Wasting food is high on my list of pet peeves, right up there next to passive-aggressive text messages and un-fluffed throw pillows. It’s money going literally down the drain, and it just feels so wrong throwing away food when everyday, all over the world, people are going without. (I knew I was a mom for real the first time I yelled at my kids: “There are starving children in Africa!”)
But I’m a sucker for multitpurpose anything, which is why turning destined-for-the-compost stale bread into fresh breadcrumbs is incredibly satisfying. So buy an extra loaf at your favorite bakery or tell Good Eggs to double down on the caaaaaaarbs because, trust me: you want in on this.
First things first: make the breadcrumbs, and dude, don’t embarrass yourself by Googling “breadcrumb recipe”: just cut off the crust, tear the stale bread into chunks (a super job for tiny hands!), dry out the chunks in the oven at 250 degrees for 10-20 minutes, and then pulse in a food processor a bit until they look breadcrumb-y.
And after that very small bit of effort, SO much is possible. If the food-wasting angle on homemade breadcrumbs didn’t get you, the zillions of dishes you can make with them certainly will:
Top simple spaghetti with garlicky breadcrumbs for a family-friendly Backpocket Pasta. (And maybe some anchovies and chili flakes, or– gasp! — vegetables since your kids are probably cooler than mine.)
Make fresh Chicken Tenders you won’t feel like a scumbag for serving to your kids. (And that you’ll be happy to eat yourself if they object to nuggets not shaped like f**king dinosaurs.)
Eggs & toast are BFFs anyway, so cut out the middle man (RIP crust) by topping your eggs and greens with breadcrumbs. (And I’ve never tried it, but frying your eggs in breadcrumbs is all kinds of *brilliant.*)
This meatball recipe is the business, so just double it and stock your freezer for those nights when you just CAN’T with cooking dinner.
And if spending a cozy weekend in the kitchen is your jam, 1) we should hang out, and 2) you’ll be really into this terrific Quick Cassoulet. (Pictured at the top of the post.)
PS, Martha Stewart’s daily email (which is THE BUSINESS) was all about quick family-friendly meals today and SO many of the featured recipes used breadcrumbs. Which means that Martha totally agrees with me and I can die happy now.
PPS, Every picture above is of an actual meal I cooked in my own kitchen intended for actual consumption by my real family, so, sorry about the mediocre food photography, but also, know that I will never, ever, recommend you try something I’m not actually doing myself.