Here Are My Easy Flood Recovery Meals

I always receive a friendly reminder message from The Tribune about deadlines for my column. Although I had another completely finished, since our Hurricane Harvey and San Jacinto/Lake Houston flood, I wanted to share with you a few recipes that are easy, nourishing and filling.
Almost every one of us knows family members and friends who were flooded out of their homes. The stories are heartbreaking and we were not spared. All 250 homes in our village flooded. We have been in Kingwood since 1987. Our current home was built 8 feet above the ‘94 flood. We have seen water come up our driveway during every flood since, but we stayed dry until Harvey. Yes, we had to be rescued out of our home, which had 4 feet of water in it which was rising fast. An HPD air patrol boat and three brave officers saved us and our three pups as well as the remaining families on our street. The best thing after that was a family hug, a shower and a warm meal. And boy, did the people of Kingwood and surrounding areas, as well as our Cajun friends and volunteers from Louisiana, step up and show us some great home cooking over the past several weeks. I know there were a lot of Louisiana folks cooking up a storm, as we lived in Baton Rouge for four years and were taught by the best how to cook up Cajun foods.
I want to thank all who delivered food to us, as well as to every neighbor on our street. And I want to share a few of my favorite “after Harvey” recipes, so pull up a chair and be thankful you are safe. After all, we only acquire things … but we love people, family, friends and over the past few week many strangers.
This is my tribute recipe to the Cajun Navy … thank you all!

My Easy Red Beans and Rice
This is adapted from a recipe given to me by Jackie Long when we were neighbors in Baton Rouge. Jackie said this is always a Monday meal, served over steamed white rice, topped with a few splashes of Tabasco and finished with hot-from-the-oven cornbread crumpled over each serving.

INGREDIENTS
1 pound small red kidney beans, dry
4 cups chicken broth or water (I always save chicken bones and scraps and make homemade broth, and freeze it just for this)
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped (4-5 stalks, including the tops)
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 large smoked ham hock, 3/4 pound or bone-in ham leftovers
1 pound andouille sausage, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces on the bias ( I had a hard time finding authentic Louisiana sausage last week, seems the navy caused a run on the good stuff … lol!)
1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Greek oregano
Salt, red, and black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS: Sort and soak the beans in water overnight. The next day, drain and put in a large pot. Add the chicken broth and bring the beans to a boil; add the “Trinity” (onions, celery and bell pepper) and the seasonings. If the broth gets below the beans, add water, making sure the beans are always covered by liquid. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes. Add the ham or ham hock and sausage; continue cooking for 1-2 hours, until the beans are tender but not falling apart. Stir occasionally, making sure that it doesn’t burn or stick to the bottom of the pot. Just before serving, take 1 cup of beans out and mash them, then return them to the pot and stir. Serve heaping servings over hot, white long-grain rice, with cornbread and Tabasco.
Note: You can serve a few small pickled onions with the red beans – chop them up and mix them in with the beans. It’s great! Why does it taste so good? According to my friend Jackie, “It’s da vineguh!”

7-Day Slaw … Yep, it is 7-Day Slaw
This was in a Hudson’s Restaurant cookbook from Hilton Head Island, where our family has had a home since 1971. The flood took the book, but I still have the # 1 requested recipe!

INGREDIENTS
1 head of cabbage
1 red onion
1 medium green bell pepper
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup vinegar
1/2 tablespoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

DIRECTIONS: Thinly slice or shred cabbage, onion and green pepper and place in a large bowl. Toss with 1/3 cup sugar. In a medium saucepan, mix the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar with the oil, vinegar, dry mustard, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Pour boiling mixture over cabbage mix. Let sit 5 minutes, then mix. Cover and refrigerate. Yes, this is no joke. It really does keep for 7 days.

Hats off to Hurricane Harvey Wallbanger Cake

INGREDIENTS
Cake
1 box (about 18.75 ounces) yellow cake mix
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1/4 cup Galliano liqueur
1/4 cup vodka
1 package (3 ounces) vanilla instant pudding mix
3/4 cup fresh orange juice

Glaze
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon Galliano liqueur
1 teaspoon vodka

DIRECTIONS: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a bundt pan. Place the cake mix, vegetable oil, eggs, Galliano liqueur, vodka, pudding mix and orange juice into a large mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour the cake mixture evenly into the prepared bundt pan and tap gently on the counter to release any air bubbles. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean (don’t over bake or it will be dry.) Let the cake rest for 5 minutes. Gently loosen the edges around the rim with a thin rubber spatula. Invert and unmold the cake from the bundt pan onto a cake platter.
GLAZE DIRECTIONS: Mix the powdered sugar, orange juice, Galliano liqueur and vodka until the mixture is smooth. If it is too thick, add more orange juice a few drops at a time to get a drizzling consistency. If it is too thin, add more powdered sugar a teaspoon at a time. Drizzle the glaze over the cake while it’s still warm; let cool to room temperature for the glaze to set.

Karen Boughton
Author: Karen BoughtonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I grew up in a big, Greek, cooking family. I married my high school sweetheart and soon had three daughters. My husband and I worked in the family’s Greek restaurant, “Zorba’s,” for several years before moving to Baton Rouge and eventually Corpus Christi. There I taught microwave cooking classes for Amana.in studio and on television for three years before moving to Kingwood in the late '80s. I reached out to learn more about regional and international foods, spending 16 years in management in private athletic/dining/country clubs for ClubCorp, where I embraced health and cooking. In 2008 I joined the Tribune Newspapers as food editor, the same time that I became a nutrition advisor and USANA Health Sciences Associate. These two passions have given me better health and the freedom to live life my way.