Bergen County Recipes: Healthier Mardi Gras Menu
Mardi Gras Recipes NJ

In the spirit of the 2017 Mardi Gras season, and in recognition of February being Healthy Heart Month, set out to find Cajun and southern-style recipes with ingredients that are lower in fat than traditional New Orleans fare. Here are a few recipes to help make your Fat Tuesday celebration a bit healthier. Enjoy!

The Big Easy Cornbread
Serves 9
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 ¼ cups yellow cornmeal
¾ cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons canola oil
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. Whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.Whisk buttermilk, egg and oil in a separate bowl. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until combined.  Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly. Bake cornbread for 25-30 minutes until top springs back when lightly touched.  Cool in pan on wire rack for minimum of 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Louisiana Black-Eyed Peas
Serves 8
2 cups black-eyed peas, dried
2 cups unsalted tomatoes, canned and crushed
2 celery stalks, finally chopped
1 onion, finally chopped
3 teaspoons minced garlic
3 cups water
1 teaspoon low-sodium chicken-flavored bouillon granules
½ teaspoon dry mustard
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
½ cup chopped parsley
1 bay leaf
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
In a medium saucepan over high heat, add 2 cups of water and black-eyed peas.  Bring to a boil for 2 minutes, cover, remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour. Drain water, leaving peas in saucepan.  Add remaining 1 cup of water, bouillon granules, tomatoes, onion, celery, garlic, mustard, ginger, cayenne pepper and bay leaf.  Stir together and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer slowly for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.  Add water as necessary to keep peas covered with liquid. Remove the bay leaf, pour into a serving bowl and garnish with parsley. Serve immediately.

Jambalaya Bayou
Serves 6
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 16-oz package turkey kielbasa, sliced
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium sweet green pepper, diced
1 medium sweet red pepper, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 10-oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
3 cups cooked brown rice
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon Kosher or coarse salt
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions, peppers, celery and garlic. Sauté for 5-6 minutes until vegetables are soft. Add sausage and sauté 2-3 minutes or until browned. Add remaining ingredients except shrimp and cook for 5 more minutes. Add uncooked shrimp and cook for 5 minutes or until shrimp is pink and cooked through.  Remove from heat and serve warm with extra hot sauce to taste.