Tag Archives: leftovers

This Cornbread Pudding Use Leftovers

leftover cornbread pudding
Cornbread pudding in baking dish
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I have shared several recipes using cornmeal, because our early ancestors definitely used cornmeal frequently. No doubt the 17th and early 18th century families I am talking about recently ate cornbread–probably frequently. Did our waste-hating grandmothers make cornbread pudding? I don’t know, but it is such a simple recipe that it would not show up in cookbooks of the period.

What did they do with leftover cornbread? Or with families of 10 children maybe they had no such a thing as leftovers. But in today’s smaller families, a full pan of cornbread may not disappear during the first meal where it appears.

Leftover cornbread pudding to the rescue. My husband and I had this for breakfast and it was delicious and filling. Feel free to scatter some fruit over the top, or include bits of meat (crisp bacon, ham) in the mix. I love dishes with the flexibility that this one has. Make it your own. (And let us know how you have adapted it.)


Cornbread Pudding

Leftover cornbread makes a delish dish for breakfast.
Course Breakfast
Keyword corn bread, leftover, breakfast
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 2
Author Vera Marie Badertscher


  • two pieces of cornbread
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • dash salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • cinnamon or spice blend


  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Beat eggs, add milk, salt, sugar, and salt and whisk together.
  • Butter inside of oven-proof dish, capacity 2-2 1/2 cups.
  • Break cornbread in bite-size chunks and scatter in bottom of dish.
  • Pour the milk/egg mixture over the cornbread.
  • Sprinkle spices over top.
  • Bake until you can insert a knife and there is no liquid in the center. (About 1/2 hour)


cornbread pudding

One serving of cornbread pudding

Don’t throw out that almost-stale cornbread!
You can make cornbread pudding for breakfast, or use it for dessert.
This recipe makes two servings of cornbread pudding.  It is simple to multiply the recipe to feed as many as you like–or as much as you can make with your leftover cornbread.  Baking times will depend on the size of the dish that you are using.

Cottage Pie–or Is it Shepherd’s Pie?

Cottage pie, shepherd’s pie, pasties, pot pie.. the list is endless. Earlier, I shared a recipe for chicken pot pie. Pot pie is a mixture of vegetables and meat baked in a casserole with a pie crust topping.

While many people are looking for royalty among their ancestors, I have had to content myself with peasants and yeomen.  It is from peasants in the British Isles that we get the name Cottage Pie–a dish meant to combine a bunch of leftovers in an easy-to-make comfort food.

Our innovative great- great- great grandmothers found many ways to serve up the meat and veggies baked in a crust of some sort.  One favorite in the British isles particularly is Shepherd’s pie, which has become a catch all for casseroles topped with mashed potatoes.  However if it is not made with lamb, it is not a shepherd’s pie.  Cows don’t have shepherds.  Put beef in with the vegetables and you get COTTAGE PIE. And add bread crumbs on top of the mashed potatoes and you have Cornwall pie.

Cottage Pie or Shepherd’s Pie are great ways to use up leftovers, including leftover mashed potatoes. But if you want some Cottage Pie and don’t have leftover mashed potatoes, this recipes includes instructions for starting with raw potatoes.

As I so often do, I scanned the Internet and then came back to my old, ragged, falling apart Joy of Cooking cookbook.

As far as I can see, the only MUSTS in this recipe are mashed potatoes, some kind of meat, some kinds of vegetables, ad seasonings that include nutmeg. It is one of those recipes that is very open to interpretation.  For instance, I include cheese in the mashed potatoes. Some recipes line the entire dish with mashed potatoes.

Cottage pie without crust

Cottage pie divided in several pans for freezing, before adding the mashed potato crust.

Note: The picture you see of my several pans of cottage pie reflect the fact that I made 1 12 recipe because I wanted to freeze some small containers to give to someone who had recently come out of the hospital.  In the spirit of Cottage Pie, I used what I had on hand, which resulted in a thinner coating of both filling and mashed potatoes than I normally would have.

Also, this emphasizes the point that not only is Cottage Pie a supreme comfort food, it is easily freezable for future days when the cook needs the comfort of having a meal ready to eat with some warming up.

Cottage Pie

Serves 6
Prep time 1 hour
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 1 hour, 30 minutes
Allergy Milk, Wheat
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Serve Hot
Region British
From book Joy of Cooking, 1991
The ultimate comfort food is Shepherd's Pie or Cottage Pie depending on what meat you use.


