Mardi Gras is often called Fat Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday, or Shrove Tuesday. It’s the last night of eating rich and fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season which begins the very next day on Ash Wednesday. This week’s recipes are perfect for a Mardi Gras themed Pancake Supper! King Cake is a southern Mardi Gras custom. Inside the cake you’ll find a trinket — usually a dried bean or a small plastic baby representing the baby Jesus. The person who gets the piece of cake with the trinket is declared king or queen of the day and must provide the next King Cake or host the next Mardi Gras party. My King Cake Pancakes are a delicious substitute for the traditional cinnamon-laced cake, complete with icing and the official Mardi Gras colored sugars. Cheesy Shrimp and Grits Casserole with Bacon is a simple and elegant entree that pairs well with the sweet pancakes. In keeping with the Fat Tuesday tradition, the casserole is full of cheese and cream. Mardi Gras Fruit Salad balances out the meal. The colors of the fruits represent the official colors of Mardi Gras — purple (justice), green (faith) and gold (power). You’ll just need to add a really special wine, some purple, green and gold beads and a mask or two. Laissez les bon temps rouler!
King Cake Pancakes
I used Stonewall Kitchen Buttermilk Pancake & Waffle Mix and Wilton colored sugar sprinkles. Both are available on Amazon. Optional: In keeping with the King Cake tradition, you can place a tiny plastic baby, dried bean or almond between the layers of the pancakes for someone to find. Whoever finds the “prize” inside is declared king or queen for the day. They’re also responsible for providing the King Cake or King Cake Pancakes the next year.
2 cups buttermilk pancake mix
Milk or buttermilk
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Non-stick cooking spray
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons heavy cream
Purple, gold, and green sugar sprinkles
Fresh berries and mint to garnish, optional
Mix pancake mix with milk, eggs, and melted butter according to package directions. Stir in ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon. Allow batter to stand for 10-15 minutes. Preheat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spray surface of skillet with cooking spray and add batter, ¼ cup per pancake. When edges appear set and bubbles begin to pop, flip and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Repeat with remaining pancake batter. While pancakes cook, whisk together powdered sugar and heavy cream. (Add additional cream if icing is too thick to pour.) Stack pancakes on individual plates and drizzle with icing. Sprinkle with purple, gold and green sugars. Serve warm. Serves 4.
Cheesy Shrimp and Grits Casserole with Bacon
If your shrimp are large, cut them in half so that they’ll bake evenly in the casserole. (For a detailed demonstration, please visit the Lowcountry Weekly website or @chefdebbicovington on YouTube to watch this short cooking video.)
½ pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
¼ teaspoon coarse or kosher salt
1 cup slow-cooking stone-ground grits
2½ cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
3 large eggs, beaten
¼ cup heavy cream
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
Coarse or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Diced grape tomatoes, to garnish
Chopped Italian parsley, to garnish
Fry bacon in a large skillet. Drain on paper towels, crumble and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large saucepan over high heat, bring 4 cups water to a boil. Add ¼ teaspoon salt and slowly pour in the grits. Reduce heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the grits are done, about 40 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the cheese and stir until smooth. Add in ¾ of the crumbled bacon. Stir in the eggs, cream, and Tabasco sauce. Add the shrimp and mix well to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the grits into a 2-quart souffle dish and bake until they are set and lightly browned on top, about 40 minutes. Top with remaining crumbled bacon. Garnish with diced tomatoes and chopped Italian parsley. Serve hot. Serves 6.
Mardi Gras Fruit Salad
I love the idea of using purple, gold, and green fruit to create a beautiful and healthy Mardi Gras Fruit Salad. Options or additions could include elderberries, plums, figs, starfruit, bananas, lemons, green apples, honeydew melon, pears, and limes. No dressing needed!
Pineapple, cored and diced
Red seedless grapes, halved
Green seedless grapes, halved
Kiwifruit, peeled and sliced
Fresh mint leaves
Arrange fruit on a large platter or toss together and serve in a large bowl. Garnish with fresh mint leaves before serving.
The writer owns Catering by Debbi Covington and is the author of three cookbooks, Celebrate Beaufort, Celebrate Everything! and Dining Under the Carolina Moon. For more great recipes and to view her cooking demonstrations, visit and subscribe to Debbi’s YouTube channel. Debbi’s website address is www.cateringbydebbicovington.com. She may be reached at 843-525-0350 or by email at email@example.com.