Creole-Inspired Game Food and Tips

Find healthy food tips, Creole-inspired recipes for Jambalaya, wings, dip, and lime cookies to share with friends on game day.

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by AdobeStock/Brent Hofacker
Red Bean and Rice Party Dip will have them begging for more.

Nothing brings out our nation’s collective competitive spirit quite like professional football’s championship game. No matter which team you’re cheering for, this is the perfect time to celebrate the Big Easy way – with a New Orleans-Style party that’s all about bringing together friends and family for good food and fun.

Zatarain’s, the brand serving up New Orleans-style food for more than 120 years, offers up great recipes and game-watching tips to bring the spirit of New Orleans into your living room, no matter where in the country you live. Game-watching parties are a great way to bring people together – and New Orleans-style food is a flavorful and fun way to feed a crowd.

“Crescent City Jambalaya” is a delicious, full-flavored one-pot meal that is easy to make ahead of time so you don’t miss a minute of the game.

Unite the crowd over everyone’s favorite party food – chicken wings. Try a bold Creole Mustard sauce to give them a sweet and tangy flavor with New Orleans-Style flair.

Finally, incorporate New Orleans flavors with crowd-pleasing Red Bean and Rice Party Dip – perfect for dipping chips, pretzels or veggies. And, don’t forget to have a shaker of Creole Seasoning on hand to add a distinctive kick to burgers or hot dogs.

To find more recipes for your football party, visit the website. Along with great food ideas, you’ll find easy tips for celebrating Mardi Gras on Fat Tuesday, which takes place the week following the football game. Decorate early and bring a little jazz to your game-watching celebration at the same time.

a bowl of shrimp jambalaya

Crescent City Jambalaya

This spicy, flavorful dish is perfect for a Mardi Gras party, and it really is “big easy.” The recipe can be doubled easily to serve 12 by using two packages of Jambalaya Mix, doubling all the other ingredients and cooking in a Dutch oven or saucepot.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Yields 6 (1 -1/3-cup) servings.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 each medium green and yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) fire roasted or regular diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 package (8 ounces) Zatarain’s® Reduced Sodium Jambalaya Mix
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined, optional
  • 1 package (12 ounces) andouille sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, optional
  1. Heat oil in large deep skillet or 5-quart Dutch oven on medium heat. Add onion and bell peppers; cook and stir 7 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften.
  2. Stir in tomatoes, water and Jambalaya Mix. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in shrimp, if desired, and sausage. Cover and cook 10 minutes longer, or just until shrimp turn pink and rice and vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley, if desired.

Sweet and Tangy Creole-Style Wings

Recipe courtesy of Executive Chef John Besh of Restaurant August, New Orleans.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Yields 10 appetizer servings.

  • 3 pounds chicken wing pieces
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons creole or Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon garlic chile paste
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons creole seasoning
  1. Heat oven 450°F. Toss chicken wings with oil in large bowl. Arrange in single layer on foil-lined large shallow baking pan.
  2. Bake 30 minutes, or until chicken wings are cooked through and skin is crisp.
  3. Meanwhile, mix remaining ingredients in large skillet. Bring to boil on high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until sauce is reduced by half and is the consistency of syrup, stirring frequently. Using tongs, transfer chicken wings to skillet; toss to coat well. Serve immediately.

Test Kitchen Tip: Garlic chile paste is made from ground chiles, garlic, oil or vinegar and salt. It is used in Asian cuisine as an ingredient in cooking and as a condiment. It can be found in Asian groceries or in the Asian aisle of some supermarkets.

Red Bean and Rice Party Dip Recipe

Liven up the party with this Southwestern-style dip. Serve with tortilla chips.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Yields 60 (2-tablespoon) servings.

  • 3 cup water
  • 1 package Zatarain’s® Red Beans and Rice
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 2 tablespoons chopped jalapeno peppers
  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  1. Prepare rice mix as directed on package, using 3 cups water instead of 3 1/4 cups.
  2. Reserve 1/4 to 1/2 cup shredded cheese to garnish dip, if desired. Stir remaining ingredients into rice mixture.
  3. Place mixture into food processor or blender; cover. Process or blend until smooth. Keep dip warm in chaffing dish or slow cooker, if desired.

From Ann Clark, Ltd, the cookie cutter people from Vermont, comes a delicious twist on cookies perfect for any Super Bowl party. Ann Clark herself posts this on the company’s blog page.

The Super Bowl is almost here and it’s a fun event, whether you’re a real football fan or just like a good party. The Indianapolis Colts defeated the New York Jets in the AFC Championship and, in a real nail-biter; the New Orleans Saints prevailed over the Minnesota Vikings in the third NFC Championship game ever to be decided in overtime. The Colts have played in three Super Bowls, and have won two. But the Saints have never, in their 40-plus years of playing as a team, made it to the Big Game. So it should be an exciting contest.

Food-wise, Super Bowl parties aren’t the time to be fancy or avant-garde. Beer, salty snacks, and hearty foods like chili and guacamole are perennial favorites for a reason – they’re flavorful and fuss-free. Rolled cookies in football-related shapes can pull double duty as dessert and decoration. I’m no sports analyst, but from a cookie decorating perspective, this year’s teams make a great match-up: In addition to footballs, football helmets, and jerseys, if you’re a Saints fan you can use our Fleur de Lis cookie cutter. If you’re rooting for the Colts, you can choose our Horseshoe cookie cutter or Horse Head cookie cutter.

