We all know that the word “Carnival” comes from the Latin “carne,” or meat, and “vale,” which means “farewell.” The word refers to feasting before the season of abstinence, Lent.

On Fat Tuesday, Rex’s fabled fatted calf, the Boeuf Gras, will roll through the streets of New Orleans to remind us of the ancient Catholic tradition. Bye-bye red meat for 40 days until Easter.

As we enter the home stretch of this year's long Carnival season, these beefy recipes can simmer in the slow cooker while you and the family are out at the parades, offering a hearty meal when you get home. And, while they're sure to satisfy an after-parade hunger, they're just as good on any hectic day. All are familiar favorites with a twist.

Judy Walker's Roux Believer: Recipes for Slow Cooker Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs, Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli, Slow Cooked Barbacoa Beef Tacos

The most difficult part about making Slow Cooker Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs is breaking into the hard squash. Once you cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds and put the halves into the slow cooker. Add your favorite jarred marinara or spaghetti sauce and some frozen meatballs. Dinner will be done a few hours later. The squash strands, well flavored by the squash, practically fall out of the halves. It's perfect for any low-carb household, and, if the sauce is low in sugar, it’s also keto-friendly.

Slow-cooked Barbacoa Beef Tacos can be made with any type of beef roast, simmered in a sauce of beef broth, chipotle chiles in adobo and cumin. After eight to 12 hours, it shreds easily. If you’re not too tired after jumping for beads, you can add a step and crisp the shredded meat in a hot, dry cast iron skillet. Serve with greens and fresh salsa on flour or corn tortillas for a great version of street tacos.

You can also do a slow cooker version of a favorite Chinese takeout meal, Beef and Broccoli. This recipe is a good recipe if you’re only going to be gone a few hours because tender sirloin strips need only three to four hours of cooking on low. The broccoli is added to the slow cooker only 20 minutes before serving.

A hot meal waiting at home helps avoid pizza slices from vendors on the parade route, not that I’m judging. See you on the streets. Happy Mardi Gras!


Send "the best" recipes and correspondence to Judy Walker at JudyWalkerCooks@gmail.com with “Roux Believer” in the subject line. Please include a phone number.