Monday, January 24, 2011

Leftover Bread Makes The Best Stuffing!


With all the bread I've been baking this past year, I find myself with a lot of leftover pieces. After a couple of days, I start getting worried about the bread being stale or getting yukky and I hate the thought of wasting it. When this is the case, especially if its a really tasty loaf, I put it in a zip lock baggy and toss it in the freezer. (it's either that or eat it myself...which I'd have to problem doing.....but in all honesty, I prefer not to have to purchase new pants, the next unsaid size up). Eventually, the bread pieces add up. I think my initial intention was to make a bread pudding of sorts. Which I really could've done.

But this one particular night I was in the mood for stuffing.

I can't tell you what kind of breads I used. There were all sorts. Which added different textures and flavor to my homemade stuffing. It really was fun. What I basically did was look at one of those Mrs. Cubbisons Stuffing boxes and followed the recommendations on the back, based on how much bread I had.

I defrosted my bread on a wire rack (didn't want any moisture to make my bread soggy). Defrosting them really didn't take long. Basically, I started in the morning. By mid afternoon, they were defrosted and dry and I cut the random pieces of bread into chunks. It doesn't take all morning for the bread to defrost but I wanted them to dry out as much as possible.

You know....you can use any kind of bread for this. It's a nice way to keep waste down. I sometimes add the heals of different store bought loaves to the batch.

If the bread has indeed started to mold, they end up in my compost bin.

Once the bread has been cubed, I laid them out on a baking sheet



and stuck them in a warm (about 250' F) oven and let them dry out, tossing them around every once in a while. This could take some time....depending on the moisture in the bread and how big your cubes are. I think it took about 45 minutes. Don't hold me to it...just keep an eye on everything as it goes.

Once dried...you're ready to roll. And the combination possibilities are endless. I will give you a starting point....you know what you like and can adjust to your personal tastes. Just know that what you buy in a box can be made from your leftover pieces of bread and will be just as good, if not better. Not to mention a little cheaper.

And you just might feel better doing it.

12 oz of dried bread cubes
2/3 cup diced onion
2/3 cup diced celery
2/3 cup sliced mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, minced 
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoons (or so) poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 350'


Melt the butter in a pan and saute the veggies until tender. In a large bowl, combine everything. Well....if you've ever made stuffing before, you know the routine....toss until the bread cubes are evenly coated. If you like a more moist stuffing, add more broth.

Coat a casserole dish with cooking spray and bake for about 30 minutes.

Of course you can use it to stuff a turkey or chicken as well.


And there you have it......a basic recipe. Change it up...add your own touch with your own favorites. My mom loves to add boudin sausage (taken out of the skins, crumbled and cooked). Although Sir Sportsalot won't let me do that. Truth be told, he was bummed that I added the mushrooms. He's a traditionalist. And he loves stuffing!!! But he likes it the way I've always made it, which is the way his mother and grandmother made it (basic. no mushrooms). Any change (even though I'd consider it an improvement) is looked upon expressionless....with a silent (until dinner is over) resignation. When there's some left on the plate after dinner is over, I know it wasn't accepted.

With that said...I'm sorry to say, this will be the last batch of stuffing I make which includes mushrooms.

Sigh.

This is my entry into this weeks Hearth and Soul Blog Hop!

hearthandsoulgirlichef

7 comments:

  1. I'm with Sir Sportsalot - you can keep the shrooms. Sounds good otherwise! Leftover bread also makes great croutons, panzanella, run it through the food processor for making chicken croquettes, bulking up a meatloaf, etc. :)

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  2. Looks delicious! great idea to use up old bread, I have lots too until I have to feed them to the dog! She doesn't mind thank goodness!:D

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  3. That looks awesome, Dani! The sacrifices we make. Seriously. I love this basic recipe and will indeed be saving. I need more stuffing in my life. So glad you shared it w/ the hearth and soul hop this week :)

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  4. What a fantastic way to use up leftover bread! I have the same problem with the ends of homemade loaves but now I will stick them in the freezer so I can make your yummy stuffing!

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  6. What a delicious formula! I am like you I can't throw out homemade bread! This is great, thanks.

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  7. Great Post!
    I agree with you on the leftover bread. I cube mine and freeze until I have enough for making dressing or bread pudding. Luckily I had enough for Christmas dressing, because gluten free stuffing mix is very expensive!

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