Sunday, October 24, 2010

Use What You Have: Bread Ends and Leftovers

I don't know if you are like me, but I always seem to have all sorts of bread leftovers lurking in my kitchen--heels from otherwise used-up loaves, remains from artisan loaves I bought at my co-op that I could not bear to toss out so I just tossed them in a bag in the freezer, and other freezer burnt-bread has-beens just taking up space. Okay, and I still do--but they now have a their own mission in life other than obstructing the view of whatever else is in my freezer: I make homemade bread crumbs from them.  
Yes, even your stale, freezer-burnt and otherwise unwanted bread pieces can be put to use.  I keep a plastic bag in my freezer at all times and simply toss these sad bread pieces in (you name it, we save it--hot dog buns, rock hard pieces of french bread, stale heels...)--and once I have a full bag, I pull them out, defrost, cut into chunks, process into crumbs, and toast in my oven.
Voila!  Bread crumbs that are perfectly delicious and useful.  I use them to make breadings for chicken, to add to meatballs, to top casseroles...whatever your heart desires.  And, if you can believe it--they will keep endlessly in a plastic bag in your freezer.  Seriously--at one point, we had a HUGE bag of bread crumbs and I think I worked from that bag for over a year...with no apparent detriment to taste (do not ask me why this is true, but it is--really.  Would I lie to you, honey?).  I sometimes even season a large quantity of the crumbs all at once so I have my fave breading at the ready when needed with no fuss or muss.  Give it a try:
And here is a little tasty dish to get you started: stuffed peppers. I love these--they are full of veggies and are like a moist and flavorful meatball all mounded up in a bell pepper. And the recipe makes lots--enough for a family dinner, or enough for dinner and then some leftover to freeze since these do freeze and reheat nicely.
And if stuffed peppers are not your thing, think about making this fantastic faux-fried chicken that is a perpetual favorite at our house. 
It really is amazing what you can make from foods you might otherwise be inclined to toss out or add to the compost heap--so check out my other how-to's on: what to do with a glut of tomatoes, what to do with over-ripe fruits, and what to do with chicken bones.  Make the most from what you have and bon appetit.


kelly said...

bread ends are also awesome for bread pudding! i learned that several summers ago when we had a bbq and somehow ALL our guests brought buns. 8 bags of buns= four huge pans of bread pudding the next day!

Beth said...

THANK YOU! This is my #1 guilty toss-out in the kitchen - there are several partial loaves lurking at the bottom of the deep freeze right now that I have been ignoring because they're frosty but I couldn't bring myself to toss them!

monica said...

mmmm. mmmm. wanna come make me dinner with my leftovers?


Holly said...

Thanks for the offer, Monica--but I have plenty of leftovers over here to slide past my own family.

Although I do love to entertain--so maybe you should come to my house.

Flunatje said...

just wondering the '1 lb. ground turkey' is this the 'minced meat' on this picture (
Thank you! It looks delicious!

Holly said...

Flunatje--yes it is minced meat--but turkey, not beef.