My husband and I rarely buy bread. Not because we’re cutting carbs or hate sandwiches, but because we often encounter orphaned bread—the final pieces in the restaurant bread basket, for example—that needs a loving home. We stash the bread in the freezer and toast it up for sandwiches, to go with salads or to use in casseroles.
Which brings me to Bread Scrap Pumpkin Stuffing!
Take whatever bread scraps you have on hand, mix with the usual stuffing stuff--onions, carrots, and celery--add some pumpkin for oomph, and voila! The rescued bread becomes the backbone of a rich, veggie-laden dish.
The images here are from last Thanksgiving. I was worried we didn’t have enough scraps for this year, but then my husband rescued a bag of little bread rounds left over from a law school reception. Hello, future stuffing!
So, here’s our “flexipe,” inspired by a recipe on Super Healthy Kids. And, keep in mind that you could probably sub a medley of rescued bread scraps for many of the stuffing recipes out there.
Bread Scrap Pumpkin Stuffing*
Bread scraps, torn or cubed into bite-size or smaller pieces. The amount is up to you and depends on how carb-y you want to go. But try to target for enough to loosely cover the bottom layer of your baking pan (I use a glass or metal 9 x 13 pan).
Oil and butter for sauteing the veggies.
1 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree
1 bunch celery, diced. I use the entire package of celery, leaves included. I find I rarely feel I’ve added too many vegetables. It may look like a lot, but keep in mind that veggies shrink while they cook.
1 bunch carrots, diced. As with the celery, I try to use the entire package. For this stuffing, I bought a bag of about 10 carrots. Mine didn’t have the greens attached, but if yours do, consider making carrot top pesto!
2 or more chopped medium sized onions (one onion is fine, but I feel like more onions always makes things better).
Eggs. Aim for one egg for every four cups of bread.
Sage and any other herbs that sound good to you.
2 cups broth (Scrap broth if you can!)
Salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 9x13 baking dish.
2. If the bread is frozen, put it baking dish you’ll eventually be using for the stuffing.
3. Put the frozen bread in the oven to revive and toast it while the oven is preheating.
4. While the bread is toasting, heat some oil and butter in a pan on the stove.
5. Chop the onions, carrots and celery into and add them to the pan in that order.
6. Remove the bread from the oven. (Keep an eye on it while you’re chopping to make sure it doesn’t burn!) Once it’s cooled, tear or chop the bread scraps into bite size pieces.
7. Keep sauteing the onions, carrots and celery for at least 10 minutes, they should be softening. Add more butter and oil if needed.
8. Add a teaspoon or more of dried sage, along with salt and pepper to taste.
9. Add the pumpkin puree and the broth and stir.
10. Beat eggs and stir them into the mixture.
11. Add more broth until the mixture is soupy enough to pour over the bread in the casserole dish.
12. Pour it into the casserole dish and stir a bit to make sure everything is thoroughly mixed.
13. Bake for at least 20 minutes.
*If we're going by dictionary definitions, this is probably considered a dressing (because it isn't actually "stuffed" inside anything). But that's just weird, right? Whether you say "dressing" or "stuffing" may be connected to where you grew up.