August 31, 2010

Review of Mam Papaul's Jambalaya Recipe Mix

 Mam Papaul Jambalaya Recipe Mix

Jambalaya is a basic rice dish that is a staple in Louisiana Cajun cuisine. This spicy rice dish is ubiquitous at festivals and parties through out the state. (See our Jambalaya post) Unfamiliar with Cajun cooking? Looking to try Jambalaya at home? A jambalaya mix is the way to go! Just add your preferred type of seafood, meat or poultry and let the simmering spices fill your kitchen with the smells of home cooking.

I was originally skeptical of a boxed mix, but after trying Mam Papaul's Jambalaya recipe mix, I can whole-heartedly recommend this Jambalaya mix. It has a good balance of spice and seasoning. It was mild enough for my 7 year old, but spicy enough for my husband. Try it at home! I know you will like it, too!
The Jambalaya box mix contains a package of rice and seasonings (shown above.) You will need to provide the meat you prefer (apx.½ pound per type) and an optional 4 tablespoons of tomato sauce or ketchup. I added fresh chopped bell pepper, onion and garlic to my Jambalaya mix along with Tony Chachere's Seasonings. These additions is optional. It would still be good with out them.
1/2 pound chicken -cut into bite size pieces
1/2 pound smoked sausage*- sliced
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tomato sauce, optional
Tony Chachere seasoning, optional

Cooking Jambalaya
Jambalaya Directions:

Add a small amount of oil to the bottom of a dutch oven (just enough so the sausage will not stick to the pan).

Heat on medium-high. Saute sausage* in the pan. The sausage will render some fat and seasoning to help season/saute the other ingredients.

* I used a milder green onion based smoked Cajun sausage from Manda, but any smoked Cajun sausage will work.

Steps to cook Jambalaya

Add chicken pieces to the pan. Season with Tony Chachere's.

Saute this mixture until chicken is fully cooked.

Adding veggies to Jambalaya
Add vegetables (garlic, bell pepper, onion.) Garlic should be finely minced. The bell pepper and onion can be cut up as preferred. Some may like chunkier vegetables that you can see. Others may want vegetables minced into finer pieces that blend in.  

Saute vegetables until tender.

Jambalaya, almost done!

Once veggies are tender, add water or seasoned stock, 2 cups. I used water.  Then, add tomato sauce or fresh tomatoes, if preferred.

Pour in the contents of Mam Papaul's rice/seasoning packet.

Stir to combine. Cover with lid. Lower heat. Simmer for 20, until rice is tender.

Yummy Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

The finished product:
Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya Serve up this delicious chicken and sausage Jambalaya rice dish with a simple green salad. My family loved it. This Jambalaya box mix was quick and easy with a nice spice blend.

I hope you will make this Cajun dish at home for your family some time. Enjoy!

Jambalaya related information:

Jambalaya, a Louisiana specialty !

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya
Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and file' gumbo...
son of a gun, we’ll have big fun on the bayou”

bell pepper, onion and garlic
Jambalaya (pronounced: jum-buh-LIE-uh) is an easy delicious dish with a funny “sing song” name. Basically, Jambalaya is a spicy Cajun rice dish that starts with browned, seasoned meat and/or seafood. Then garlic, bell pepper, celery and onions are added. Some people add tomatoes; others are firmly against that. The recipe is finished off with rice and seasoned stock. All the ingredients simmer together until the rice is cooked. Each recipe for Jambalaya is as unique as the family that creates them. A combination of chicken and sausage (smoked Cajun style) is a common type of Jambalaya, but it can be made with seafood, fowl, beef or pork depending on personal preferences.

History of Jambalaya. There are many theories about where Jambalaya and the name originated. From Louisiana’s French heritage, some hypothesis that jambalaya was originally prepared with ham, “jambon” in French, hence the name... Jambalaya. Others believe that this dish is a variation of the Spanish rice dish “paella”. With Louisiana’s rich cultural diversity it is hard to pinpoint the exact origin of this dish. Regardless, Jambalaya was created in Louisiana and is embraced by current cooks all over the south.

