Braille Monitor                                                    February 2008

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This month�s recipes come from members of the National Federation of the Blind of New Jersey.

Apple Crumb Cake
by Joe Ruffalo

Joe RuffaloJoe Ruffalo is a member of the national board of directors and president of the New Jersey affiliate. He reports that he has been cooking almost as long as he's been eating. Here is one of his favorite recipes.

1 box yellow cake mix
Eggs, oil, and water as called for in package directions
1 can sliced apples, drained

Ingredients for crumb mixture:
2 sticks butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 to 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Method: Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Spread batter in a greased 13-by-9-inch cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for twenty minutes. Meantime combine all crumb topping ingredients and thoroughly mix with a pastry blender or two knives used scissors-fashion. Be sure that crumbs are well mixed. The topping will be dark brown when the cinnamon is completely incorporated. This will take about ten minutes. After twenty minutes of baking, pull oven rack out and carefully and evenly arrange sliced apples and crumbs on top of cake. Return cake to oven and bake for an additional twenty minutes. Cake is done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Spaghetti Pie
by Jerilyn Higgins

Jerilyn Higgins is first vice president of the NFB of New Jersey, chair of the New Jersey Scholarship Committee, and president of the Central Jersey Chapter. She loves to cook and bake. Her friends and family always request her baked goods at parties and family functions. Here is one her nieces and nephews especially like:

1 pound spaghetti, uncooked
1 stick butter
1 dozen eggs
1 cup parmesan cheese
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, cubed
1 stick pepperoni, cubed (optional)
1 tablespoon dried parsley
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
A box of frozen spinach, chopped roasted peppers, sliced mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes (optional)

Method: Boil the spaghetti according to package directions while you are preparing the filling. Drain cooked spaghetti and return it to the pot with the stick of butter so that it melts. In a large bowl mix the dozen beaten eggs, grated and cubed cheeses, spices, and any optional vegetables and meat you have chosen. You can combine the elements of this mixture with a fork or an electric mixer; I have used both methods, but I prefer the electric mixer. Toss the spaghetti and melted butter together to coat the spaghetti. Thoroughly incorporate the egg mixture with the spaghetti. Place mixture in a greased 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for forty-five to fifty minutes. Insert knife in center to check for doneness. Pie will feel firm to the touch when it is done. Enjoy!

Mexican-Style Chicken-Filled Tortillas
by Jerilyn Higgins

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into thin, bite-sized strips
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
1 cup chunky-style salsa
1 (2 1/4-ounce) can sliced ripe olives, well drained
8 (8- to 10-inch) fat-free flour tortillas

Method: Spray large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Heat over medium-high heat until hot. Add chicken and cook stirring for five to six minutes or until meat is no longer pink. Stir in corn, salsa, and olives. Reduce heat to medium and cook four to six minutes or until mixture is thoroughly heated. Meanwhile warm tortillas as directed on package label. Spoon one fourth of chicken mixture onto half of each tortilla. Fold tortillas to seal. If desired, serve with light sour cream and additional salsa. Yield: four servings. Preparation time is twenty minutes.

Salsa is a zesty condiment that rivals ketchup in popularity. To make a fresh salsa for dipping chips or spreading on burgers, mince fresh tomatoes, onion, and cucumber, and season with chopped fresh cilantro, hot pepper sauce, and salt to taste.

Pumpkin Cheese Pie
by Mary Jo Partyka

Mary Jo Partyka is president of the Capital Chapter, which serves blind people in the Trenton/Princeton area. She also serves as second vice president of the New Jersey affiliate and as cochairperson of the New Jersey Association to Promote the Use of Braille. Here is one of her family�s favorite desserts:

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
3/4 cup pumpkin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 9-inch graham cracker pie shell

Method: Mix cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla at medium speed with electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs and mix until well blended. Then mix pumpkin, cinnamon, and one cup of the cream cheese mixture. Spread remaining cream cheese mixture across the bottom of the pie shell and top with the pumpkin layer. Smooth surface to make top level. Bake at 350 degrees for thirty-five to forty minutes. Refrigerate three hours or chill overnight. Makes eight servings.

Chicken Cacciatore
by Mary Jo Partyka

Mary Jo says: �My son made this recipe for his Italian III class, and the kids loved it.�

8 chicken legs or thighs
1 cup chicken broth (approximately half a can)
Fresh mushrooms
1 cup sherry or other wine
1 can pitted black olives
Garlic salt
Fresh garlic
1/2 cup vinegar
1 cup olive oil
1 jar capers

Method: Combine all ingredients and chill in the refrigerator for an hour before cooking. Place chicken and its marinade and vegetables in a casserole in the oven and cook uncovered at 350 degrees for an hour and fifteen minutes before serving immediately.

Peanut Blossom Cookies
by Linda J. DeBerardinis

Linda DeBerardinis is treasurer of the Garden State Chapter and a member of the New Jersey Scholarship Committee. Linda says, �This recipe has been in my family for as long as I can remember and was just passed down to me last year. I have tasted others that are similar, but not as good.�

1/2 cup margarine or butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
About three dozen chocolate kisses

Method: In a large bowl with a wooden spoon or an electric mixer combine first six ingredients in order. Be sure to incorporate each thoroughly before adding the next. Slowly stir in the dry ingredients. Eventually you may need to use your hands to work in the flour completely. Shape dough into balls by rounded teaspoonfuls. Roll dough balls in additional granulated sugar on a sheet of wax paper. Place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for six to eight minutes. Remove from oven and place one chocolate kiss on top of each cookie, pressing down firmly. Return cookies to oven and bake for an additional three to five minutes. It�s wise to unwrap all chocolate kisses before removing cookies from the oven the first time. When cookies are done, remove them to a rack to cool completely.

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