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Sunday Dinner: Easy jambalaya to celebrate Mardi Gras

Take a little trip to New Orleans for dinner to celebrate Mardi Gras! Even if Mardi Gras is during the week, make time on Sunday to celebrate with the family. Create your own little piece of the French Quarter at home with good food and fun with this easy jambalaya recipe!

Let the good times roll

Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is the celebration leading up to Easter that marks the last day of revelry before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. This easy jambalaya recipe is a traditional dish that will take you and your family to New Orleans, even if just for dinner!

Set the stage

  • Decorate the house with Mardi Gras trinkets like beads, coins and masks. Traditional colors are green, gold and purple.
  • Put together a playlist of festive music made popular in Louisiana. Think zydeco, jazz and blues. Include music by Buckwheat Zydeco, Louis Armstrong, the Neville Brothers, Fats Domino, Little Richard and Wynton or Branford Marsalis. Set up the iPod to play during dinner.
  • Ornate masks are popular to wear during Mardi Gras celebrations, so come up with some ideas to have each family member create his or her own mask before dinner. You could make yours out of paper plates and festoon them with feathers, glitter and other colorful beads or sequins.

With all the celebrating, your family will work up an appetite! You can’t beat an easy version of a traditional dish for the mealtime merriment!

Easy jambalaya recipe

Serves 8


  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup celery, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups diced ham
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pound uncooked, shelled shrimp
  • 1 cup quick-cook rice


  1. Use a large pot over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Sauté the onion, celery and carrot until they’re soft.
  2. Along with one cup of water, add the diced ham, cayenne, chili powder, salt and pepper, tomato sauce and tomatoes and the bay leaves. Simmer the mixture for 15 minutes, and then add the rice. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the shrimp and cook until it turns pink, about five minutes. Remove the bay leaves. Serve hot in individual bowls.

Great food, colorful beads and upbeat music will inspire your Mardi Gras family fun!

More Sunday Dinner meals to try

Soba noodle stir-fry
Crockpot chicken and dumplings
Caramel-apple pork chops

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