Blueberry stuffed French toast is a melt-in-your-mouth treat for breakfast or brunch.

Blueberry stuffed French toast is a melt-in-your-mouth treat for breakfast or brunch.

Recipe feature: Blueberries make it better

Two weeks ago I promised more on blueberries and today’s feature is just that.

Two weeks ago I promised more on blueberries and today’s feature is just that.

We’ve already covered many of the amazing health attributes of these berries and today you’ll learn a few more. For instance a serving of blueberries is only 80 calories, has no fat, and is packed with vitamin C and fibre. In fact, just a handful of blueberries will meet our daily requirement of fibre.

Blueberries are an excellent source of manganese, which is essential for bone development and for converting proteins, carbohydrates, and fats in food into energy. Blueberries are leaders in antioxidant properties of any fruit, which is so important in preventing disease, and with B.C. being a world leader in blueberry production, we are fortunate to have a fresh, excellent supply of this amazing fruit.

Today’s recipes include a delicious stuffed french toast, a blueberry spinach salad, and, since peaches are also in season, I’ve combined blueberries and peaches in a smoothie and muffin recipe. Both are excellent for breakfast or a snack.

Blueberry Stuffed French Toast

Cooking spray

6 eggs

1 tsp. finely grated orange zest

2/3 cup orange juice

3 tbsp. sugar, divided

Pinch salt, optional

1 cup fresh blueberries (if frozen, thaw and drain first)

8 thick (3/4-to-1-inch) slices  French or Italian white bread

1 pkg. softened cream cheese (4 oz)

1/3 cup sliced almonds (optional)

Blueberry  sauce (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray. In a medium bowl beat eggs, orange zest, juice, 2 tbsp. sugar and the salt until well blended. Pour into a 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking pan; set aside. In a small bowl combine blueberries and the remaining 1 tbsp. sugar; set aside. Open bread slices in pairs and butter each slice of bread with a layer of cream cheese. Top one piece of bread with layer of blueberry mixture and top with second piece of bread to form a sandwich. Place filled sandwiches into egg mixture. Let stand turning once, until egg mixture is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Arrange french toast on prepared baking sheet, sprinkle with almonds. Bake until golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes, turning slices after 10 minutes. Serve with blueberry sauce, whipped cream, or syrup of your choice.

Sauce:

1 cup sugar

2 tbsp. cornstarch

1 cup water (or use half water, half orange juice)

1 cup blueberries

2 tbsp. butter

Mix all ingredients together in saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring until thickened and berries have popped.

Blueberry Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing

4 slices bacon

1 cup chopped red onion

1 tbsp. sugar

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1/3 cup water

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

2 tsp. cornstarch

6 oz. (about 8 cups) baby spinach

2 cups fresh blueberries

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1 cup blue cheese crumbled (I don’t like blue cheese so use any white cheese.)

4 (6 oz. each) boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and sliced

In a skillet, over medium heat, sauté bacon until crisp, about seven minutes. Remove bacon and crumble; set aside. Add onion to drippings in skillet; cook, stirring, until translucent, about four minutes. Add sugar, vinegar, water, salt, and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer five minutes.

In a small cup combine cornstarch and 2 tbsp. water; add to simmering liquid, stirring rapidly, continue cooking until dressing is thickened, about three minutes. In a large bowl, toss spinach and warm dressing. On four large plates, evenly divide spinach; sprinkle each with 1/2 cup blueberries, 1/4 cup tomatoes, 1/4 cup crumbled cheese, 1 tbsp. reserved bacon, and 1 chicken breast. Serve immediately.

Blueberry Peach Smoothie

1 cup blueberries

3 ripe peaches

1 frozen banana

1 cup low fat or non-fat vanilla yogurt

Place ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Thin with some calcium-fortified orange juice if desired.

Blueberry Peach Muffins

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tbsp. baking powder

1 pinch salt

3 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 cup melted butter

1 cup blueberries

1 cup peeled and diced fresh peaches

Topping:

2 tbsp. white sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

2 tbsp. melted butter

 

Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease 16 muffin tins or line with paper liners. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugars, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, milk, and melted butter until well blended. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix until just blended. Fold in the blueberries and peaches. Fill muffin cups with batter; two-thirds full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes in preheated oven, or until tops spring back when lightly touched. In a small bowl, stir together the topping sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Brush muffins with the melted butter and sprinkle with the cinnamon mixture. Cool in the pan over a wire rack.

–– Cathi Litzenberger is The Morning Star’s cooking columnist.