Wednesday, May 06, 2009

My Best Frugal Tip: Don't Let Food Go To Waste! or What I Did With Two Loaves of Not-Quite-Good-Enough Bread

How's that for a title!?!

One of the best ways that I can think of to save money in the kitchen is to not let food go to waste. This means that I save leftovers and try to creatively stretch them to make new meals.

Leftover meats and veggies get made into salads, soups or casseroles. Chicken bones are simmered with spices and veggie scraps(well-cleaned) in a pot of water for delicious homemade broth. The water that I use to steam veggies is saved in a freezer container and used for adding great flavor to soup when enough is collected. Leftover pasta makes pasta salad, etc, etc, etc.

Some leftovers make for good dog food.

I know you won't be able to believe it, but I have "flops" or recipes that don't quite turn out as expected sometimes. What do I do with them? Well, I try to figure out how to use them and make them edible before just pitching it.

Last week, I made a batch of bread. This recipe makes four loaves but I think next time I'll make five loaves instead. Two of the loaves turned out way too large and didn't bake properly. I baked them a long long time and they were still doughy in the center. But because I baked them so long, they were really dark on the outside, almost burnt.

Then one of these mammoth loaves broke in half. What to do? I started thinking of what I normally do with stale bread and came up with a few ideas.

I took both loaves and began to cut them into cubes. An electric knife makes this very easy!

We love homemade croutons so I made two batches of those. Not only do we use croutons on salads, but they also work well on top of casseroles or instead of crackers for soup.

Next, I remembered how much we enjoyed homemade stove-top stuffing so I mixed up two batches of that. I am trying to not use MSG-loaded chicken bouillon so I'll add my own broth or soup base when preparing the mixes. I'll also add fresh celery and onion when I cook it. I put the bread cubes in the oven to dry the same as I did the croutons.

I also made one recipe of egg casserole which uses cubed bread as a main ingredient. This makes a 9 x 13 pan so I divided it into two smaller pans-one to freeze and one to bake for the next day. I forgot to take a pictures of the baked casserole so you'll have to imagine it all fluffy and browned!

Do you know how many bread cubes come from two HUGE loaves of bread?!??

A LOT!!!

I still had enough bread left for two more batches of stuffing mix. Plus I made bread crumbs from 2 slices to use in that night's salmon patties.

Some other ideas for using stale or extra bread:
--Feed the birds.
--Feed the ducks.
--Feed the children.:-)
--Bread crumbs for recipes.
--French toast.
--Bread pudding.

Any other ideas for using bread or other leftovers? Please share in the comments!

Getting creative with food leftovers, flops and extras saves me a whole lot of money each year!

This frugal tip works for me!

**This post is part of Works For Me Wednesday and Frugal Fridays!


Mom2fur said...

Oh, yummy--especially the homemade Stovetop Stuffing idea!
My husband loves bread pudding, so that's where most of my 'extra' bread goes. Or I just throw it in the freezer to make breadcrumbs.
Of course...the birds get their share, too!

Your Frugal Friend, Niki said...

We are all about making our own bread crumbs at our house.