Jambalaya is an indispensable Louisiana dish. You would be hard pressed to find a tailgate, Church/Parish* fair or school fundraiser that does not serve this rice dish. Jambalaya is perfect for such occasions because it can be made inexpensively in large batches and cooking a big batch is part of the fun. Large wash-tub sized cast iron jambalaya pots seasoned to perfection combined with man power, secret spice blends and a big wooden stirring paddles create steaming mounds of Jambalaya. Just as with the ritual of a crawfish boil, half the fun is the ritual of  the individual recipe. Large jambalaya cook-off events are held around the south. There is even a Jambalaya Festival held in Gonzales, Louisiana. Samples of exotic and common jambalaya abound at these fun events. Bragging rights and/ or prizes go to the teams with the best pot of jambalaya.
*In Louisiana, we have parishes instead of counties.

cooking jambalaya
Traditional Jambalaya versus Jambalaya Mixes. Traditional Jambalaya, although simple to make, takes lots of time to prepare and cook. If you do not want to go through the mess and time to make a  huge pot of Jambalaya, there are different Jambalaya Mixes so you can create this Cajun dish at home. Just add your preferred type of seafood, meat or poultry and let the simmering spices fill your kitchen with home cooking warmth.

To see the whole assortment of Jambalaya mixes that Mardi Gras Outlet offers, see our Jambalaya Mixes or Louisiana Food Mixes page.

Being one not to take cooking shortcuts, I was originally sceptical of the boxed mix. But after trying Mam Papaul's Jambalaya recipe mix, I can recommend a boxed Jambalaya mix. It has a good balance of spice and seasoning (mild enough for my 7 year old, but spicy enough for my husband.)  For the complete review, check out our post: A review of Mam Papaul's Jambalaya Recipe Mix. You will find "how to" descriptions and detailed photos of cooking Mam Papaul's Jambalaya Mix.

If you would prefer to cook Jambalaya from scratch, here is a great recipe inspired by Chef Paul Produmme original recipe. My version simplifies a few steps (i.e. making your own Creole spice blend).

Chicken and Smoked Sausage Jambalaya
Creole Seasoning Blend (Tony Chachere's or Slap ya Mama)
2 whole bay leaves
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 pound smoked sausage (apx 2 cups)
3/4 pound boneless chicken, cut up into bite size pieces (apx 2 cups)
1 cup onion chopped
1 cup celery chopped
1 cup green bell pepper chopped
1 tbsp garlic minced
1/2 cup canned tomato sauce
1 cup chopped tomatoes
2 1/2 cups Basic Chicken Stock
1 1/2 cups uncooked rice

  • Heat large stock pot, dutch oven or cast iron pot on medium- high to high heat. Add butter and melt.
  • Add sausage to pan and saute until sausage browns slightly.
  • Add chicken. Season with creole seasoning. Stir frequently.  Cook until the chicken is completely done. 
  • Add vegetables (onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic.) Cook until these vegetables are tender. 
  • Add tomato sauce and chopped tomatoes. Stir all the ingredients together.
  • Stir in stock and rice. Add bay leaves. Mix well. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan.(These browned/seasoned bits are the good part.)
  • Lower heat to low/simmer. Cook for 1 hour or more until the rice in tender. Stir infrequently.
  • Remove the bay leaves and serve.

So whether you create your Jambalaya from scratch or make it from a box mix, know that you are enjoying a completely unique Louisiana dish! Bon Appetit!

August 24, 2010

Tony Chachere's Shrimp and Crawfish Fettuccine Recipe

Looking for a good recipe to use with the gulf shrimp that are now back on the market? 

Try this recipe for Shrimp and Crawfish Fettuccine, originally posted on Tony Chachere's blog on Mouth Watering Monday! This version is different from the one my mom always makes. The addition of the spicy Jalapeno relish really spices things up.

I hope you enjoy it!

•2 Whole Chopped Onions
•2 Whole Chopped Celery
•1 Whole Chopped Bell Pepper
•1 Whole Chopped Green Onion
•6 tablespoon oil
•2 tablespoon All-Purpose Flour
•1/8 cup Chopped Parsley
•2 pound Crawfish tails
•2 tablespoon Jalapeno Relish
•1/2 pound Velveeta Cheese
•1/2 pint Half and Half
•3 Whole Garlic (minced)
•3 tablespoon Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning
•1/2 pound Fettuccine
•1/2 cup Parmesan

  1. In a Dutch oven, saute’ onions, celery, bell pepper, and green onions in oil on medium heat until tender.
  2. Add flour, parsley, and crawfish and cook for 15 minutes.
  3. Add relish, cheese, Half and Half, and garlic.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Stir often to prevent sticking.
  6. Season with Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning.
  7. During the last 10 minutes of cooking crawfish, begin boiling the pasta so that it will be tender at the same time that the crawfish is cooked.
  8. Follow directions on the bag to boil the pasta.
  9. When the pasta is tender, drain, rinse in cold water, and drain again.
  10. In 1 or 2 casseroles, coated with cooking spray, pour some of the pasta across evenly, then cover with crawfish mixture.
  11. Continue alternating pasta and crawfish mixture until all is used up.
  12. Sprinkle top wit Parmesan cheese (optional) .
  13. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Makes 8-12 servings.

