Cooks Exchange

Readers crave recipes from restaurants in Coast’s past

Pasta and bean soup with Italian lettuce salad is heart-warming, and can be served for two or a crowd.
Pasta and bean soup with Italian lettuce salad is heart-warming, and can be served for two or a crowd. MCT

Some closed restaurants stay in customers’ minds.

Old-time Coast restaurants such as Angelo’s, Vrazel’s, Alamo Fried Chicken, Baricev’s, Log House and Fisherman’s Wharf have never been forgotten. Toucan’s, one of few Coast Mexican restaurants in the 1990s, is another one. I receive recipe requests for all these places frequently.

This week, Toucan’s and Steak-Out, a defunct takeout and delivery for burgers, steaks and more, made the request list.

Debbie Randall of Gulfport wants recipes from both.

“Would you know how to find the recipe for the chimichangas from the old Toucan’s restaurant in Gulfport?” she said. “They were the best, and I remember they had a brown sauce poured over them.”

I believe the brown sauce Toucan’s served was a mole sauce.

“Also, if you ever had a steak burger from Steak Out, what do you think they seasoned them with?” she said. “I really miss both those places.”

Steak-Out, I believe, put garlic powder or garlic salt on the burgers and had a special sauce on them to make them so juicy.

Sun Herald newsroom staffers often had Steak-Out burgers delivered. I ate quite a few myself. Ed Gemmill of Biloxi owned Steak-Out; perhaps he can tell us what the special sauce was.

Readers, if you know about these recipes or have suggestions, please send them to me.

Wanted: Pasta and Bean Soup

A reader named Joyce from Florida asked for a recipe for pasta and bean soup.

I have one I use. It is a Taste of Home magazine recipe. Readers, do you have other recipes for her?

This recipe is low fat and loaded with veggies and pasta. It takes about 20 minutes to prepare and 30 to cook. Not bad for a weeknight recipe.

Don’t forget to send those recipes to me.

Passover and Easter getting close

Passover and Easter intersect again this year. Passover begins at sundown April 10, and continues until April 18. Easter will be celebrated on April 16.

Both observances are celebrated with food. Passover Seders have delicious foods, and so do Easter dinners.

Dole International has two great suggestions for entrees — a brandied roast chicken for Passover and a fruit-flavored ham for Easter.

Andrea Yeager can be reached at and Cooks Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567.


1 cup uncooked small pasta

2 celery ribs, thinly sliced

2 medium carrots, thinly sliced

1 medium onion, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

2 cups water

1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained

1  1/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 can (15 ounces) white kidney or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

2 cups shredded fresh spinach

1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, optional

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick saucepan, sauté the celery, carrots and onion in oil for 5 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the water, tomatoes, broth, basil, rosemary, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until carrots are tender.

Drain pasta; stir into vegetable mixture. Add the beans; heat through. Stir in spinach; cook until spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired. Yield: 5 servings.

Nutritional facts per 1 1/2-cup serving: 218 calories, 5 grams fat (1 gram saturated), 3 mg cholesterol, 588 mg sodium, 35 grams carbohydrates (7 grams sugar, 7 grams fiber), 9 grams protein.

Diabetic Exchanges: 2 vegetable, 1 1/2 starch, 1 lean meat

From Taste of Home


1 (5 1/2 pound) roasting chicken

1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 (20-ounce) can Dole pineapple slices

1 (6-ounce) can Dole pineapple juice

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup fresh orange juice

1/3 cup brandy

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 teaspoons grated orange peel

3 whole cloves

Remove neck and giblets from chicken. Save for favorite stuffing. Rub butter over entire chicken except back. Place in roasting pan. Stuff, if desired, with favorite stuffing.

Roast in 425-degree oven 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees, roast 1 hour 45 minutes for stuffed, or 1 hour 15 minutes for unstuffed chicken, or until done.

Meanwhile, drain pineapple, reserve all juice. Combine juice with remaining ingredients. In saucepan, cook, stirring, until clear and thickened. Add pineapple, heat through. Baste chicken with sauce every 10 minutes during last 30 minutes of cooking.

Garnish platter with pineapple slices. Serve with brandy sauce.

From Dole


1 can (20 ounces) Dole pineapple slices

1 (5-1/2 pound) ham

Whole cloves

1 cup apricot jam or preserves

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Drain pineapple; reserve 3/4-cup juice. Chop 4 pineapple slices into small pieces; set aside.

Score top of ham in diamond pattern, making 1/4-inch-deep cuts. Insert cloves into each diamond. Place in shallow baking pan. Brush with 1/4-cup jam; cover with foil.

Bake ham according to package directions. Arrange 6 pineapple slices on top of ham during the last 30 minutes of baking. Brush pineapple and ham with another 1/4-cup jam and continue baking.

Combine reserved juice, vinegar, honey, cornstarch, cinnamon and remaining 1/2-cup jam in medium saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; cook and stir 2 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Stir chopped pineapple into sauce; heat through. Serve warm over ham slices.

From Dole