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Southern Fare for Mardi Gras

February 06, 1986|TONI TIPTON

Tuesday marks Mardi Gras or Shrove Tuesday, the concluding day of a four-day celebration in New Orleans. It preceeds Ash Wednesday, which is always 40 days (not counting Sundays) before Easter. In French, Mardi Gras translates as "Fat Tuesday" and it is accompanied by extravagant reveling before Lent, the period of fasting and penitence before Easter.

Mardi Gras is celebrated by costumed natives and tourists who crowd the streets of New Orleans' French Quarter for a day of outrageous floats and parades. It is a celebration that also is carried by Creoles to other regions of the country through costume balls and parties at favorite eateries and celebrations with family and friends.

Team Seafood With Rice

Rice and seafood, so abundant in the Gulf region of Louisiana, are always part of Mardi Gras menus. Shrimp, crab meat and crayfish (crawfish) are good sources of low-fat protein. Team any of these with rice for a meal that's high in fiber and a quality source of carbohydrate.

Creole and Cajun favorites like jambalaya, gumbo and dirty rice especially are favored at this time of year. Traditional Creole ingredients inspired the dishes suggested here--included is Shrimp Frittata, Stuffed Peppers New Orleans and Shrimp Louisianne. Crawfish tails make an excellent substitution for raw shrimp. They can be found locally in fish markets specializing in Louisiana seafood. SHRIMP FRITTATA

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup chopped onion

3 cups cooked rice

1 3/4 cups shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 cup shredded Swiss cheese

1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles

1/4 cup chopped pimientos

6 eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups half and half

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Melt butter in medium skillet. Add onion and cook until tender. Combine onion, rice, shrimp, 1/2 cup cheese, chiles and pimientos. Combine eggs, half and half, salt and hot pepper sauce. Stir into rice mixture. Turn into buttered, shallow 2-quart casserole. Top with remaining cheese and bake at 350 degrees 40 to 45 minutes or until set. Makes 6 servings.

PER SERVING: 388 calories; 22 gm protein; 25 gm carbohydrate; 22 gm fat; 1,041 mg sodium; 436 mg potassium.


Protein 33% Riboflavin 21% Vitamin A 36% Niacin 11% Vitamin C 56% Calcium 30% Thiamine 12% Iron 17%


3 large green peppers

2 1/2 cups cooked rice

1 3/4 cups shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 cup finely chopped celery

2 1/2 tablespoons melted butter

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 cup puffed rice cereal, crushed

Cut peppers in half lengthwise, remove seeds and membranes and cook in boiling water 2 to 3 minutes. Drain. Combine rice, shrimp, eggs, onion, celery, 2 tablespoons butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Fill pepper halves with rice mixture. Combine cereal crumbs with remaining butter and sprinkle over peppers. Bake at 350 degrees 30 minutes or until heated through. Makes 6 servings.

PER SERVING: 187 calories; 11 gm protein; 20 gm carbohydrate; 7 gm fat; 548 mg sodium; 253 mg potassium.


Protein 16% Riboflavin 06% Vitamin A 12% Niacin 10% Vitamin C 85% Calcium 5% Thiamine 9% Iron 10%


1 cup chopped onions

3/4 cup chopped green pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons butter

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup

3 cups cooked rice

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 slices white bread

1/2 cup milk

1/8 teaspoon paprika

Saute onions, green pepper and garlic in butter until tender. Add shrimp and continue cooking 3 minutes longer. Stir in soup, rice, parsley, lemon juice, salt and peppers. Soak bread in milk and add to soup mixture. Spoon into buttered, shallow 2-quart casserole. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 350 degrees 30 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

PER SERVING: 288 calories; 19 gm protein; 32 gm carbohydrate; 10 gm fat; 1,404 mg sodium; 362 mg potassium.


Protein 29% Riboflavin 9% Vitamin A 7% Niacin 18% Vitamin C 50% Calcium 12% Thiamine 9% Iron 13%


1/2 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

2 tablespoons water

2 cups cooked rice

12 ounces shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 cup crab meat

1 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons butter

3/4 cup puffed rice cereal

Cook onion, celery and green pepper in water until tender. Add rice, shrimp, crab meat, mayonnaise, Worcestershire, salt and pepper. Mix well. Turn into buttered shallow casserole or individual sea shells. Top with buttered rice cereal. Bake at 375 degrees 25 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

PER SERVING: 443 calories; 17 gm protein; 18 gm carbohydrate; 34 gm fat; 1,863 mg sodium; 297 mg potassium.


Protein 26% Riboflavin 5% Vitamin A 12% Niacin 15% Vitamin C 32% Calcium 8% Thiamine 8% Iron 11%


1 pound smoked ham (cut in 1/2-inch pieces)

1 tablespoon shortening

1 cup chopped green peppers

1 cup chopped onions

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon flour

1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes

2 1/2 cups water

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

2 cups rice

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon ground thyme

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

Cook ham in shortening in large skillet about 5 minutes. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons fat and add green peppers, onion and garlic. Cook until tender. Blend in flour and brown slowly, stirring often. Stir in tomatoes, water and parsley. Bring to boil and add rice, Worcestershire, salt, thyme and pepper. Return to boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered 20 minutes. Add shrimp and cook 10 minutes longer. Fluff lightly with fork. Makes 8 servings.

PER SERVING: 421 calories; 27 gm protein; 46 gm carbohydrate; 13 gm fat; 1,172 mg sodium; 597 mg potassium.


Protein 42% Riboflavin 11% Vitamin A 21% Niacin 31% Vitamin C 74% Calcium 7% Thiamine 37% Iron 25%

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