Monday, August 07, 2006

Using Up a Left Over Loaf of Bread

I love buying bread - but sometimes after I go to a really cool bakery, I buy too much and my family can't eat it all up before it looses it's freshness and gets tough. When I'm about to throw anything out I can still hear my Grandmother say, "waste not want not, there are children starving in Europe." My husband's Grandmother echoed the same philosophy but instead of Europe she said, Biafra. Yesterday's housewives were ingenious at using up leftovers and would save every tablespoon of left over meals to add to the next day's soup. My Gram used to bake her own bread (for a family of 9) and then use the left over bread to make some delicious Apple Brown Betty, Bread Puddings, Stratas, or Bread Crumbs that would crunch up a casserole. You know if you think about it, using up your leftovers takes an enormous amount of creativity. Here are some left over bread uses and menu ideas:

Camper's Focaccia Bread: While camping recently I had a bag of hot dog buns left over and wanted to use them up. Throw them out? Are you kidding, this was just another opportunity to get creative. This is a recipe for 6 hotdog buns. Cut up one hot dog bun in half lengthwise - cut again to make a thinner focaccia bread stick if you like and put onto a cookie sheet. Then melt together 1/4 cup of butter and 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add 1/2 tsp. of garlic, 1/2 tsp. of basil, 1 tsp. of rosemary, and 1/2 tsp. of salt, then brush the buns with this olive oil/butter mixture. Toast in the oven at 350 degrees until nice and toasted. I served these hot dog focaccia sticks with a nice pulpy/tomato/balsamic dip. Here is the recipe for that too.

Tomato Balsamic Dip: Cut up about four tomatoes and put into a frying pan over medium high heat with 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar, 2 tbsp. of olive oil, 3 tbsp. of sugar (you can use brown sugar or Splenda), fg of salt and pepper. Add whatever herbs you like oregano is nice. Simmer until the liquid is reduced substantially to a dip like consistency. Serve with focaccia bread sticks. Yum, yum.

Wife Saver Casserole: I made this version for the first time last Christmas morning and it was amazing! Serve this casserole any time of year for a luncheon or brunch. Great way to use up a whole loaf of day old bread. Trim the crusts from each piece of bread and lay half of the bread slices in a large buttered casserole covering the entire bottom of the casserole. Then cover bread with 8 slices of bacon. Top with slices of cheddar cheese and cover with remaining bread slices. In a bowl beat eggs together with remaining ingredients. Pour over bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning melt butter and pour over top of casserole. Cover with crushed Special "K" or Cornflakes. Bake at 350 degrees uncovered for one hour. Let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving. This casserole is delicious.

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