Although the biggest Mardi Gras celebration happens on Fat Tuesday, I recommend you have your own party, complete with beads and masks, this Saturday night. Serve a delectable spread of Southern finger foods, including some classic New Orleans dishes. I've scoured our recipes to come up with an amazing menu, so check it out now!
Instead of making individual sandwiches for each of your guests, put together one giant muffaletta  (a sandwich that's native to the French Quarter and features layers of Italian cold cuts with cheese and olive salad) the night before the party. Slice it into three-bite triangles and set out on a platter about 30 minutes before friends arrive.
This recipe for oyster chowder  is so rich guests won't want more than a small portion of it. Prepare the soup the morning of the party and reheat just before everyone arrives. Ladle into shot glasses or small teacups for serving.
Set out a big bowl of pimento cheese . This spread with origins in the South is a cheesy mixture of cream cheese, cheddar cheese, pimento peppers, and seasonings. It can be made up to two days in advance; offer with crackers or veggies.
Boiled shrimp tastes even better when dipped into a scrumptious bowl of homemade remoulade sauce . A fun serving suggestion? Fill large martini glasses with the sauce and hang the cooked shrimp over the side. Don't forget to place a stack of napkins nearby.
You could order a King Cake  from my favorite NOLA bakery, Sucre , but if you prefer something homemade, whip up a batch of hummingbird cupcakes . The batter is a mixture of pecans, mashed bananas, and walnuts, while the frosting is a smooth white cream cheese.