cornbread ~
~ Sweet Cornbread ~
~ Sweet Potato Cornbread ~
~ Savory Cornbread Muffins ~

~ corn bread recipes ~

February: Reader Favorites

Slow-Cooked or Slow Cooker Pot Roast ♥, four easy tricks for tender, moist and flavorful pot roast. Low Carb. Weight Watchers friendly.

February: Lost Recipes

Cut-Out Spice Cookies ♥, easy roll-out cookies with gingerbread spices for year-round occasions.

THE SEASONAL SEVEN: The Best of N'awlins for Mardi Gras

For this week's recipes, I aimed for recipes with Cajun and Creole flavors and combinations that are ...

  • ... easily made ahead of time, even mostly the day before
  • ... a mix of meaty and vegetarian options
  • ... easily matched with your own favorites
  • ... party-friendly but not too over the top for a family meal
  • ... Superbowl-friendly too!
Gumbo ♥, a classic Cajun gumbo except that the roux is cooked in the oven. Let the oven do the stirring!

Hurricane Rice with Shrimp & Sausage, a Cajun-style Quick Supper ♥ On the table in 30 minutes, packed with flavor & protein.

Red Beans & Rice, another slow-cooked healthy dinner ♥ Meaty or Vegan. Weight Watchers Friendly. High Protein. Great for Meal Prep.

Big Cajun Chopped Salad, another fresh, flexible & healthy salad ♥ Great with gumbo, jambalaya, shrimp creole, crawfish boils and more.

Cajun Dirty Rice with Eggplant, a great choice for Mardi Gras and Cajun parties ♥ A Veggie Venture. Vegan. WW Friendly. Low Cal. Low Carb.

Slow-Cooked Greens & Smoked Turkey ♥, healthy leafy greens cooked until tender and luscious with a smoked turkey leg or ham hocks. Low Carb. Low Cal. High Protein. Gluten Free. Great for Meal Prep and Weight Watchers.

Bourbon Pralines ♥, the famous praline recipe from the New Orleans School of Cooking, given an extra southern touch with bourbon.

A collection of recipes for Mardi Gras ♥
  • THE COLLECTION Mardi Gras Cajun and Creole straight from N'awlins.
  • ALL THE HOLIDAYS All the Holidays Year-round food for fun and celebration.

Mardi Gras at Home with Friends 2024

(sparkly beads and sequined headgear recommended)

~ Pimento Cheese with Ritz Crackers ~
~ Smoked Shrimp ~
with Five-Minute Shrimp Cocktail Sauce
~ Mardi Gras Veggie Platter (purple, green, gold) ~

~ Gumbo ~
with White Rice & Green Onion

~ Sweet Potato Cornbread ~
~ Big Cajun Chopped Salad ~

~ Key Lime Pie ~
with My Favorite Graham Cracker Crust~
~ or maybe Bananas Foster ~

~ or maybe Vanilla Ice Cream ~
with Homemade Caramel Sauce &
~ Bourbon Pralines ~

What's Brand-Spankin' New?!

Wondering about a recipe from the last while? Check Recent Recipes from Kitchen Parade and Recent Vegetable Recipes from A Veggie Venture.

Laundry Room Refresh on a Budget ♥

The Kitchen Parade Almanac: Looking Ahead ...

  • February 10th (Wednesday) - Lunar New Year
  • February 11th (duh, Sunday) - Superbowl Sunday
  • February 13th (Tuesday) - Mardi Gras / Shrove Tuesday / Pancake Night
  • February 14th (Wednesday) - Valentine's
  • February 14th (Wednesday) - Ash Wednesday / Beginning of Lent
  • Fridays During Lent - Friday Fish
  • February 19th (Monday) - President's Day
  • February 29th (Thursday) - Leap Day 2024

  • March 1st - Alanna's Unofficial First Day of Spring
  • March 10th (Sunday) - "spring forward" time change
  • March 10th (Sunday) - Academy Awards
  • March 12th - Equal Pay Day
  • March 14th (Thursday) - Pi Day
  • March 16th (Saturday) - St. Urho's Day
  • March 17th (Sunday) - St. Patrick's Day
  • March 19th (Tuesday) - First Official Day of Spring
  • March 28th (Thursday) - Baseball Opening Day!
  • March 31st - Easter (yikes! soooo early!)

  • April 1 - April Fool's Day
  • April 8 - Solar Eclipse
Football Fever! ♥, a fun, football-friendly collection of game-changing recipes for Superbowl parties. Party on!

Make Tonight a Pancake Night ♥ Move over Taco Tuesday and Pizza Friday!

A collection of recipes for Valentine's Day ♥

Looking Back ...

Veggies Forever!

Seasonal Soups & Salads for February, a monthly feature ♥ A Veggie Venture

Not to Miss!

Light Red Cabbage & Carrot Slaw, another bright, healthy salad ♥ A Veggie Venture. Weight Watchers Friendly. Vegan. Naturally Gluten Free. Winter Color!

Good to Know!

Ten Things I Love About Our New Kitchen (After Ten Years!) ♥ Surprisingly, seven don't require a remodeling budget or construction dust.

Just Updated!

Manna Café Oatcakes ♥ Famous oatmeal pancakes from the much-missed restaurant in Madison, Wisconsin.

Something to Read

I fllllllllllew through this book, an easy listen while driving. And I'm glad to know that it's Book 3 in a series because you can bet, I'm going back for 1 and 2. It's filled with 1970s nostalgia and cultural icons, like Tom Wolfe's I Am Charlotte Simmons did for college life in the early 2000s. The plot line was both a shock and oh-so-obvious in retrospect. Love this!

Don't Be a Stranger ...

I'd love to hear from you. Comment, send me a quick e-mail (my current address is in the FAQs), dot-dash in Morse code, build a fire for smoke signals, launch a message in a bottle, send a Christmas letter, get the dog to yip, toss me a note wrapped in a rubberband, write a message in the sky, scratch a note in the sand, listen to a seashell, tuck a question into a plastic Easter egg, whatever.

  • Any ideas for Seasonal Sundays? Share away!
  • Who's kinda sad that there's so many good holidays smooshed into a few days this year?
  • Who cooks in / goes out for Valentine's Day? Who does Gal-entines? Sounds fun!
  • Who's thinking what fun might be had on February 29th, this Leap Year?
  • Who thinks their gumbo's better than any restaurant gumbo?
  • Who's itching for a little beach time?
  • Anything else? Chime in, chat away.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. When you make my recipes, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below or better still, on the specific recipe's page.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.