Families on a tight budget can’t afford to throw away good food just because it has passed its prime.
Sticking to our food budget isn’t our only concern when we try to find ingenious ways to use foods that have seen better days – reducing our food waste is also a goal for many of us.
Whether we buy only artisanal bread or bread off the shelf at the supermarket, there is a day that will come when the bread is best used in something other than a sandwich or toast. Cooks can’t wait to get their hands on ‘day old’ bread to get their creative juices flowing.
Perhaps you have a little one that doesn’t like her bread crusts on sandwiches or toast. Using their castoffs in another way will bring a smile to both your faces, as you won’t mind cutting them off and saving the crusts for recipes later.
Like my grandmother and maybe yours, there are many traditional ways I use older bread and now rolls, crusts and buns that always seem to be leftover when I have more buns than dogs or burgers!
I try to stash away any excess or stale baked goods in the freezer so I have them on hand when I have time to make a batch using one of these suggestions.
Uses for Extra Bread & Rolls
Here are some of my favorite ways to use my bread ‘heels’ or extra rolls.
- Breadcrumbs – my favorite way to use extra pieces of bread and rolls is by tossing them into the food processor with some of my favorite fresh or dried herbs. I use breadcrumbs in many different recipes and always have several combinations in the freezer ready for anything.
Breading on pork chops, chicken or as a crust for a fish filet
Meatloaf or meatballs
Broiled tomato slices
Crab or salmon patties
Summer squash and cheese stir-fry (this is a yum everyone loves!)
- Croutons – these are great to use on top of salads or casserole or just by the handful for a snack. Make several different versions depending on your favorite recipes and salads and keep on hand in the refrigerator or freeze in small portions to top whenever needed.
- Stuffing – when you have a few extra slices of bread or a bun from the cookout that isn’t enough for another use, cut it up into small pieces and store in a freezer bag until you have enough to make a stuffing. Serving stuffing as a side dish doesn’t have to happen only on Thanksgviging when you cook a big bird but during the week to accompany baked chicken or pork or your favorite fish filet on the grill.
- Dessert! Bread pudding is a delicious way that we enjoy leftover bread, this is especially great when we use some leftover cinnamon or raisin bread or even banana or other quick breads that have gotten stale. Croissants and other baked goods would also be good added to the bread pudding recipe.
These are just a few ideas that my family enjoy and these alone use up a good deal of my excess bread and rolls. I am sure you have more ideas and I would love for you to share them with us.
Making Homemade Breadcrumbs
I am including a recipe idea for a variety of flavored breadcrumbs so you can use your leftover bread and other baked goods to reduce food waste in your kitchen. You can store these in their plain version for even more flexibility and add desired seasonings when you are ready to add to your recipe.
I love these homemade breadcrumbs in meatloaf or meatballs and as a coating on my baked chicken and pork chops. I know there are no added salt or preservatives when I make it myself and I always have some in the freezer. I prefer to make a big batch at one time to save time and cleaning the food processor.
I hope you will enjoy trying one of these suggestions and feel good about putting ‘day old’ baked goods to use in your kitchen too!
- Stale bread including ends of loaves, hot dog or hamburger rolls, dinner rolls, croissants or other baked goods
- Assorted seasonings as desired
- For best results, lay bread and rolls out on baking sheet until fully dry or toast lightly in oven prior to processing (allow them to cool completely before processing).
- Using food processor, blend large pieces of stale bread or rolls until small, fine crumbs form.
- Add seasonings depending on recipe now or wait until later.
- Rule of thumb - 1 Tablespoon seasonings per cup of crumbs.
- Store in airtight container or freezer bag in refrigerator or freezer with label and date until ready to use in your favorite recipe.
- Can be frozen for up to six months.
- Yield will depend on the amount of stale bread you have to process.
- Italian seasonings: basil, oregano and Parmesan cheese.
- Spicy seasonings: chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, and red pepper flakes
- Garden seasonings: dill, parsley, cilantro, minced onion or garlic, dried tomato flakes
- Plain crumbs with fresh ground pepper or no salt blends work well in many recipes.
- Other additions to breadcrumbs you might like to try - dehydrated lemon and thyme or rosemary