Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Let them eat bread

I make my own bread. We go through 4-6 loaves a week. Sometimes I make wheat bread but usually it is white bread. You may recall that I included my white bread recipe in my post A Sad Day for Dani.

Occasionally I end up with ends of bread and hard pieces of bread that nobody wants to eat. And of course, since I made the bread and I'm super stinkin' cheap, I don't want to waste it. So, a few months ago I started saving all the ends. I know you're rolling your eyes at me right now, but stick with me, this turns out good!

Whenever I notice a few pieces of bread lollygagging around the cupboard I cube it and toss it into a ziploc bag in the freezer. I keep the bag right up front so I don't have to dig for it and it is a big bag so I can add more later.

When I need croutons I grab a few handfulls of bread cubes from the freezer, toast them under the broiler for a few minutes and toss them with a tablespoon or two of olive oil and seasonings. When I need bread crumbs I grab a few handfulls of cubes and put them in my blender still frozen and take them for a quick spin.

Unfortunately, I haven't needed many croutons or bread crumbs lately and my bag of bread cubes was filled to overflowing. What to do with a bag full of bread?

Breakfast Casserole! So good, so easy and so many options. Here are the basics:

Fill an 8x13 Pyrex casserole dish with cubed bread, no need to defrost. In a medium sized bowl whisk together 8 eggs, 1 1/3 c. milk, 1/2 t. salt and 1/8 t. pepper. Pour egg mixture over bread and top with 1 c. shredded cheese. Cover with foil and place in the refrigerator overnight (or at least 2 hours). When you are ready to cook preheat your oven to 350 degrees and bake your covered casserole for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melty and the top is a light golden brown. Serve warm.

Options- Before pouring the egg over the bread consider mixing one, or several, of the following items into the bread: bacon bits or crumbles, sausage, ham, pepperoni, ground beef, chicken, onions, peppers, zuccini, mushrooms, tomatoes, apples, pears, mustard, basil, mozzarella, parmesan. Let your imagination run wild.

Though it says "Breakfast casserole" I served this for dinner on Monday. (It is tradition in our family to have Breakfast for dinner once a week, usually Sunday night.) I did the bacon and cheddar options and the family LOVED it. It cost me 10 cents an egg, 16 cents for the cup of milk, 50 cents for 1/3 pound of bacon, and 25 cents for the cheese. No cost for bread ends that would have been thrown away anyways. I served it with sliced oranges which cost me another 38 cents for a grand dinner total of $2.09 -- and there were leftovers for the next morning!

Next time you run across some crusty, forlorn looking bread reconsider throwing it to the birds, dog or garbage can. You can still make that bread work for you. Here is another idea from Clara on what to do with your old bread. Enjoy the video--isn't she so cute!

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