Cooks Exchange

Cool recipes for the remaining hot days of summer

AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALDThere are numerous local fresh produce and products, such as these herbs, at area farmers markets. The Long Beach Farmers Market will be open at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.
AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALDThere are numerous local fresh produce and products, such as these herbs, at area farmers markets. The Long Beach Farmers Market will be open at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. SUN HERALD

It’s August, and the heat is on.

Of course, my air conditioner stopped cooling last week. Sleeping, working, cooking and even sitting were not pleasant tasks. I don’t do heat, so for our weekly church potluck, I had to find some cool recipes.

It’s summer. Our ovens need a break, too.

Lately, I have gone back to some old recipes, say 30 to 40 years old. Some friends have never tasted them and to others it is like welcoming old friends. I, too, have enjoyed preparing these oldies because they are good and usually contain no preservatives, just fresh or frozen ingredients.

A peach chicken salad can use fresh or canned peaches. The base is a 10-ounce package of frozen rice pilaf. The original recipe makes 4 to 6 servings, so I doubled the amounts of ingredients to serve more.

It is cool and requires only a microwave. I also use packaged cooked chicken breast slices or canned white meat of chicken. Again, it is easier.

No more figs

“Could you let people know the best time for figs to start ripening is last week of June into first three weeks of July,” said Lynette Faul of Gulfport. “My tree has only green ones on, and they have done nothing for a week. Also, I only have one tree, but hope to plant another. There is no more until next year.”

Another reader sent Faul an e-mail asking for figs, but unfortunately, no figs.

A reader named Janice also talked to Faul and wanted already put up figs. Faul was unclear whether she meant jam or preserves or what.

“She asked if I knew of anyone else who has figs,” Faul said. “If folks have them already canned, she would be glad to buy them.”

Readers, if any of you have canned or fresh figs left, please let me know. I have Janice’s phone number.

Karen Beach of Anna Maria, Fla., also wanted to know where she could purchase fresh figs? Can anyone in the Bradenton area help her?

Low-sugar cake

Brenda Roberts wants a banana cake recipe that is made with Splenda and a good pound cake recipe.

“Because I am a diabetic, the cake has to be made with Splenda since it is baked,” Roberts said. “Any version of a banana cake will do so I can add it to my recipes. I appreciate it so when other readers share their recipes.”

Readers, do you have low-sugar banana and pound cake recipes, preferably made with Splenda? If so, please send me the recipes for Roberts.

Lost pudding

Vida Risk of Ocean Springs has lost her favorite banana pudding recipe that she has used for years.

“I can’t imagine how it got away from me,” Risk said. “The pudding part was cooked and topped with meringue.

“It is my brother-in-law’s favorite banana pudding,” Risk said. “He will be 97 on Dec. 7, and I haven’t been able to make it for him for a long time. I sure hope you can help find the recipe for me.”

Readers, I know you guys have lots of banana pudding recipes. Please share them with Risk so she can make this dessert for her brother-in-law.

Back to classes

Where has the summer gone? School’s in session. That means back to the hectic schedules and youngsters not eating cafeteria food — or at least mine never did.

Readers, do you pack school lunches or brown bag lunches for work? If so, share your ideas with fellow readers. All of us could use some fresh approaches.

Wanted: Good chicken-fried steak

Readers, if you know of a Coast restaurant that serves a good chicken-fried steak, please let me know. Ron Hellyer is looking for one.

Endorse favorite farmers market

American Farmland Trust is once again sponsoring the “Farmers Market Celebration” contest. The markets on the distinct list at the end of the celebration will receive a prize package from AFT.

This contest honors farmers markets and the farm families that provide fresh, healthy food.

Interested persons can comment and share endorsements on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. AFT also wants to know what is purchased at the markets.

Posts to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram should be tagged with #OnMyFork if sharing what is bought at the markets. To endorse a market, use this link at American Farmland Trust.

Andrea Yeager, can be reached at and takes requests at Cook’s Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567.


1 12-ounce package frozen rice pilaf with broccoli (microwavable)

1/4 cup chopped green pepper

1/4 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons diced green onions

2 cups sliced peeled fresh peaches of 1 (16-ounce can) sliced peaches, drained

1/2 teaspoon curry

1 cup cubed chicken

Toasted almonds or pecans, chopped

Prepare rice according to package directions, the add peppers, mayonnaise, onion and curry. Add peaches and chicken. Ross lightly to coat. Chill and serve on lettuce cups. Top with sliced almonds or pecans.

Note: Toasted almonds or pecans add much flavor to this dish. Simply sprinkle nuts in skillet. Stir until lightly browned, but not burned.

This salad may be prepared ahead of time, except for peaches. Add those just before serving.

A side salad that is good with almost anything is a quick Asian noodle salad that uses ramen noodles. This salad was my late husband’s favorite and is about 25 years old. Anytime he had to take a dish to work, he made this one.

Friend Diane Griggs of Gulfport said she has been making it since Allen first brought it to a church luncheon. It goes with just about any meal. For this one, be sure to toast almonds and sesame seeds. It released flavor and oils.


3 tablespoons white vinegar

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons sugar

1 packet ramen noodle seasoning (in package of noodles, I like roasted chicken flavor)

1 package ramen noodles

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1/4 cup toasted almonds

1/2 head shredded cabbage or buy cabbage pre-shredded in packages

5 green onions, chopped

Dressing: Mix vinegar, ramen noodle seasoning packet, oil and sugar.

Salad: Mix ramen noodles, salt, pepper, sesame seeds, almonds, cabbage and green onions. Pour dressing over all.

This salad is best is served immediately. Does not store well.