Turkey BurgerBurgers, hot dogs, and brats, oh my! Grilling season is sweeping the nation and we hope you've jumped on the finger-licking bandwagon--it's just too delicious to miss. But no matter what, no matter how hard you try, there will always be leftover buns after cookouts and BBQ's. And, as your information powerhouse, we at Good Housekeeping feel it's our duty to key you in on ten easy and fast ways to use up those leftover buns rather than just tossing them in the trash.
1. Make Croutons
Word on the street is that it's bathing suit season. If you're anything like me, you eat a lot of slimming salads during the summer months so that you feel comfortable sporting that suit around the pool. Croutons are a great way to add some crunch and flavor to your everyday salad. Cut your leftover buns into squares and place them in a large bowl. Add in 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss to coat bread evenly. Bake in oven at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden. Salt and pepper not enough? Try adding in a teaspoon of dried thyme and 1/2 teaspoon each garlic and onion powder.
2. Bread Crumbs
This pantry staple is used in endless recipes, so why not make your own if you have the main ingredient (bread!!) lying around. It's so simple. Just follow this trusty GH recipe and replace the white bread with your leftover buns.
3. Panzanella Salad
Need a side dish for all those burgers you're serving? Try out this classic panzanella salad. Use your burger and frank rolls to replace the sourdough bread this recipe calls for. The vinaigrette in this Mediterranean salad soaks into the crunchy bread and, as an added bonus, highlights one of summer's best ingredients, tomatoes!
If your buns have been leftover for a while and become a bit firm, meatballs are the perfect dish to make. Acting as a binder, the soft bun crumbs soak up all of the delicious juices from the zucchini and meat and, once baked, turn into a scrumptious meatball. The best part is that you can freeze them up to a month for a quick weeknight meal.
5. Soup Thickener
Adding a few slices of stale bread to soup can help create a thick and creamy texture. Remove one or two cups of soup into a bowl and mash with the leftover buns, then add it back into the soup. Naturally, you might not be in the mood for a warming bowl of soup in the dead of summer, so try this method with a gazpacho recipe.
6. Pizza Buns
Make a fun afternoon snack with the kiddos using your leftover buns. Take one can of tomato paste, grate in one clove of garlic, add 1/2 teaspoon each sugar, salt, and thyme and a pinch of pepper. Spread onto a bun, top with your favorite cheese and pizza toppings (be sure to cook the toppings first if necessary) and bake for 10 minutes until bread is crunchy and cheese has melted.
Related: Potato Salad Recipes
7. Garlic Bread
Everyone loves a side of garlic bread. In fact, it would be a great pairing with the meatballs above or dipped into leftover tomato sauce from your pizza buns. Grate one clove of garlic into one tablespoon of softened butter. Add in 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, rosemary, or both (1/4 teaspoon of each if both). Spread onto buns and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes until aromatic and bread is toasted.
8. Romesco Sauce
This sauce, originating in Spain and made mostly from red peppers, is extremely versatile and can be used to top everything from chicken to fish to vegetables. Let your leftover buns get a bit stale and firm then use them in place of the white bread in this recipe.
9. Freeze your Buns
You never know when your next cookout will pop up so it's a good thing to keep some leftover buns handy in the freezer. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and place them in an airtight container or a zippered freezer bag to prevent ice crystals from forming. Thaw the bread at room temperature.