Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Saving Time & Money: Uses for Stale Bread

As I was looking through the refrigerator tonight, I realized there was a full loaf of bread that isn't fresh-rather, it's actually quite dry. Since trans fat free, high fructose corn syrup free, whole wheat bread is anything but cheap, I started mentally compiling a list of ways to use stale bread, assuming it has not acquired off odors or flavors from being in the fridge or bread box too long. What are some of your favorite ways to use up bread?

Here are some of my favorite ways to use up bread without my meal suffering taste or quality:

Meatloaf
Most meatloaf recipes call for either bread or a grain component, you can omit that in place of a few slices of stale bread. Nearly any meatloaf recipe can be modified to use 2 slices of bread per pound and a half of meat, in place of the bread crumbs or grains called for in the recipe. Or, try soaking a few slices of bread in water until soggy, bread blends well with ground meat. When the bread & meat are well blended, stir in an egg or two, 1/4 cup of milk, tomato sauce & your favorite seasonings.

Meatballs
As with meat loaf, homemade meatballs usually call for bread crumbs or water sodden bread. To turn stale bread into bread crumbs, broil for a few minutes until toasted, flip & broil on the opposite side. Crush & continue with recipe directions. Or if your recipe calls for bread soaked in water, stale bread works as well as fresh, just follow the directions for soaking the bread, and possibly add a tablespoon of extra water.

French Toast
Make your french toast as usual, only soaking in your egg/milk mixture slightly longer until bread is sodden.

Chicken Dinner Casserole and other recipes that call for soft or dry bread crumbs work well with stale bread as well. Try modifying any recipe that calls for dried stuffing mix by adding your favorite herb seasonings or a bit of powdered boullion in place of chicken or turkey flavoring.

Casserole Toppings
Top your favorite casserole with bread crumbs. Simply toast stale bread under your broiler & crush, then spread evenly on top of your casserole. It adds a boost of whole grain, and saves you money as pre-made bread crumbs can be pricey. After you crush your bread crumbs, they can be stored in the freezer until you are ready to use them.

French Onion Soup or other recipes that call for toasted bread can be easily made with stale bread. Just toast your bread in the toaster and follow the recipes.

Of course, if all else fails and the bread is stale beyond use, it may be time to plan a date with your kids to the marina or lake where they can feed the ducks. Bring your camera and enjoy the time with your children. It will be worth the money "wasted" on bread not used up.

2 comments:

MommyK said...

Homemade croutons. Or if it;s really dry, put it in a ziploc bag and pulverize it with a rolling pin to make breadcrumbs. Store them in the freezer to make them last longer (the refirgerator will just dry them out more).

My Ice Cream Diary said...

I always put the heels if my bread out on a plate to dry. When good and hard I do what what mommyk says or I crush them in my food processor. I like to seaon the crumbs with garlic salt, basil (dried), parsley (dried), parmesean cheese, and pepper then use to coat chicken.

I also use the bread crumbs for making falafel (Mmmmmmm).