Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!!!

Here's what I hope to be doing 30 years from now!!

Are you ready for Fat Tuesday???  
Growing up in East Texas, Mardi Gras was the one time of year that we might wish we had been born a little farther East.  The food, the beads, the floats, the music, the drinking age ...  all of these factors combine to make for one awesome party down on the Bayou.  The good Cajun people of Louisiana live large and have some fun before they settle down to repent during Lent, so hopefully we can join in the fun this week with our New Orleans-inspired menu!

Tuesday, March 8th:
Shake Your Money-Maker Chicken & Andouille Jambalaya
Central Grocery Mini Muffaletta on French Bread rounds
French Quarter Fresh Green Beans
Vegetarian Option:  Stuffed Mushrooms & Black-Eyed Pea Jambalaya
Kids Meal:  Cheesy Chicken & Rice Casserole ($5) 
GYTTW:  Southwestern Chicken Pie ($20, veg version with kidney beans $15)
Dessert:  Voodoo Oreo Truffles ($6)

If you've never had jambalaya, you are in for a treat!  It can take many different forms, but it's essentially a rice dish mixed with meats and veggies in cajun seasoning - so delicious!  Our version - the Shake Your Money-Maker - has lots of chicken and sausage - you'll be out of your chair dancing in no time!  It's great hot or cold, and, of course, you can mix in lots of Tabasco if you like it spicy.  I would also recommend a cold beer, but if you're in the mood for a true Mardi Gras celebration, mix up a Hurricane and call in sick on Wednesday!

If you've even been to New Orleans, I hope you ate at least one Muffaletta sandwich.  We love them so much that the last time we were there my husband ate one at 9 am on the way out of town!  Just thinking about it makes my mouth water - it's an enormous, round sandwich piled high with Italian meats and cheeses, and spread with muffaletta dressing - a combo of olives, pickled veggies, capers, and seasonings.  We're serving it as a little appetizer so you can enjoy the flavors without the whole big-as-your-head sandwich, since it seemed a little gluttonous (even for Fat Tuesday) to eat a muffaletta sandwich and jambalaya in one meal! 

Just so you don't get too carried away with Fat Tuesday, we're serving delicious french green beans (haricot verts, if you must be particular) - the skinny, crispy ones that you can just pick up and munch on.  I have found that these are a great return on investment with my kids - they will eat these as fast as I can make them, while regular green beans are a complete loser around here.  Go figure.

Now, normally I don't write too much about the vegetarian option since it's usually just the same as the regular meal, minus the meat, but this week I think you veggie lovers will be pretty pleased with our offering.  You will be sad, very sad, to miss out on the muffaletta, but there is just no graceful vegetarian way around a big pile of Italian meats.  We felt sorry for you, so we are making something that I think will be almost as delicious - little bites of yummy Stuffed Mushrooms and a very flavorful Black-Eyed Pea Jambalaya.  

This week's Get You Through the Week Meal, the Southwestern Chicken Pie, is going to make your night!  It's a great variation on a familiar dish - made with fresh peppers, mushrooms, corn, black beans, chicken and cheddar cheese, it's wholesome and comforting at the same time.  We're skipping the bottom crust for a lighter meal - pair it with a green salad and you've got a fabulous, hearty dinner for the whole family!

Okay y'all, this whole Mardi Gras menu was basically created by me so that I could convince Caroline (the baking queen), to make these incredible Voodoo Oreo Truffles.  They are so, so good, and I knew that she would fall for my idea of decorating them in Mardi Gras colors - too cute!  You will be alternatively thanking me for bringing you something so delicious and cursing me for creating a desire that you never knew you had - hence the voodoo!  

That's what we've got this week, y'all.  Let's celebrate & have some fun, even if we're stumbling around the house chasing 3-year olds rather than stumbling around New Orleans trying to catch beads!  

Thanks & see you on the porch!


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