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I am a wife and mom of two beautiful girls who happens to be a professionally trained chef. I have dreams of one day publishing a cook book, but in the mean time I want to share this gift I've been given with all of you, so grab a fork (or sometimes a spoon)...because I'm in the kitchen!

Monday, June 6, 2011

what to do with...leftover French Bread

We all have been there. You bought a loaf of French bread or a baguette, ate half and then just let the other half sit on the counter until it was a rock. Bread is so versatile, it can be used in so many recipes. Here are some ways to use up the rest of that loaf, or buy a loaf just so you can make these yummy recipes :)

Spread a toasted slice with peanut butter or Nutella.
Spread a toasted slice with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
Try this Grilled Bread Salad. Great for summer.
Or this one...Panzanella Bread Salad
You can even use a few chunks or slices to thicken up soups, stews or gravy. Just blend some bread with some liquid from whatever your making.

Make your own croutons by trying this recipe here. You can freeze what you don't use immediately in a Ziploc freezer bag. Use on salad, of course, or top your favorite soup.
Make your own breadcrumbs by cutting the leftover bread into chunks and pulsing them in the blender or food processor. I like to leave them unseasoned. Freeze them in a glass mason jar. When you need some for meatballs, breading, or meatloaf, just measure out what you need.

Always a favorite in my house...
Classic French Toast
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk, half and half, or cream
1 T sugar
2 Tbs orange juice
1 tsp orange zest (optional)
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbs cinnamon
pinch of salt
melted butter
8 slices thickly sliced bread

Beat the eggs lightly in a mixing bowl. Add the milk, sugar, orange juice and zest, vanilla, cinnamon and salt and mix well. Heat a griddle or large non-stick skillet over medium heat and brush with melted butter.
Dip the bread in the egg mixture and place on the griddle. Cook until golden brown on the bottom. Turn the bread over and cook until golden brown. Serve with syrup and/or dust with powdered sugar.

If you're in need of a major sugar rush, try Baked French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup by Paula Deen.
Or a simpler, less sweet Frech toast casserole from allrecipes to get the flavor and feel of French Toast without all the fuss.

One of my favorite things is Apple Bread Pudding. If you don't think bread pudding is your thing, try this recipe to make you a convert. It is delicious!

Apple Caramel Bread Pudding courtesy of Passion for Desserts by Emily Luchetti
4 Golden delicious apples (about 1 3/4 pounds) or whatever apple you prefer
2 Tbs butter
1/3 cup apple juice
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
scant 1 cup sugar (divided)
8 oz french bread or baguette, cut into 3/4 inch pieces (about 4 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3 cups milk
4 large eggs
5 large egg yolks
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger

Preheat oven to 350. Peel, core and slice the apples 1/4 inch thick.
Cook the apple slices, butter, apple and lemon juices, and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a large saute pan over medium-high heat until the apples are soft, about 15 minutes.

Evenly spread the apple slices in the bottom of a 2 1/2 or 3 quart ovenproof baking dish (I use an 9x13 glass pan). Place the bread pieces on top of the apples.

Stir together 2/3 cup of the sugar and the water in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved, about 3 minutes. Increase to high heat and cook, without stirring, until the sugar is amber colored, 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat. Wearing oven mitts, carefully stir about 1/2 cup of the cream into the caramel. Be careful, as the caramel will sputter when the cream is added. If it sputters violently, stop stirring. Let the bubbles subside and then stir again. Carefully stir in remaining cream. Stir in the milk.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, and salt. Whisk  quarter of the caramel cream into the eggs. Add the remaining caramel cream and whisk until incorporated. Pour the caramel cream into the pan over the apples and bread pieces. Using a metal spatula, gently press the bread pieces into the liquid, coating them.

Bake the bread pudding 30 minutes. While it is baking, stir together the cinnamon, ginger and remaining 1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar in a small bowl. After 30 minutes, sprinkle the sugar over the top of the bread pudding. Continue baking until the tips of the bread pieces are golden brown and a small knife inserted in the middle comes out coated with a thickened custard, about 10-15 minutes. Serve warm with a dollop of whipped cream or scoop of ice cream.

Thanks Leticia for the question and post idea :)

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