Mardi Gras Parade-Watching Munchies

FACT: New Orleans Mardi Gras parades are not exclusively on Mardi Gras Day.  New Orleans begins rolling Mardi Gras parades weeks prior to Mardi Gras day.  Watching parades is basically a sporting event in southeast Louisiana. It's an event that involves  gathering with family and friends for hours of pre and post parade festivities.   New Orleanians know that you have to arrive early to avoid barricaded street closures, and you need to stay long after the parade has passed until the streets are reopened.  The festivities must have food that is served in phases throughout the day.  Here are some of my top choices simply based on how quickly they've disappeared at many parade day gatherings throughout my years of parade watching.  

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This French Bread Muffuletta is the perfect choice for the obligatory party sandwich. I prepare and freeze them in advance. I thaw overnight in the refrigerator before baking, but I have been known bake them straight out of the freezer.  If you're bringing this to a parade, wrap the warm sandwich in foil then in a dish towel.  Place in a soft sided insulated bag and you're good to go.  It's delicious room temperature, too!

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New Orleans Style Stuffed Artichokes are another great munchie to bring wrapped in a soft-sided insulated bag.  After you take out the stuffed artichokes you can use your bag to fill with all of the parade throws that your catch!

new orleans style bar b q shrimp.jpeg

Everyone loves finger food that makes us work for every delicious bite.  New Orleans Style Bar B Q Shrimp is worth every one of those shrimp that you peel. Prep ahead and keep chilled until ready to bake.  This dish bakes in just minutes, but everyone will be talking about it for days to come. 

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Hmmm, how do I describe Crawfish Cheesecake? Its this savory dip like torte that is topped with pepper jelly and it can be baked ahead, chilled and served in wedges as needed.  It's also very impressive served whole garnished with fresh herbs and crostini or thick vegetable slices. Each bite is filled with a variety of flavors that will have everyone asking for the recipe.

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Galette des Rois is a French style king cake that transports well to a parade. Make it a day ahead and no worrying about keeping it warm.  Serve room temperature and enjoy with family and friends.