Published Thursday, January 10, 2013

Blueberries offer oodles of variety come breakfast time

From Staff Reports

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Blueberries have earned the name “Little Blue Dynamo” because of the punch they pack nutritionally.

Perfect for drinks, salads, compotes and breakfast creations, blueberries bring a sweet twist to any dish.

If you can’t find fresh, go frozen. Frozen, unsweetened blueberries can be found packed in poly bags or boxes in the frozen food section of most supermarkets. When you grab a bag of frozen berries, they should feel loose and not clumped together. They’ve been individually quick frozen so you can remove a few at a time or use them in larger portions.

Store your frozen blueberries in the freezer. If you don’t use the whole bag, return the unused portion to the freezer promptly. Some people like to pop frozen blueberries right into their mouths or onto ice cream and yogurt, but if you choose to thaw your berries, cover and refrigerate them and use them within three days.

Here are two breakfast ideas from the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council for a maple blueberry bake, blueberry bars for a crowd, or an easy layered parfait:

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Blueberry Breakfast Bake

Ingredients

1 loaf (14 ounces) sliced, firm textured white bread, crusts removed, divided

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2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, divided

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4 ounces light cream cheese (from an 8-ounce package), cut in ¼-inch cubes

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8 eggs, beaten

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1 1/2 cups lowfat milk

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1/4 cup maple syrup

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1/4 cup melted butter

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove crusts from bread. Cut in 1-inch cubes (makes about 10 cups). Cut cream cheese in small cubes (makes about 1 cup)

Grease 9-x-9-x-2-inch baking dish.

Place half of the bread cubes in the dish. Scatter cream cheese cubes and 1 cup of blueberries over the bread. Top with remaining bread cubes and blueberries

In a bowl, combine eggs, milk, maple syrup and butter. Carefully pour over bread mixture

Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour, covering with aluminum foil if edges brown too much

To serve, cut in squares. Accompany with additional maple syrup, if desired

Yield: 9 portions.

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Blueberry Breakfast Bars

Ingredients

All purpose flour: 1 pound (4 ounces)

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Baking powder: 1 Tablespoon (1/2 ounce)

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Salt: 1 1/2 teaspoons (1/4 ounce)

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Stick margarine or butter, softened: 8 ounces

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Granulated sugar: 1 pound

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Eggs: 4

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Pure vanilla extract: 2 teaspoons

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Low fat milk: 8 ounces

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Quick cooking oats: 10 ounces

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Frozen, unsweetened blueberries: 1 pound

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Corn/rice cereal squares, coarsely crushed: 12 ounces

Instructions:

Have all ingredients at room temperature. In a bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.

In mixer, place margarine and sugar with the paddle attachment, mix at low speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.

Add milk, flour mixture, and oats. Beat until blended, scraping down sides of the bowl as necessary.

Stir in blueberries (batter will be stiff). Spread evenly in a greased 18 x 26 inch pan.

Sprinkle cereal over top

Bake at 350° F until golden brown and tester comes out clean, about 40 minutes

Cool in pan. Cut in pan in 2-inch squares or 1 1/2 x 3-inch bars. Yield: makes 117 pars.

Any time you want to make a quick breakfast that will give your day an excellent start, simply layer a few ingredients for a “Super Breakfast Parfait.”

Instructions:

Simply stack blueberries, yogurt and granola in a glass or bowl — or make your parfait in a disposable cup to take with you.

Create your own favorite blueberry parfait combos for breakfast, snacks or dessert. How about layering blueberries with sherbet and crushed cereal? Or try stacking blueberries with cubes of fruit-flavored gelatin and cookie crumbs.

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