Braille Monitor                                                     November 2007

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This month’s recipes have been collected by members of the National Federation of the Blind of Nebraska.

Crunchy Salad Delight
by Robert Deaton

Robert Deaton is deputy director of Independent Living Services at the Nebraska Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Dressing Ingredients:
2 packages Hidden Valley Ranch Style Dressing mix (buttermilk recipe)
1 pint mayonnaise
1 pint buttermilk

Salad Ingredients:
1 head cauliflower
1 head broccoli
3 tomatoes, seeded and skinned
2 white onions
1 bell pepper
1 cucumber
1 bunch celery
1 carton mushrooms
1 can sliced water chestnuts
1 can black olives

Method: Mix salad dressing mix, mayonnaise, and buttermilk well and chill. Finely chop and mix the vegetables. Add salad dressing and mix well. Serves twelve to sixteen.

Taco Soup
by Amy Buresh

Amy Buresh is president of the NFB of Nebraska and a member of the NFB board of directors.


1 pound lean ground beef
3 to 5 15-ounce cans chili beans
1 15-ounce can tomato soup
2 cups water
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 medium onion, chopped
1 16-ounce can of corn
1 jar Pace Picante Sauce
1 envelope ranch dressing mix
1 8-ounce box mild Mexican Velveeta cheese
Sour cream
Tortilla chips

Method: Sauté ground meat and drain any fat. Add other ingredients. Cook slowly until heated through. Serve and top with sour cream and tortilla chips.

Beer Cheese Soup
by Shane Buresh

Shane is the husband of Amy Buresh and father of Noah.


8 cups milk
2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
4 tablespoons chicken base
1 16-ounce jar Cheez Whiz
6 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup water
1 can beer
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Method: Combine milk, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and chicken base. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Add Cheez Whiz, after warming in hot water or in microwave. Mix in well. Stir cornstarch completely into water and stir into soup, which should thicken immediately. Stir constantly while cornstarch is cooking. Reduce heat a bit and stir in beer. To serve, ladle into bowls and dust with cayenne pepper or top with croutons.

Amy and Shane BureshSmooth and Creamy Homemade Ice Cream
by Amy and Shane Buresh

This is a homemade version of Dairy Queen's soft-serve ice cream


2 envelopes Knox unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
4 cups whole milk
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups cream

Method: Soften Knox gelatin in cold water. Heat milk, but do not let it come to a boil. Remove from heat and add gelatin, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Cool and add cream. Chill five to six hours. Pour into a 4- to 6-quart ice cream freezer can. Process following manufacturer's instructions.

Oreo Cookie Balls
by Barbara Loos and Hannah Lindner

Barbara Loos (standing) and Hannah Lindner (sitting)Barbara Loos is a longtime Federation leader and president of the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults. She has been serving as a mentor for Hannah Lindner in Nebraska’s mentoring program. Here is the note that Barbara sent along with this recipe:

Hannah and I would like to submit this recipe as a mentor/mentee partnership. We made them last year but left out one key step. Instead of using toothpicks for dipping, we rolled the balls in the almond bark with our fingers. It was very messy, and one outspoken teenage member of my family referred to them as "Bird Bombs" based on how they allegedly looked. No one else accepted that description of their appearance, and some suggested it may have been an attempt to scare off other would-be consumers. Whatever be the case, while "Oreo Cookie Balls" might work for everyone else, to us they will most likely forever remain "Bird Bombs."


1 pound Oreo cookies
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 pound white almond bark

Method: Using a food processor or blender, grind cookies (filling and all) to a ground coffee texture. Knead cream cheese and crumbs together until thoroughly mixed. Shape into a large ball and refrigerate for forty-five minutes. Roll into walnut-size balls and place on wax paper. Place in freezer for forty-five minutes. In double-boiler or microwave melt white almond bark. Using a toothpick to skewer each ball, dip them in white almond bark and coat thoroughly. Place on wax paper and allow to cool. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This recipe makes approximately twenty-five walnut-size candies.

Jeff AltmanTuna Salad
by Jeff Altman

Jeff Altman is first vice president of the NFB of Nebraska. He says that you should use a teaspoon from your tableware rather than a measuring spoon for this recipe.


1 teaspoon white sugar
3 heaping teaspoons sweet relish
1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
7 spritzes of soy sauce
7 heaping teaspoons of mayonnaise
1 can of tuna, packed in water, having drained all but a small amount of water
10 soda or Ritz crackers, finely crushed into crumbs
Small amount of milk, just enough to help moisten the mixture

Mix first four ingredients well Method: , then add remaining ingredients. Mix thoroughly and serve over lettuce and tomato salad, on crackers, or in sandwiches. Serves two to three people.

