Braille Monitor                                             May 2015

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This month’s recipes are offered by members of the NFB of Texas.

Coconut Candy

by Macarena Pena

Macarena Pena is the president of the Rio Grande Valley Chapter of the NFB of Texas. This is her first year in that role, and under her leadership, the chapter is thriving. Macarena works for the Division of Blind Services, in Brownsville, Texas.

2 cups of coconut
1 cup of crushed pecans
1 cup of finely crushed graham crackers
1 butter stick
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs

Method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl mix the coconut, pecans, and graham crackers. Melt the butter and add to the mixture. In a separate bowl mix the milk, eggs, and the vanilla. Add the coconut mixture to the milk mixture. Stir all ingredients together. Place in a greased rectangular Pyrex dish. Bake in oven for thirty minutes. Allow to cool, and cut into square pieces approximately two inches each. Enjoy!

Crockpot Lasagna

by Stacie Hardy

Stacy Hardy is a member of the Houston chapter of the NFB of Texas. Here is what she has to say: I received this delicious recipe from my guide dog’s puppy raiser. It is sure to feed an army and will win the hearts of everyone who tries it! It is especially good as leftovers and freezes great.

2-3 jars of pasta sauce (I’ve typically used 2 16-ounce jars)
1 16-ounce box lasagna noodles, uncooked
24 ounces (approximately 3 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese
8 ounces ricotta or cottage cheese (I’ve only used the ricotta)
1 pound ground beef, ground turkey, or Italian sausage (I’ve used ground sirloin along with pepperoni)

Note: To make vegetarian lasagna, substitute spinach for meat

Method: In a large crockpot (at least six quarts), place one jar of the pasta sauce. Begin making the lasagna layers starting with the noodles followed by the meat and finally the cheese, I recommend breaking the noodles in half. I’ve typically been able to make three layers. Once the final layer has been made, cover with the second jar of sauce and grated cheeses. Cook on low for four to five hours. Note: A smaller crockpot can be used, but I recommend the larger one.

Corn Casserole

by Stacie Hardy

This quick and easy recipe will be the talk of any pot luck dinner. It is especially good as leftovers. You can be sure people will want the recipe.

1 box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix (only Jiffy will do)
1 cup (8 ounces) grated cheddar cheese
1 stick butter, melted
1 16-ounce can cream-style corn
1 16-ounce can whole kernel corn, undrained
1 8-ounce container sour cream

Method: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly. Pour into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, bake for forty minutes.

Lucy Cake

by Stacie Hardy

This cake can be a refreshing dessert during the summer time or included in traditional holiday meals. This recipe has become a family favorite thanks to my aunt Linda.

1 box Duncan Hines Golden Butter Recipe Cake Mix
4 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 4-ounce can mandarin oranges, undrained

Method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly. Pour into a lightly greased and floured 9-by-13-inch cake pan. Bake for thirty to thirty-five minutes.

1 8-ounce carton Cool Whip
2 cups chopped pecans
1 16-ounce can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 4-ounce can mandarin oranges, drained
1 small package of Jell-O instant vanilla pudding

Method: Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, mix thoroughly. Refrigerate overnight; this will allow the flavors to blend together. The frosting is definitely my favorite part of this cake.

Lara’s Chili

by Lara Sowell

Lara is president of our Lone Star Chapter (at-large). She is active in her community, her church, and the NFB. She teaches Latin at Regents Academy, in Nacogdoches, Texas.

3 pounds ground beef, browned and drained
1/3 cup chopped onions (optional)
2 cans RoTel
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can beef broth
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 15-ounce can of tomato sauce
1 6-ounce can of tomato paste
2-3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed (I mostly use the kind that is already chopped up)
2-3 tablespoons ground cumin
2-3 tablespoons chili powder
Salt and pepper (to taste)

Method: Brown and drain the beef. If you like, you can add about 1/3 cup chopped onions and a dash of salt and pepper for added flavor as you do it. Combine beef with rest of ingredients to cook. I like to put it in the crockpot on low all day while I am at work, but in a pinch I cook it on the stovetop and simmer for thirty to forty minutes. I like to serve it over rice. Jasmine fragrant is my favorite; it is in the Asian section at Wal-Mart. I top with grated sharp cheddar cheese. Makes twelve servings of about one cup each.

Milagro Meat Loaf

by Norma Crosby

Norma Crosby is president of the NFB of Texas, and a proud charter member of the Lone Star Chapter. This recipe is one of her family’s favorites. It is named after the small Milagros “miracle” charms that are often sold outside major churches in Mexico. This is no ordinary meat loaf.

