A Pre-Mardi Gras Celebration


With the Super Bowl in New Orleans this year, we decided to have a some Mardi Gras-inspired-munchies while we watched the game, instead of the usual Super Bowl fare, and timely since Mardi Gras is February 12th this year.

King Cake Cocktail;-002

Not a holiday we typically celebrate, but certainly one I can appreciate and Let the Good Times Roll~ an excuse to eat and enjoy a cocktail, which also goes hand-in-hand with the Super Bowl!

Muffaletta Pasta Salad

Since I automatically think of a Muffaletta when I think of New Orleans, I found a recipe for Muffaletta (or Muffuletta) Tortellini Salad from Food Network.  I substituted some pasta for half the tortellini called for, and a made a few additions to make an ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ recipe,  like New Orleans herself, with the blending of cultures and cuisines.


Muffaletta Pasta Salad, recipe adapted from Food Network


8 oz. refrigerated cheese tortellini or combination tortellini and spiral shaped pasta (I used 4 oz. spinach tortellini & 4 oz. rotini pasta)

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

1 1/2 cups giardiniera vegetables, drained and chopped

1 (6-oz) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1/2 cup pimento-stuffed green olives, chopped

1 (2.25 oz.) can of sliced black olives

1 can Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed

8 oz. Provolone cheese, cubed

1 (5 oz.) package mini pepperonis

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Italian dressing of choice, (quantity to taste)


 Cook pasta/tortellini according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

Add the tomatoes, giardiniera vegetables, artichokes, olives, cheese, pepperonis, olive oil and vinegar (or dressing) to the bowl with the pasta/tortellini. (I toss the pasta with some Italian dressing while the pasta is still warm so it absorbs the dressing, then add the rest of the dressing to the tomato/vegetable mixture.)

Season the pasta with additional salt and pepper. Toss with the parsley, reserving about a teaspoon for garnish.  Serve at room temperature.

Muffuletta Pasta Salad

A taste of The Big Easy to celebrate Mardi Gras in a pasta salad, inspired by the quintessential Muffuletta  sandwich.
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Giardiniera, mardi gras, muffuletta, pasta salad
Servings: 8


  • 8 oz. refrigerated cheese tortellini or combination tortellini and spiral shaped pasta I used 4 oz. spinach tortellini & 4 oz. rotini pasta
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes halved
  • 1 1/2 cups giardiniera vegetables drained and chopped
  • 1 6-oz jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 cup pimento-stuffed green olives chopped
  • 1 2.25 oz. can of sliced black olives
  • 1 can Cannellini Beans drained and rinsed
  • 8 oz. Provolone cheese cubed
  • 1 5 oz. package mini pepperonis
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Italian dressing of choice (quantity to taste)


  • Cook pasta/tortellini according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
  • Toss the pasta with some Italian dressing while the pasta is still warm so it absorbs the dressing, then add the rest of the dressing to the tomato/vegetable mixture.
  • Add the tomatoes, giardiniera vegetables, artichokes, olives, cheese, pepperonis, and dressing to the bowl with the pasta/tortellini.
  • Season the pasta with additional salt and pepper.
  • Toss with the parsley, reserving about a teaspoon for garnish. Serve at room temperature.


Find a recipe for Homemade Italian Giardiniera, here.


For a fun presentation you can serve it in mini martini glasses for a New Orleans/Mardi Gras theme~

The glasses, from Dollar Tree and are 3 ounces, the perfect appetizer or party size, and no tears are shed if The Good Times Roll a little too hard and there is a casualty :)


Finish with a toast to Mardi Gras with a cocktail inspired by New Orleans’ signature treat~ King Cake!


 I found this recipe in the Jan./Feb. issue of Food Network Magazine, where this cocktail is from Carousel Bar & Lounge at Hotel Monteleone, using Lucky Player King Cake Vodka. I used Pinnacle Cake Vodka, left from a birthday celebration and for Birthday Cake Martinis.



