Through the work of a few families in our church, our church body receives donations from a local grocery store and Panera Bread. These donations are intended for single moms, the unemployed, underemployed, and finally, the church at large (in that order). Some weeks there are not a lot of donations to go around, and sometimes there are boxes and boxes and boxes and everyone goes home with food. As it happens, we Giedds had quite the collection of bagels in our freezer from this situation. However, bagels for us are more of a bonus. I don't generally buy bagels when I buy groceries so it wasn't exactly a "savings" in our budget. But I want to be a good steward of what God has given to us, so I set out to make these bagels fit into our menus, and more than just bagels and cream cheese (which is a treat now and then, but not exactly healthy for everyday). I wanted to make food that would fill in meals and would therefore save us money.
First, I had two bags of blueberry bagels. For these we decided to make Blueberry Bagel French Toast. Just take your bagels and slice the bagel halves in half once more so they're just around 1/4" thick. This helps tremendously so the bagels can soak up the eggs. Also set out your bagels to dry for a few hours or overnight and that will also aid in soaking up the goodness. Use your own french toast recipe and have at it.
It helped very much that we made these for breakfast on a very snowy morning. The husband and kids devoured these and since I had many bagels, I made extra and stashed them in the freezer for a fast breakfast later.
Next up, cinnamon sugar bagels from Panera. As you can see, we had plenty of these for the purpose, but I think you could also use Cinnamon Raisin bagels. I suppose I cheated with these since this next one is a dessert recipe, since we don't often plan dessert menus. However, this would be totally acceptable for a hospitality dessert (yes, it's that good) and that would save you money. I give you Cinnamon Bagel Bread Pudding.
I used this recipe from Allrecipes for the custard (which I doubled for 6 bagels) but also set out these bagels for a few hours so they would soak up the custard well. Just use the recipe and swap out bagels cut or torn in pieces for the bread. Of all the recipes I came up with, this was my family's favorite.
Lastly, I used onion bagels. These Onion Bagel Pizzas were lunch or a light dinner for us, but you could also add things like pepperoni or sausage and make it heartier for your family. I added some leftover lasagne tomato sauce (you could also use spaghetti sauce or pizza sauce, but I used what I had on hand) and mozarella cheese and sprinkled some oregano over the top.
You can bake these in your conventional oven (I used my parents' toaster oven though) until they're heated through and the cheese is melted.
The kids thought these were great. Also, the portion size for them was just perfect.
So there you have my first three meals with bagels (I might be posting one more if my idea pans out) But I didn't even touch into Bagel Sandwiches! Use plain, onion, or everything bagels for the bread in turkey sandwiches or tuna salad or homemade Egg McMuffins, etc. (I'd probably cut the bagel halves in half again for sandwiches.) When you start to think about it, the possibilities are really endless.