Sometimes you just have extra bread, and you don’t really know what to do with it. Maybe it’s gone a little stale. Maybe you feel like something a little fancier than sandwiches for dinner. But still it always seems a pity to let perfectly good food go to waste. Here are some ideas for things you can do with your extra bread.
1. French Toast
If you have extra bread of almost any kind, French toast is a great way to use it up while adding a little bit of protein. Even better, because it’s soaked with egg and then cooked, French toast is great at hiding a bit of staleness.
Simply beat a couple of eggs, add a splash of milk, a pinch of salt and a dash of cinnamon. Dip slices of bread in the egg mixture, then cook in a non-stick frying pan. Serve with syrup, or with fruit and yogurt.
2. Bread Pudding
Bread pudding is delicious, and it’s an absolutely wonderful way to make dessert while using up your extra bread. Bread pudding is, of course, not exactly a low-carb or low-sugar food, so it might not be something you want to make every day. But on days where you need to indulge a little, there’s nothing better. Check out this recipe for bread pudding with salted caramel sauce from Cooking Light:
Bread Pudding Ingredients:
- 5 cups French bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 cup evaporated milk (fat-free)
- 3/4 cup 1% fat milk
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar (packed)
- 3 tablespoons bourbon
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 6 tablespoons half-and-half (divided)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
Preheat your oven to 350 F, then bake your bread cubes on a cookie sheet in a single layer for about eight minutes. Next, combine all of the bread pudding ingredients (not the sauce ingredients) except the bread cubes in a bowl and mix together. Add in the bread and wait 20 minutes. Push on the bread from time to time to encourage it to soak up the mixture.
Next, prepare the sauce by mixing the brown sugar, butter and bourbon in a saucepan with your stove on medium-high. After it has come to a boil, simmer it (stirring continuously) until the sugar dissolves (about two minutes). Mix in 5 tablespoons of the half-and-half, then continue to simmer until the sauce has reduced to about 1 cup. Take the sauce off the heat and add in the remaining half-and-half, the salt, and the vanilla. Keep the sauce warm.
Coat a 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray, then place half of the bread in it. Pour 3 tablespoons of the sauce over it, then add the rest of the bread. Bake for 45 minutes (or until a toothpick poked into the center comes out clean). Serve with warm sauce.
3. French Bread Pizza
For a simple dinner that’s sure to please the kids, try making French bread pizza. Simply cut a loaf of French bread down the middle, then cut it in half lengthwise so you’re left with four long, flat slices of French bread. Lay the bread crust-side down on a baking sheet and spread some tomato paste over the top. For a fancier sauce, add spices like garlic, oregano, rosemary or basil to the sauce before spreading. Top the bread with low-fat mozzarella cheese, then pepperoni, mushrooms, olives or whatever other toppings you’d like. Bake until the cheese has melted, then serve with a simple salad.
4. Breadcrumb Fritters
This fun dessert comes from La Tienda, and it’s remarkably simple. Its only sweetening comes from honey.
- 3 eggs
- 3 tablespoons bread crumbs (from unprocessed white bread)
- Olive oil (or other oil for frying)
- Powdered cinnamon
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/4 cup water
Beat the eggs together with the bread crumbs. Heat the oil in a pan until it’s hot (but not smoking). Add small spoonfuls of the dough, and fry them on both sides. When the fritters are cooked, place them on a plate covered with paper towel to absorb any excess oil.
To make the syrup, heat the water and honey in another pan. When it has begun to simmer, place the fritters into the syrup and cook for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with cinnamon before serving.
For a simple but delicious breakfast made using bread, try this strata recipe from allrecipes.com.
- 1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 quart half-and-half
- 12 eggs
- Salt and pepper
- 12 slices white bread
- 1 pound cooked ham (cubed)
- 12 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese (grated)
- 1/2 cup sliced scallions (sliced)
Sauté the mushrooms, seasoning them with salt. Next, mix the eggs and half-and-half, seasoning them with salt and pepper.
Prepare a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray, then line the bottom of it with half the bread. Layer that with half of the ham, mushrooms, scallions and cheese, then pour 1 cup of the egg mixture on top of it. Layer with the rest of the ingredients.
Cover the dish with plastic wrap and weight it down for at least 15 minutes to make the ingredients all submerge.
When ready to cook, preheat your oven to 325 and cook for about 50 minutes. Then broil it for about 5 minutes, watching it carefully. Let stand for about 8 minutes, then serve.