Green, purple and gold sanding sugar for glass

 2 oz. Cake Vodka (or use 2 oz. vanilla vodka plus 2 drops almond extract)

1/2 oz. Grand Marnier

1/2 oz. Baileys Irish Cream

Ground cinnamon, for dusting

* I added 2 oz. half-n-half so there was something to mix with  the booze :)


Put a small pile each of green, purple and gold sanding sugar on a plate, keeping them separate. Moisten the rim of a martini glass, then press part of the rim into each colored sugar.

Combine the vodka, Grand Marnier and Baileys in a cocktail shaker with ice (and half-n-half if desired). Shake well, then strain into the prepared glass. Dust with cinnamon.


Cinnamon-spiced and decorated with the colors of the Carnival!

Have your cake and drink it too :)


From the archives, a Mardi Gras-inspired table with fleur-de-lis napkin rings, gold flatware, requisite crowns, doubloons & beads, and masks at each place setting.








Dishes- Fitz & Floyd Classique D’Or

Gold chargers– Hobby Lobby

  Fleur-de-lis Napkin Rings & Placemats-  Bed, Bath & Beyond

Flatware- Horchow

Goblets- Abigails



A little lagniappeStealing Magnolias: Tales from a New Orleans Courtyard~ a beautiful book and perfect gift for the hostess-with-the-mostest or Francophile. The sampling of culinary & cultural flavors to be experienced within these pages are sure to whet your appetite for a trip to New Orleans!


Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

Mardi Gras Muffaletta Pasta Salad & King Cake Cocktails

Thank you for your visit, sharing with:

 Metamorphosis Monday

  54 comments for “A Pre-Mardi Gras Celebration

  1. Happier Than A Pig in Mud
    February 6, 2013 at 5:54 am

    How fun! That cocktail is just beautiful with the colored rim! Your Muffaletta Tortellini Salad looks yummy and very filling too Mary:@)
    Thanks again for the popcorn goodies, I see a little “pigging out” in my near future:@)

  2. February 6, 2013 at 6:42 am

    YeeHaw! Let the good times roll! :D :D

  3. February 6, 2013 at 7:37 am

    I love Muffaletta salad…and what a perfect theme for your Super Bowl party…I so loved seeing your Mardi Gras table again..just so festive and exquisite!

  4. February 6, 2013 at 8:54 am

    LOL I love it…a little lagniappe! Trip is from New Orleans, and we’re going home this weekend to visit friends. This is the first time we’ve all been back with the kids since his mom’s funeral, so I’m anxious to see how the kids handle it. Hopefully seeing their cousins and friends will help!

    LOVE your table. The cocktail sounds delish (so does the salad).

    I think Trip misses Muffaletta sandwiches more than anything else from home because I don’t make them. ;P I do cook a mean pot of red beans and rice, though.

    I’ve wanted that book for a long time. I might head on over to Octavia Books and buy a copy.

    Thanks for such a fun post!


  5. February 6, 2013 at 9:03 am

    Being originally from LA, I love & salute your decor of Mardi Gras! Beautifully done…. Tiff

  6. Rachel
    February 6, 2013 at 9:37 am

    The muffaletta salad looks and sounds amazing. Can’t wait to give it a try. We love muffalettas and often have a jar of olive salad in the fridge.

  7. February 6, 2013 at 9:47 am

    We love to celebrate and decorate for Mardi Gras around here! Love the way you did the tri color rim for the yummy cocktail! T
    What a good idea to merge the party with Super Bowl, great menu too! I have that salad pinned to try, is it as good as it looks?

  8. February 6, 2013 at 9:57 am

    I sure wish I could attend one of your parties, Mary. You sure know how to do it right!!! EVERYTHING sounds and looks fabulous. I could almost taste that salad at the first picture!!! A question: what are giardiniera vegetables???? I really want to make this. I also am going to be on the look out for some great masks so I can do a table. Your table is stunning, I KNOW I would love that drink too. My son used to have a large Martini glass like yours, I will see if he still does. Did I tell you my maiden name is Martini???? Thanks for another beautiful post on this gray morning. XO, Pinky

  9. Paula
    February 6, 2013 at 10:01 am

    What a show stopper your table is, looks classy and so fun!! I will love to try the muffaletta salad looks yummy!, but what is giardiniera vegetables? I kiss better than I cook, hehee. Love all the colorful beads and coins for Mardi Gra, where did you find them??
    Have a super day!