Spaghetti Lasagna
by Jeff Altman

1 8-ounce package cream cheese
1 16-ounce container sour cream
1 pound spaghetti, cooked
1-1/2 pounds ground meat
1-1/2 28-ounce jars spaghetti sauce
1 can mushrooms (optional)
Freshly grated parmesan cheese

Method: When spaghetti is cooked and drained, add cream cheese and sour cream. Place mixture in a greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Brown ground meat and drain. Add sauce and mushrooms. Allow to cool. Spread meat mixture across spaghetti and either chill overnight or finish cooking it on the same day. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

Chicken Enchiladas
by Jeff Altman

1 3-ounce package cream cheese
1/2 cup chopped green onion or regular onion
1/4 cup mild or medium Pace Picante Sauce
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon oregano leaves or 1/8 teaspoon ground oregano
2 cups monterey jack and colby cheese blend
2 whole chicken breasts, cooked and diced
6 or so flour tortillas
Additional cheese and Pace Picante Sauce
Sour cream

Method: In a large frying pan over low heat, combine all enchilada ingredients except chicken and cook until cheeses melt. Then add diced chicken breast and continue cooking until heated through. Fill flour tortillas with the chicken mixture and top with more Pace Picante and cheese as desired. Bake fifteen minutes at 375 or microwave for one to two minutes to heat through. Serve with sour cream. To double the recipe, use five large chicken breast halves and double other ingredients, except that you should use eight ounces of cream cheese. Doubled, this recipe makes about thirteen enchiladas.

Spaghetti Sauce
by Jeff Altman

1 can diced (or crushed) tomatoes
1 can crushed tomatoes (or 1 can tomato puree)
1 pint ketchup
2-1/2 cups water
3/4 cup brown sugar
2-1/4 teaspoons garlic powder (You may want to reduce that amount a little.)
1 envelope spaghetti sauce mix
1/2 teaspoon oregano
2-1/4 teaspoons Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
1/4 cup oil
1 cup chopped onion

Sauté onion in oil until tender. Add all other ingredients. Bring to boil, then simmer covered over medium low heat for approximately one hour. Stir occasionally to keep sauce from sticking. The length of time you simmer the sauce and the amount of liquid you add from the tomatoes will determine the consistency of the finished product.

Honey Orange Oatmeal Bread
by Nancy Oltman

Nancy Oltman is NFB of Nebraska second vice president. She is a very experienced cook. She reports that this recipe was one of her most popular products at the farmers market this summer.


3-1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup rolled oats (quick cook variety)
1 envelope Fleischmann’s RapidRise Yeast (I have also used regular yeast.)
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
2-1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups water
1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup chopped dates or pitted dates, snipped (I prefer golden raisins.)
1 egg, lightly beaten

Method: In large bowl combine one cup flour, oats, undissolved yeast, and orange peel. Heat water and butter until very warm (120° to 130°F). Add to dry ingredients. Mix two minutes at medium speed in an electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add salt. Mix two minutes at high speed. Using a spoon, stir in dates or raisins and enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about four minutes. Cover and let rest for ten minutes. Roll dough into a 13-by-9-inch rectangle. Roll up from short end as for jellyroll; pinch ends and seam to seal. Place loaf, seam side down, on greased baking sheet; flatten slightly to form oval. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about thirty to forty minutes. Brush with beaten egg. With a sharp knife make three diagonal slashes on top of loaf. Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for thirty minutes or until done. Remove from baking sheet and cool on wire rack. Makes one loaf.

Note: I usually make the slashes before allowing bread to rise. I also have made this bread in a 9-by-5-inch bread pan or two smaller pans. When baking in pans, I do not roll out dough but shape loaves and put them in the well-greased pan. I much prefer the smaller pans. I would bake it just as long in smaller pans and probably a little longer in the 9-by-5-inch pan. This bread is great toasted.

Pecan Praline Cheesecake
by Nancy Oltman

3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup Heath Bar chips, divided
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 14-ounce can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Ingredients for Pecan Praline Topping:
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped

Method: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In bowl combine cracker crumbs, pecans, brown sugar, and butter; mix well. Press mixture firmly on bottom of 9-inch springform pan. (I prefer to use a 10-inch springform pan instead.) Bake for eight to ten minutes. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of Heath Bar chips.

In large mixer bowl beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually add sweetened condensed milk; mix until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. (Note: Beat lots of air into cream cheese, but after adding the eggs, limit beating to just enough to combine.) Pour mixture into prepared pan.

Bake fifty-five to sixty minutes or until center is set. (If using a 10-inch spring form pan, check toward the fifty-five-minute time.) Cool ten minutes; carefully loosen cheesecake from side of pan with a thin knife. Sprinkle top of cake with a quarter cup of Heath Bar chips. Cool completely. Top with Praline Topping and chill. Refrigerate leftovers.

Method for Pecan Praline Topping: In heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, combine 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar and 1/3 cup whipping cream (unwhipped). Cook stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Simmer five minutes or until mixture is thickened. Remove from heat; stir in a half cup chopped, toasted pecans. Spoon evenly over cheesecake.
Note: I use this basic recipe for all cheesecakes, topping with fruit, fudge topping, etc. It is the best I have ever made.

Breaded Ranch Chicken
by Audra Kramer

Audra Kramer is one of the most successful fundraisers in the NFB of Nebraska. She was active in the affiliate’s student division.

3/4 cup crushed corn flakes
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix
8 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Nonstick cooking spray

Method: In shallow bowl thoroughly combine flakes, cheese, and dressing mix. Spray chicken breast with oil, then roll in corn flakes mixture to coat. Place in a single layer in a greased 13-by-9-inch baking dish and bake uncovered for forty-five minutes at 350 degrees.

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