Potato Topping

  • 1 1/2lb potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Butter (I admit I use much more)
  • 1 cup cheese (grated)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)


  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1-2 carrots (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 celery stalk (cleaned, peeled and chopped)
  • 1lb ground beef or chopped cooked beef
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 3/4 cups beef or vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Filling (Optional)

  • 1 onion (medium, chopped)


  • 2 tablespoons butter


1. Put peeled, quartered potatoes in cool water in pan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Cook until fork tender.
2. Scoop out and set aside 1/2 cup of cooking water before draining potatoes.
3. Mash potatoes with fork or potato masher (preferably not mixer or blender), adding the cooking water, butter, cheese, and salt and pepper.
4. In heavy skillet, brown ground beef if not cooked. Remove from pan and pour off any excess grease.
5. Add vegetable oil and cook the chopped vegetables. Stir back in the meat . Sprinkle flour over, and stir and cook for a couple of minutes. Stir in Stock and seasonings. Reduce to low and cook until thickened.
6. Pour into 9" pie plate or baking dish. Spread the mashed potatoes on top, scoring with fork, or making peaks with the fork. Scatter bits of butter over the top.
7. Bake until the potatoes are browned and dish heated through--30 to 35 minutes.
8. If freezing, let cool slightly. Wrap tightly in aluminum foil, cool in refrigerator, then when cold transfer to freezer.

Pie Cookies from Perfect Pie Crust

Among the things those ancestors who haunt my kitchen keep telling me–“Don’t throw away perfectly good food!” Following the waste-not-want-not philosophy of all those lovely ladies in my family, who never allowed a leftover to go to waste, we don’t toss the scraps of pie dough after rolling out the pie, instead we get creative with pie cookies.

Look at all those scalloped edges that are going to be trimmed. Where will that excess dough go?

Pie crust pastryrolled out

Of course when you are making several pie crusts at once, you can shove the bits and pieces to the side and hope you have enough to make another crust, but re-rolling the crust too many times is going to degrade the flakiness quotient.

Mini pie plates

Mother’s mini pie plates

Mother had a couple of small pie tins that she used to make mini-pies for the mini-people at our holiday feasts–you know, the ones who sat at the kitchen table, before they graduated to the grown up table with linens and silverware. (I put a measuring cup beside the mini pie pans to give you perspective.) And if you have mini tins, you might make a mini pie.

But following in the footsteps of the frugal forebears, I gather up all the little pieces, roll them gently out one more time, and make pie cookies.  Lots of people do this, but everybody seems to have a different name. What do you call the little treats you make with leftover dough?

This is definitely time to get creative.   You can use regular cookie cutters, or just use whatever is on hand. Make them thin, because they’e going to puff up, and they’ll be tenderer if they’re thin.


Cutting Pie Cookies

Cutting Pie Cookies With Whatever You Have

No need to grease the cookie sheet. There’s plenty of shortening in the dough.  You might want to use parchment, however, if you are using sticky fillings that might ooze out.

Many shapes of Pie Cookies

Get creative with shapes and toppings or fillings of Pie Cookies

In this picture you can see some of the additions I used this time.  The small dish with a brush has some milk to brush on the tops so the pastry won’t look–well–pasty.

I keep a sprinkler jar of cinnamon sugar around for when I have an urge for cinnamon toast, and this is my favorite topping for pie cookies. (I add some powdered cocoa to my cinnamon and sugar.)

I always have leftover colored sugar and sprinkles left from cookie decorating marathons with my grandchildren. This time I used some blue sugar, for a strange little cookie that reminds me of a lava lamp.  

I usually use some fruit jam for a tiny tart. But dear, dear, I was out of jam–so I tried Nutella®.  This is one of those foods that it is okay to eat even though your grandmother never heard of it.  Chocolate hazlenut spread. Beyond delicious.

As you see, I tried lots of different shapes. I neglected to make a small square, which is folded over into a triangle with jam in the middle. But despite all the possibilities of carefully sculpted shapes, my favorite thing is to just chop off an irregular piece that is left from the edge of the pie and leave the shape as is.  Then you can play “what does this look like?” as you nibble.


Pie Cookies make an atoll of islands

Pie Cookies make an atoll of islands

Bake the pie cookies in a 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, depending on how well your oven heats and what kind of pan you are using.  Watch carefully after ten minutes because they can go from perfectly browned to burnt in seconds. This is one time when that light bulb inside the oven can really come in handy, so you don’t have to keep opening the door.

Here are a few of the cookies. (We ate the rest as soon as they came out of the oven smelling all floury and buttery and sugary). The Nutella is a real winner, by the way.

Finished pie cookies

Finished idiosyncratic pie cookies

Pie cookies will always be delicious if you have a delicious pie crust recipe to start with, and of course now that you know about the Perfect Pie Crust, you definitely will make champion pie cookies. In the spirit of fairness, I have to mention the pie challenge throw down that came from Kris Bordessa in Hawaii, with her similar but not identical heritage recipe for pie crust at Attainable Sustainable. Feel free to compare our pie crusts for your pie cookies.

And do share your own creative uses for leftover pie dough. But never, never throw it away!