    • February 6, 2013 at 10:52 am

      Paula & Pinky~ Giardiniera is a marinated olive & vegetable mix, found on the shelf near the olives & capers. Martha Stewart has a recipe here if you want to make it. You can find the beads & coins at Party City :)

  10. February 6, 2013 at 10:09 am

    The good times certainly WERE rollin’ at your house!!! I have wanted to try that Muffaletta Salad. I love muffaletta as a sandwich, but the pasta salad would be a nice departure from the huge hunks of French bread. I’m pretty sure I’m going to whip this up for Fat Tuesday as a part of the gastronomic feast I have planned. I had not heard of the King’s Cake cocktail until recently. You made it look beautiful! I just bought some of that Pinnacle vodka a couple of weeks ago, but I think mine is the whipped cream flavor. (I made something with Orange Crush that tastes exactly like a creamsicle!) I’ll have to pick up a bottle of the cake flavor and give this cocktail a try. I’m ALWAYS up for trying cocktails! :-) Your table looked great…as only you can make a table look! I love the crowns and masks and beads and coins…all of the fun stuff associated with one of the craziest days in America!

  11. February 6, 2013 at 11:42 am

    This cocktail sounds so yummy. Have to make one next Tuesday. When I was young my mother always made pancakes for dinner on Shrove Tuesday (or Fat Tuesday). I still do that to this day (only now they are wheat/gluten free :( ) xo

  12. February 6, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Sounds like a fun party just in time for mardi gras. Love the pics from the past plus the salad looks yummy.

  13. February 6, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    Looks wonderful Mary.

    Thanks for coming by BPM. Aldi doen’t stock as many flowers as Trader Joe’s but they have nice ones, when they do have them. They have great chocolate and wine. Not as many things as TJ’s, but they do a good job. Aldi has improved over the years.:-) Prices are good. Just not as much product as TJ’s. We have Aldi in town. TJ’s is about an hour from home. We usually pop in there when we go to the doctor as it is on our way.

  14. February 6, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    Lovely salad! I have the same large martini glass and love using it for salads and desserts…last time I used it it held ‘Macadamia Snowball Cookies” for our Christmas party…

    Your Mardi Gras table is very elegant!

  15. February 6, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Let Them Drink Cake. Got to love that. I adore orange flavored Vodka and really really do not need another love in this category my talented party girl friend.

  16. February 6, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    love love love your photography on this! the jewel tones just pop with your creative eye, fun fun fun, oh yeah, let the good times roll~

  17. Cindy
    February 6, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    Mary ,
    Do you remember seeing a blog that showed beaded board with big wooden letters…LOVE the O was papered with cute paper the other letters were left white…beaded board, white as well. I thought I saw it when perusing your blog????

    • February 6, 2013 at 6:14 pm

      Found it, great project! The post is here

  18. February 6, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    This looks so pretty….and YUMMY!! Thanks for sharing!! Have a great week! =D

  19. Cindy
    February 6, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    YOU ROCK!! Thank you…I am making tomorrow!

  20. February 6, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    There is not a more magical city than New Orleans! I’ve only been there once but I remember that time with a smile. Delicious recipe and perfect themed decor for Mardi Gras! I think I need some chicory coffee and beignets right now!

  21. Pam
    February 6, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    Beautiful Mardi Gras tablescape! I love all the different food representing New Orleans. The martinis were so clever. I love the King Cake and always try to buy one to celebrate the occasion.


  22. February 6, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    Oui! May have to let the good time roll this weekend by making that fabulous Mardi Gras drink.

