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The Neely's dirty rice recipe works for an at-home Mardi Gras dinner

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The Mardi Gras parades have already begun in the Big Easy, according to the Mardi Gras New Orleans website.

Also called ‘Fat Tuesday,’ Mardi Gras is synonymous with the culinary excesses that precede Ash Wednesday, the first day of the forty day-long Christian season of Lent.

Lent is all about penance. Observers traditionally ‘give up’ a favorite food, like a desert or another sweet, or, at the very least, try to eat less of something truly loved.

But Fat Tuesday is all about eating. Those who can’t get to New Orleans to take part in the festivities can celebrate Mardi Gras right in their own homes. Patrick and Gina Neely’s recipe for Dirty Rice and Smoked Sausage, which is posted on the Food Network’s website, is bound to get everyone in the mood for a pre-Lenten party. The dish takes 40 minutes total time to prepare and cook and serves 6-8 people. This meal is just what is needed before the lean days of Lent.

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