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LifestyleColumnistsMarge Perry

3 Simple recipes to make with strawberries

French toast with strawberries, chocolate shavings and a

French toast with strawberries, chocolate shavings and a dollop of cinnamon-honey yogurt. Photo Credit: Marge Perry

FRENCH TOAST WITH MACERATED STRAWBERRIES, CHOCOLATE AND HONEY-CINNAMON YOGURT

8 ounces strawberries, hulled and sliced

1 tablespoon sugar

1 (6-ounce) container nonfat plain Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons honey

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

12 (1/2-inch-thick) slices challah bread or brioche

6 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

1/2 ounce semisweet chocolate

Confectioners’ sugar (optional)

1. Combine the strawberries and sugar in a bowl. Let them stand for 15 minutes to overnight.

2. Combine the yogurt, honey and cinnamon in a separate bowl; refrigerate until ready to use.

3. Use a 3-inch heart shaped cookie cutter to cut out a heart shape from each slice of bread. Save the scraps for another use (such as bread pudding or bread crumbs). Beat the eggs with the vanilla in a bowl.

4. Melt 2 teaspoons of the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Working 1 at a time, dip 6 of the bread hearts into the egg mixture, turning to coat and allowing them to soak up some of the egg. Place them in the skillet and cook until lightly browned and cooked through, turning once, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining butter, bread hearts and egg mixture.

5. To serve, place 3 hearts onto each of 4 serving plates, Spoon some of the strawberries around the hearts and dollop the yogurt mixture in the center. Use a vegetable peeler to shave the chocolate over the French toast and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar if using. Makes 4 servings

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 489 calories, 21 g protein, 51 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 22 g fat, 10 g saturated fat, 428 mg sodium

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STRAWBERRIES WITH WHITE CHOCOLATE "FONDUE" SAUCE

Note: the sauce may be transferred to a fondue pot and kept warm.

8 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup heavy cream

Seeds from half a vanilla pod

1 pound strawberries, hulled

1. Place the white chocolate and heavy cream in a saucepan.

2. Cut the vanilla bean lengthwise down the center. Open each half up to expose the seeds inside. Use the back (not sharp) blade of a paring knife to scrape the seeds out; place the seeds in the saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring until the mixture is smooth and warmed through.

3. Serve the dipping sauce in a bowl surrounded by the berries. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 420 calories, 6 g protein, 45 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 27 g fat, 19 g saturated fat, 50 mg sodium

TIP: Place the seeded vanilla pod in a container of granulated sugar to infuse it with vanilla flavor.

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STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE CREPES

4 ounces Neufchâtel cream cheese, softened to room temperature

1/4 cup light sour cream

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus additional for sprinkling

2 cups strawberries, thinly sliced

4 tablespoons sugar, divided

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 cups nonfat milk, at room temperature

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Make the filling: Combine the cream cheese, sour cream and confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl; beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. (May be made up to 2 days ahead.)

2. Toss the strawberries with 1 tablespoon of the sugar and set aside (for 20 minutes to several hours).

3. Make the crepes: Combine the flour, remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Combine the eggs, milk, butter and vanilla extract in a separate bowl. Slowly whisk the egg mixture into the flour mixture until smooth. Let the batter stand at least 30 minutes (or cover and refrigerate overnight).

4. Heat an 8-to-9-inch nonstick pan over medium. Whisk the batter and pour 1/4 cup into the crepe pan, tilting in all directions to evenly cover the bottom. Cook until the crepe is set and very lightly golden, about 1 1/2 minutes. Turn the crepe over and cook 20 seconds longer. Transfer the crepe to a plate and repeat with the remaining batter. Stack the crepes on a plate as you cook them.

5. To assemble, spread the cheesecake mixture over a crepe, leaving a small border clear all the way around. Place about 2 tablespoons of the strawberries on the lower right quarter of the crepe and fold the top half over the bottom half. Fold the left half (with no strawberries inside) over the right half, forming a wedge shape. Repeat with the remaining crepes, and once they are all assembled, sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, if desired. Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 333 calories, 12 g protein, 39 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 14 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 263 mg sodium

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