Mardi Gras is Coming: Celebrate With Vicky Braun’s Jambalaya, Bananas Foster, and Red Beans and Rice

Image credit: Public Domain
Image credit: Public Domain

Mardi Gras is a French term that translates as “Fat Tuesday,” and refers to the practice of indulging in rich, fatty foods and copious amounts of drink ahead of Ash Wednesday, which marks the official start of the ritual fasting and self-denial sacrifice season known as Lent. It is also one week away as of today, and with the arrival of another year, I find myself once again lamenting that I am once again physically quite far removed from New Orleans. Come Hades or hurricane, though, I will get again there within the next two years or breathe my last trying.

In the meantime, here’s something for me and every food lover to feel good about:Vicky Braun, inventor of the Lid Pocket (www.lidpocket.com) – a hands-free lid solution for most slow cookers – has graciously shared her favorite fix-it-and-forget-it slow cooker Mardi Gras recipes. Inspired by the melding of spicy, Southern-inspired ingredients, many Mardi Gras dishes are best prepared and served in a slow-cooker. So, Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler, slowly…

Jambalaya

JambalayaIngredients:

  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 pound sausage (Andouille, Polish or Jennie-O turkey sausage) sliced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice (drained)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped or pressed
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 2-3 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 pound cooked shrimp without tails (add last 30 minutes)
  • 2 – 2.5 cups cooked rice – brown or white (stir in 10 minutes before serving)

 Do This:

  • In a slow cooker, combine all the ingredients above except the rice and shrimp.
  • Cover and cook 6 to 8 hours on LOW or 3 to 4 hours on HIGH.  Stir in the shrimp during the last 20 minutes of cook time.
  • Stir in cooked rice 10 minutes before serving.  Serves 10-12

Banana Foster

banana fosterIngredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 5 medium, firm bananas, peeled, cut lengthwise and then diagonally into thirds
  • 1/3 cup dark rum

Do This:

  • Melt butter in slow cooker on low (approx. 10 minutes)
  • Mix in brown sugar
  • Gently stir in the bananas and rum
  • Cook on low for one hour (until bananas are glazed and softened; do not overcook. You don’t want mushy bananas.)
  • Spoon banana mixture over vanilla ice cream, pound cake or Belgium waffles
  • Serve and enjoy!

Louisiana Red Beans and Rice

Red Beans and RiceIngredients:

  • 1 pound dried red beans (soaked overnight, drained and rinsed)
  • 7 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ½ pound Andouille sausage, (Polish or Jennie-O Turkey sausage work too)
  • 3 tablespoons Creole seasoning
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Cooked rice – white or brown

Do This:

  • Put the first nine ingredients in the slow cooker.
  • Cover and cook on HIGH 5-7 hours or until beans are tender.
  • Serve over rice – white or brown.

Curious about the Lid Pocket and hungry too? Spread some “Like” on its Facebook page, and for more of Vicky Braun’s favorite slow cooker recipes.

[Recipe images courtesy of Vicky Braun]

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