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup minced onion
1/2 red or green bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 pound of lean ground beef
1 pound of lean ground pork
1 1/2 cups of dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup of tomato-based barbecue sauce (I use Stubb’s Original)
3 tablespoons of sour cream
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
Milk (as needed)     
Additional barbecue sauce (optional)

Method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a heavy skillet. Add onions, bell pepper, and garlic. Sauté until the vegetables are softened. Stir in the salt, cayenne, cumin, and black pepper. Sauté for an additional two to three minutes. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, and add all the other ingredients, except for milk. Mix thoroughly with your hands. The meat should feel moist, but not soupy. If it feels too dry, add milk a tablespoon or two at a time until the consistency seems right. Mound mixture into a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Bake uncovered for forty minutes. Then, raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees, and bake for an additional twenty to thirty minutes. If you like, brush the top of the meat loaf with additional barbecue sauce during the last ten minutes.

Braggin’ Rights Chicken Fried Steak

by Norma Crosby

2 pounds of round steak, cut about 1/2 inch thick, and tenderized twice by the butcher
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 egg
1 tablespoon Tabasco (or other hot sauce)
2 garlic cloves, minced
Vegetable shortening for deep frying

Method: Cut the steak into four equal portions. Pound the portions until each is about 1/4 inch thick. Place the flour in a shallow bowl. In a separate dish, stir together the baking powder, baking soda, pepper, and salt. Then mix in the buttermilk, egg, Tabasco, and garlic. Dredge the steaks in flour. Then dunk them in the buttermilk mixture. Then dredge them in the flour again. Pat the flour into the steaks until the surface feels dry. Add enough shortening to an iron skillet or heavy Dutch oven to allow for deep frying (about four inches deep). Bring the oil to a temperature of about 325 degrees. Deep fry the steaks for about seven to eight minutes. Push the steaks down or turn them as they bob to the surface. Serve with cream gravy (following recipe).

Cream Gravy

Submitted by Norma Crosby

This is a must-have with your chicken fried steak.

1/4 cup of pan drippings
3 tablespoons of flour
2 cups evaporated milk
1 cup unsalted beef stock
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper (or to taste)
Salt (to taste)

Method: After cooking your chicken fried steak, use a strainer to pour off most of the fat left in the pan. Leave about 1/4 of the drippings in the bottom of the pan. Return any browned cracklings that remain in the strainer to the skillet. Place the skillet over medium heat, and stir in flour. Stir constantly to avoid lumps. Add evaporated milk and beef stock. Simmer until the liquid is thickened and the raw flour taste is gone (about three minutes). Stir the gravy up from the bottom frequently, scraping up any browned bits. Add salt and pepper to taste. The gravy should have a peppery taste. Add more if needed. Spoon over chicken fried steak, and enjoy.

Easy Cowboy Cornbread Casserole

by Barbara Shaidnagle

Barbara is a member of the Houston Chapter of the NFB of Texas.

Corn Bread 
2 packages of Mexican-style cornbread mix
1 can of cream style corn

2 pounds hamburger meat
2 cans RoTel
1 can ranch-style beans
Chopped onions (as desired)
Bag of shredded cheese
Method: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brown the ground beef, drain the grease. Add RoTel, onions, and ranch style beans, simmer for ten minutes. Make the cornbread according to directions on the back of the bag, add can of cream of corn, and half of the bag of cheese. Grease the bottom of a 8-by-12-inch casserole dish. Pour half of the cornbread mix to the bottom of the pan. Add the meat mixture, then put the other half of the cheese on top. Cover the meat mixture with the other half of the cornbread mixture. Cook for forty-five minutes, or until you can poke a toothpick in the middle and have it come out clean.

Carrot Salad

by Una Lau

Una Lau is a member of the Houston Chapter of the NFB of Texas.


2 10-ounce bags shredded carrots, available from the produce department
1 cup (or approximately 3 handfuls) raisins
2 tablespoons poppy seeds (available in the spice aisle)
1 lemon, juiced
2 oranges, juiced
1/2 cup (or approximately 2 handfuls) light brown sugar
Salt (to taste)

Method: Combine all ingredients well, using your fingers to toss and coat the carrots thoroughly. Transfer to a travel container or serving dish. As the salad sits, the raisins will plump a bit and carrots will take on a citrusy taste.

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