No Mardi Gras party for you this year? You’ve got your reasons. Maybe: 

  • Since you ‘re neither Catholic nor Protestant no dread of impending deprivation starting Ash Wednesday compels you to excessive frolicking on Fat Tuesday. Furthermore,
  • Fat Tuesday falls on a Tuesday this year. And your Tuesday night schedule is packed solid with work and kid responsibilities. You have no time for party decorations, fun food, Cajun music or frivolous laughter. Or, maybe the flip side is true,
  • You are alone on Tuesday nights, and the cat doesn’t drink. Plus,
  • You don’t like spicy, Cajun or Creole food.

Wow, is this a switch!? You? Passing up a party? You’d never have done that when you were 20. In fact, the only excuses you had back then were for NOT partying. A few times you had passed your friends as you headed toward the library and apologetically shrugged, “Test tomorrow, gotta’ study.” And, good friends as they were, they returned your sad, resigned looks. Maybe they reassured you that Wednesday’ night’s party would be even better. So what happened to you? “Is this your life? Is this your house? Is this your beautiful wife?”

Have you forgotten all of the reasons why you should throw a party? Especially a Mardis Gras party?! Remember these reasons?

  • You are Christian and Mardis Gras is your last night to do something that you won’t do again for 40 days. OR you do not observe Lent and this is tremendous cause for celebration.
  • A typical winter Tuesday is boring. Keeping up with the same old same old is deadening your spirit. It’s time to lighten up with a party.
  • After one or two phone calls, people will arrive at your door, ready to eat. And they’ll likely bring beer!
  • Mardis Gras food isn’t all spicy, but it is all tasty.

  So in this renewed spirit, click on “Continued reading…” for Madison, Wisconsin restaurant, The Blue Plate Diner’s recipe for spicy jambalaya, plus tips on a way to make this jambalaya not so spicy, and how to turn this Creole party food into Korean kimbap so your little kids will join in the fun and eat it too.


Taken from The Blue Plate Diner cookbook.

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons crushed garlic cloves
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces cooked and diced ham
  • 8 ounces cooked and diced chicken breast
  • 6 slices bacon, fried and crumbled
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • juice from 1 freshly-squeezed lemon
  • 1 fresh jalapeno pepper, diced
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • Tabasco sauce to taste

In a 6-quart pot, saute the onion, garlic, celery, and green pepper in olive oil on medium heat for 10 minutes until tender. Add the ham, chicken, and bacon and stir together with the vegetables. Add the diced tomatoes, lemon juice, jalapeno pepper, salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce and simmer together for 20 minutes.

Serve over white rice. Feeds 6-8.

Of course, you may have young children who fear spicy food. In this case, slip the jalapeno pepper into the jambalaya, but leave out the Tabasco sauce. Add that to your bowl of jambalaya at the table. Or instead, go even hotter than Tabasco. I added Habanero Sunshine to mine. A-HOO-AH!

But your little dears may still detect some heat. Then you’ll need to muffle the spice with some favorite food. My son loves toasted seaweed. In fact, he’ll only eat rice if it’s wrapped in seaweed, Korean kimbap style. So I wrapped some rice and jambalaya in seaweed. It looked like a long Norri roll. He gobbled it down, no problem, and then ate 4 more rolls. Yes, he felt the jalapeno heat, but then he drank his milk, – ALL of it! So seaweed is my new ally in weaning him away from bland and cutting his taste-buds on spice.

If jambalaya isn’t your cup of tea, but you still want tasty party food, here are some Wisconsin favorites created by people who love parties. These gourmet Wisconsin chefs dedicate their lives to making people happy with delicious food.

Any Excuse party gift box

Any Excuse Party Snack Assortment









Party Time Sugar Cookies

  Party Time Sugar Cookies

Cranberry Bratwurst

Cranberry Bratwursts









Suzys Cheesecake

  Suzy’s Four-Flavor Cheesecake 














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