August 17, 2010

Mardi Gras Bead Mosaics by New Orleans Artist Stephan Wanger

Stephan Wanger Mardi Gras Bead MosaicDown, but not out!
New Orleans has seen its share of good times, but lately we have had more than our fair share of bad. Luckily the "Laissez les bon temps rouler" attitude is alive and well in New Orleans in spite of the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill of late.

In a tribute to the tenacity and ingenuity of the people of New Orleans, local mosaic artist Stephan Wanger is recycling tons (literally tons) of glittering Mardi Gras beads into wonderful mosaics. For his latest project the artist created an enormous mosaic of 250,000 Mardi Gras beads with a goal to raise $1,000,000 for the city. Stephan Wanger's piece, appropriately named "NOLA's Resilience," will be unveiled on August 25, 2010 at 6:30 pm at the JW Marriott. This event preceded by a traditional New Orleans jazz funeral and second line will mark the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and  recognize the struggle, perseverance and survival of New Orleans and its' people.

Mardi Gras bead mosaics...what a great way to recycle, re-use and pay tribute to an integral part of New Orleans culture!  Mardi Gras beads are a natural medium. This project inspires me to create something fabulous of my own with Mardi Gras beads. Look for future posts here featuring this fun mosaic technique!

For more information about the events surrounding the mosaic unveiling and 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina including President Obama's visit for the occasion see these links: 
Stephan Wanger Mardi Gras Bead Mosaic

To read  more of about Stephan Wanger and see his amazing collection of mosaic artwork, see his website:

Photo/Art credit: Stephan Wanger

August 12, 2010

Authentic Cajun and Creole Foods

To create a true Louisiana experience, you have to incorporate Cajun or Creole food. So Mardi Gras Outlet has expanding our selection of Louisiana products to include a larger variety of food and drink mixes. Now your experience of Louisiana at home can be close to the one you have right here in Louisiana. Bring that Creole taste home with any of our simple mixes for Louisiana favorites.

A trip to south Louisiana is not complete with out sampling a few of our favorite unique dishes. Recently a special French family came to visit us here in South Louisiana. Of course, we served them the requisite crawfish, crab and shrimp but we added in boudin balls, gumbo and bread pudding to complete the meal. It got me thinking about how fun and unique it is to live in a place so rich with food culture and history.

All the new food products we offer are mainstay meals in Louisiana, but the some of the funny names may sound unusual and exotic to someone from outside the Louisiana culture. For posts on Louisiana Foods, see our Louisiana Foods page where we explain a few of these exotic dishes, offer a little history and show you how the food mixes look when you prepared at home. I hope it will inspire you to bring a little piece of Louisiana to your kitchen.

We also made some beignets with Cafe Du Monde's Beignet mix. Click here to see this new blog post.

Here are a few of the new food items offered at Mardi Gras Outlet in our Louisiana/Cajun products. See the Food and Drink Mixes page at Mardi Gras Outlet for a complete listing of all the products available.

Cajun Creole Food Products

Pirogue Basket with Louisiana Food Products
I love the pretty graphic presentation of these food products. Create a Louisiana themed centerpiece with these printed food boxes, bags and tins. I envision the striking color combination created with the bright yellow CafĂ© du Monde tins piled on a table. Use these empty tin coffee containers for flowers, cutlery or to serve beignets. Just like the table shown in our crawfish boil table-scape post, a table centerpiece of  Cajun and Creole food products piled in baskets or pirogues creates a festive Cajun table-scape that is both practical and pretty!

Bon Appetite!
Better start cooking…I plan to!