  23. February 6, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    I love those dishes!!! The gold band is just lovely. Gorgeous glasses and flatware.. I do love the colors and the centerpiece too. Martinis.. now you are speaking my language! Great table.. love it all.

  24. February 6, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    Wow Mary, I want to come to your house to party for Mardi Gras!!! The salad looks incredible, especially served in style. The list of ingredients is long, but sure would throw together quickly. Mmmm the drink would be perfect for a delicious toast. Cheers!!

  25. February 6, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    What a fun post and great book recommend! We are visiting the Big Easy next weekend so I’ll have my new book devoured by then! Love it and the rave reviews. Your Mardi Gras cocktail is on my short list to enjoy very soon. Bient fait!

  26. February 7, 2013 at 12:07 am

    I just love the rich green and purple together. What a beautiful table and all of your accessories are perfect. But I have to say, the pictures of the Muffaletta salad really steal the show! The lighting on the salad pictures and your presentation are spectacular. I am ready to have a serving or two. What a delightful menu too. How fun!

  27. February 7, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Now you have me pining for a muffaletta, and it’s only 8:30 a.m.! The pasta salad version sounds delish, and I love the presentation idea.

  28. February 7, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Stunning table and I am ready to try those martinis – they sound fabulous! Thank you for sharing the recipe!!

  29. February 7, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    Love this. There’s not much Mardi Gras celebrating in this neck of the woods….but I’m going to try my hand at a King Cake for work this week…..don’t think I could get away with the cocktail…but they sure are tempting!

  30. February 7, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    This is a feast for the eyes as well as potential feast for my belly! LOVE all the colors on this table and all the nummy recipes and ideas you shared!

    Miss Mindy

  31. February 8, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Hi Mary,

    Your Super Bowl/Mardi Gras celebration looks like fun! :-D Everything’s so colorful and festive, and the Muffaletta Tortellini salad looks delish. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    I really enjoyed seeing the tablescape from your archives. I love the Fitz & Floyed dishes and the Fleur-de-lis napkin rings. Very pretty!

    Have a great weekend, Mary! :)


  32. February 8, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    What a fun table…the martini sounds absolutely delicious… and so does the salad!

  33. Rachel
    February 13, 2013 at 4:30 am

    The Tortellini Salad was delicious. Think I’ll serve as a side dish next time. I used an Olive Garden Copycat Salad Dressing recipe instead of the oil and vinegar. Thanks for sharing.

  34. Linda
    February 25, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    LOVE everything on this post. Where did you get the great crowns in your tablescape?

  35. Liz @ Infuse With Liz
    February 27, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Wow you know how to do it up right! I’ve never celebrated Mardi Gras so I will celebrate through some of the bloggers and their wonderful tablescapes and recipes!

  36. February 27, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    Not sure where I was last year but missed your great Mardi Dinner party in the dining room. Love your crown collection and fleur-de-lis napkin rings. Purple place mats are perfect to highlight your beautiful china! Outstanding goblets and great masks.

    Your King’s Cake Cocktail is festive and impressive with sparkle and color.

  37. Bev
    February 28, 2014 at 7:09 am

    Love the Mardi Gras theme! Using the martini glasses for your salad is great!

  38. March 3, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Came over from Met Mon. Loved seeing this again!!!

  39. March 3, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    What a beautiful colorful post.

  40. February 17, 2015 at 7:00 am

    Mary, I love your posts…all of them. I’m going to try and make the salad and King Cake today. I have a lot of mask from past holidays (got them from Oriental Trading). Never been to Mardi Gras but your table is wonderful and fun looking.

  41. January 22, 2016 at 7:54 pm


    Can I use your King Cake Cocktail image in my blog called “How to Throw an Epic Mardi Gras Party”? I would link and credit your site.

    Thank you,


    • January 22, 2016 at 8:08 pm

      Hi, Yes, with a link back and as long as the photo is not altered or cropped. Please let me know when your post is live! Laissez les bons temps rouler :) Mary

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