In honor of Miami, this year’s Super Bowl host city, I gave this week’s cookie recipe a bright citrus flavor by adding lime zest and juice, and topped the cookies with a tangy lime icing. If you don’t want to take the time to re-create the team colors and logos, simply bake the cookies and spread the icing on. Either way, they’ll disappear before you can yell “Touchdown!”

Ann, Ann Clark, Ltd.

Zesty Lime Cookie Recipe

You will need two limes for the cookies and icing; be sure to zest them before juicing them. If you are using the icing to pipe decorations on the cookies, rather than simply frosting them, be sure to strain the pulp from the lime juice.

Yields about 18 cookies.

Process together in a food processor about 15 seconds:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons freshly grated lime zest

Beat with an electric mixer:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • Lime sugar from above
  • Add and mix:
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Whisk together, then add and beat to incorporate:
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill until firm.
  2. Heat oven to 350º.
  3. Roll dough out on lightly floured counter to 1/4-inch thickness and cut with your favorite Ann Clark cookie cutters, then transfer cookies onto cookie sheets that have been lined with parchment paper or silicone liners.
  4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until very lightly browned around edges. Let cookies cool slightly on cookie sheets, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely and decorate, if desired, before serving.

Lime Icing

Melt 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, mix with 3 cups confectioner’s sugar, 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice and a pinch salt until smooth.

My favorite shapes for Zesty Lime Cookies include the T-Shirt cookie cutter, the Football cookie cutter, the Football Helmet cookie cutter, the Fleur de Lis cookie cutter and the Horseshoe cookie cutter.

Healthy Food Tips

And for those searching for a healthier way to celebrate the big game, try these tips.

If you’re an armchair quarterback, “sitting around drinking brews and sodas and chowing down on fatty wings, chips and dips won’t help you make the cut,” says registered and licensed dietitian Susan Burke March, author of “Making Weight Control Second Nature: Living Thin Naturally.”

“Score a nutritional touchdown and serve some healthy snacks while rooting your team on to victory,” March says. Here are some of her quick tips for healthy football-friendly fare and a chili recipe that’s a sure winner:

  • Always choose baked chips instead of fried. Tortilla chips and potato chips come in different baked flavors and saves up to 30 percent of the calories of fried chips. Fat-free or reduced fat does not mean calorie free … watch your portion size.
  • Serve bean dip instead of regular sour cream dip. Only 46 calories per three tablespoons compared to more than double for full-fat sour cream.
  • Nuts are nutritious, but they add up quickly. Serve a giant bowl of air-popped popcorn sprayed with butter-flavored cooking spray and sprinkled with dehydrated butter granules. I like Butter Buds or Molly McButter. Delicious with only 60 calories for 3 cups, only a trace of fat and about 10 grams of sodium. Save 280 calories, 28 grams of fat and 330 milligrams of sodium over regular microwave popcorn.
  • Replace fried mozzarella sticks with chicken skewers. They’re really popular and always great party food. You can buy them already prepared (especially at warehouse grocers), and save 188 calories, 9 grams of fat, and 546 milligrams of sodium over the same sized portion of fried cheese.
  • Serve a healthy submarine sandwich. Whole-wheat hero rolls give you that extra added fiber and nutrition (not to mention taste!) compared to white bread. Layer on turkey breast, lean roast beef or lean ham, shredded lettuce and tomato slices; slice into 2-inch portions and serve with sliced onions and pickles.
  • Keep the calories low by using low fat mayonnaise, and naturally low-calorie ketchup and mustard. Fat-free dressings should be offered … the new varieties are so good, you won’t miss the fat.
  • Imbibe with caution, because those brews add up! One regular beer ranges between 150 to 200 calories; instead serve light beer … only about 100 calories per bottle. A 5-ounce glass of wine has about 100 calories, as does one ounce of alcoholic spirits such as vodka, gin or scotch. Serve a variety of diet sodas, flavored club sodas and keep a big cooler with individual bottles of spring water.
  • Substituting juice for regular soda is like substituting regular sour cream for mayonnaise … you’re not going to save calories. An 8-ounce glass of juice, unsweetened, has about 120 calories. Offer club soda with a splash of 100 percent juice and a piece of fresh lemon or lime for a lower calorie refreshing beverage.
  • Dips: Any dried dip mix will do, but instead of regular sour cream, add 1/2 cup nonfat sour cream, 1/2 cup nonfat mayonnaise, and 3/4 cup diced fresh tomatoes, 1/4 cup chopped green onion, and 1/4 cup chopped ripe olives, rinsed and drained. Mix and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.
  • Crudités: everyone like crunchy veggies, especially with a tasty dip. Buy pre-washed and cut-up veggies and you’re ready to go … zero prep time.

At half time, get up and do 100 jumping jacks!

bowl of chili with garlic and tomatoes on a tray

Susan’s Weight-Wise Chili Recipe

  • 1 pound 97-percent lean ground beef or turkey or firm tofu, drained
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 can (28 ounces) tomato puree, no salt added
  • 1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 small-medium baking potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 cups water
  1. In large, nonstick saucepan over low-medium high heat, heat olive oil. Add garlic and cook until just softened.
  2. Add onion and pepper and cook 2 more minutes; then add ground meat or crumble in the tofu; cook about 5 minutes.
  3. Drain off fat if using meat; add pureed tomatoes, canned beans, potatoes, seasonings and water.
  4. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for approximately 30 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
  5. For thinner chili, add 1 cup broth, wine or water. Serve with tossed salad.
  • Updated on Feb 2, 2021
  • Originally Published on Feb 2, 2010
Tagged with: chili, Creole, dip, healthy food tips, lime, Wings