Photo Beignets: Fork Lift
Photo Cafe du monde coffee tin: Cinco Drive

August 11, 2010

Mardi Gras Pin the Jewel on the Crown Game

Looking for great game for kids to play at a Mardi Gras themed birthday party. Here is a perfect one....Pin the Jewel on the Crown.
Pin the Jewel on the Crown Mardi Gras Game
Originally posted in Country Living for a Medieval costume party, this fun game is a creative take on traditional Pin the Tail on the Donkey. It is a festive children's party game for a Mardi Gras themed  party.

To make the Jeweled Crown Game:
  1. Trace a large crown shape on a large piece of paper or poster board. The game shown is cut out of plain brown packaging paper. Metallic gold gift wrap would be a good alternative to add some sparkle to the crown.
  2. Cut out your crown shape.
  3. Add sparkly accents to the crown with Mardi Gras beads, metallic doubloons or plastic jewels.
  4. Choose one "prize spot" on the crown for the children to aim for. Mark this with a large  X.
  5. For the jewels: Cut assorted colored paper into circles or octagon jeweled shapes. Another option would be to have the children create their own jewels. Use card-stock cut into jewel shapes. Let the children glue on sparkly Mardi Gras beads, glitter, ribbon and jewels for their own custom jewel creation. (After the game, is over they can take these home.)
To play the game (just like pin the tail on the donkey, but substitute jewels for the donkey tails):
  1. Hang your crown game on a flat wall with clear space on each side (in case the kids miss the target.)
  2. Mark each jewel with a child's name. Put a tape roll or a piece of double stick tape on the back of the jewel.
  3. Each child takes a turn putting jewels on the crown. I would suggest, youngest to oldest.
  4. Children are blindfolded. From a starting line, point them in the direction of the crown game and let them try to put the jewel on the crown. The goal is to get on or close to the target jewel space.
  5. After each player has a turn, the player with the jewel closest to the target wins.
  6. Give out prizes to the closest jewel. A great idea for a prize would be a crown and/or tiara for the winning players. King and Queen of your Mardi Gras celebration.
 I am sure this game will be the hit of your party. It is an easy and inexpensive way to keep kids entertained for a Mardi Gras Themed event. Have you hosted a Mardi Gras themed party? Have any great games or ideas to share? If you do, please share them with us at

August 4, 2010

Share your creations and party ideas with us!

Beaded Art Car
What an amazing creation!

This art car, The Intergalactic, won first place at Houston Art Car Parade. The car was decorated with   (7) seven cases of  assorted styles of Mardi Gras beads purchased from Mardi Gras Outlet . Mardi Gras beads cover the entire car as well as the large sun on the top.

Thank you to  L. Roca an Art Teacher  in Houston, Texas for sumbitting this to Mardi Gras Outlet.

We would love to see your creative ideas for our any of our products. Send us party decorations, craft projects, or pictures with our costumes! If you would like to share photos, videos or ideas, please email them to us at We may feature them here on our Idea Blog, at Mardi Gras or on our Mardi Gras Outlet Facebook page.

We look forward to seeing all your creative ideas. Thanks for sharing!

August 1, 2010

Crawfish Boil Tablescape

crawfish boil tablescape

This precious Crawfish Boil Tablescape was featured on the Opulent Cottage Blog. I had to share it here. The Louisiana products and crawfish theme create such a cute tablescape. Thanks Andrea for sharing it! Check out this blog for more pictures of this crawfish boil theme tablescape.

Here are even more centerpiece ideas for crawfish boils:
Crawfish Balloon Decoration
Cajun Crawfish Centerpiece Ideas
Crawfish Door Decoration
Mesh Crawfish Sacks Centerpiece
Crawfish Boil Centerpiece with Bobble Crawfish

Hand-Embroidered Crawfish(Lobster) Linens!

crawfish/lobster guest towelBeautiful hand-embroidered linens featuring red crawfish just arrived! What we are calling crawfish is probably more likely a lobster (since people outside of Louisiana don't really spotlight crawfish.) So these linens would be great for a lobster boil, too!

crawfish/lobster apronThe crawfish/lobster motif is available on a pretty cotton guest towel or a white linen apron. The details in this embroidery are amazing. The linen apron has three embroidered crawfish and a large pocket on the front. The embroidered guest towels could also be used for large dinner napkins.

Whether you are using them as a crawfish or a lobster, these linens are unique and festive! To see more crawfish/lobster themed party supplies, check out the Cajun and Louisiana supplies at Mardi Gras Outlet. ENJOY!


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