Whenever my bread gets a little stale, I dry it out in the oven (300ºF for maybe 15 minutes) and throw the toast, or the leftover crackers or potato chips or whatever, in my mini Cuisinart, a favorite Goodwill score. In mere seconds, I have free breadcrumbs – and I’ve saved some stale bread from the trash in the process. Y’all know how much I hate to waste food. I throw the breadcrumbs into a plastic zippered bag in the freezer, conveniently labeled “Breadcrumbs 2018.”
We use them throughout the year, adding more along the way, and in November I ramp it up so I won’t be left with any crumbs by the end of the year. If I don’t occasionally start over with a new bag, there could be 40 year old breadcrumbs in there. Even I find that a bit gross. But if you follow my lead, you won’t have any trouble using them up. And you’ll never spend $4 on a can of store-bought breadcrumbs again!
Breadcrumbs can be used to top casseroles, make arancini, thicken soups, and round out meat loaf or meatballs. Add crunch to a pasta dish, sprinkle them on roasted vegetables, or use them to hold fish cakes together. Dredge fish filets in a mix of mayo and egg, dip them in breadcrumbs, and bake. Then top with pimiento cheese. Just do it!
Or make chicken, pork, or veal cutlets. So simple!
How to Make Easy Breaded Cutlets in the Oven
- Take your meat of choice and pound it to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut it into whatever size pieces you prefer.
- Whisk an egg together with a dollop of mayonnaise. Think you hate mayo? Don’t worry about it. The mayo gives it a slight buttery taste in cooking. (Also? Instead of putting oil in the pan when you make grilled cheese, try a thin smear of mayo on the outside of the bread instead. Then try and tell me you hate mayo.)
- Coat each cutlet in the mayo and egg mixture.
- Mix 2 parts breadcrumbs with one part finely grated parmesan cheese, add a shake of Italian seasoning and salt and pepper if you like. Spread the mixture on a plate.
- Lay each cutlet in the breadcrumbs then flip it to coat.
- Cook at 350ºF on a baking sheet covered in oiled tinfoil for 10 to 12 minutes (turning once) until golden brown.
Because the cutlets are so thin, they don’t need to cook for long. You can also pan-fry them, but baking may make for a prettier cutlet. Also? Less mess.
This isn’t really a recipe, more like a list of instructions. Once you’ve made it once, you’ll get the hang of it and you may just find yourself eating it once a week. Or more — your call! Just don’t toss that stale bread (or stale potato chips…or crackers…)