Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mardi Gras Party - The Main Event

I survived my first Mardi Gras party!  Though it wasn't a traditional or very crazy party, I do think it was successful.  Hubby's family seemed to enjoy the food and the kids had fun playing with the coins, beads and masks. 
I stopped at Party City and grabbed some Mardi Gras themed plates, cups & napkins.  Normally I wouldn't have gone to the expense, but I didn't want to use all of my sister-in-law's dishes.  They were 50% so for everything it was about $7.50 which didn't seem that bad for a party.

The Spread
The biggest hit foodwise was the jambalaya.  It turned out really well - I was pleasantly surprised.  I've never really had jambalaya before.  I do make this really great Rachael Ray recipe though called "Jambasta" which has the flavors of jambalaya but with pasta instead of rice.  Now that I have had jambalaya, I know that the flavor is really close to the real thing!  Zatarain's sent a recipe with my party pack that differed from the one on the back of the package and involved using more fresh vegetables.  I think this was key to making it not taste like it came out of a box.  We will definitely be making this again in the future.
The red beans and rice were okay, nothing spectacular.  I have made the Zatarain's mix for these before, so I knew what to expect. 
As I suspected, I ended up just not using the glaze I had made for the chicken (wish I had seen this version of the recipe as it only calls for half of the ingredients compared to the one they sent to me). I'm pretty upset about how terrible it tasted and what a waste of good ingredients it was.  It used up 2 whole cups of good orange juice and most of a bottle of honey, not to mention some fresh ginger.  I don't even want to think about how much it cost to end up just throwing it in the garbage.  Depressing.
Since the glaze wasn't usable, I just seasoned some chicken strips with the Zatarain's Creole seasoning and grilled them on my trusty George Foreman grill.
The dip was pretty tasty - the Creole mustard has quite a kick to it.  I served it with celery sticks and crackers.
Another big hit was the homemade root beer (though we didn't make floats).  The first response everyone (even me and I was making fun of everyone else who said it) was "it tastes like root beer!"  Of course it does, it is root beer!  I guess we were all just a little surprised that it tasted so much like regular root beer even though it was homemade.  In a blind taste test I don't know that I would have known the difference between this and a store-bought version.
Hope everyone had a safe and fun Mardi Gras!
Dessert (I didn't put a baby in the cake but a baby did try to put himself in)
Me & Hubby
My niece, sister-in-law & her boyfriend (the ones that graciously let me borrow their house)
My nephews and niece

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