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Pinchin' Pennie$ in the Kitchen: 4 Everyday Uses for the Extra Cereal in Your Cupboard (FN1760)

If you find yourself with a number of half-empty cereal boxes in your cupboard, you are not alone. Maybe the members of your household didn’t like a certain variety of cereal, or maybe you bought too many boxes when cereal was on sale. Now you need to know what you can do with the rest of the box before the cereal gets stale. Don’t worry; you have plenty of ways to use all of your cereal while saving money and reducing waste.

Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., Food and Nutrition Specialist

Allison Dhuyvetter, Dietetic Intern, NDSU


If you find yourself with a number of half-empty cereal boxes in your cupboard, you are not alone. Maybe the members of your household didn’t like a certain variety of cereal, or maybe you bought too many boxes when cereal was on sale. Now you need to know what you can do with the rest of the box before the cereal gets stale. Don’t worry; you have plenty of ways to use all of your cereal while saving money and reducing waste.

Think Outside the Box

Use as a bread crumb substitute.

You do not need to buy breadcrumbs, and day-old bread is not your only option for a substitute. You also can use leftover cereal. Crush unsweetened cereal varieties such as Cheerios, or corn or bran flakes to use in place of breadcrumbs. Easily crush cereal by placing it in a plastic bag and crushing to the desired texture with a rolling pin. Use 2 cups of crushed cereal in meatloaf or to coat chicken breasts or French toast sticks. You can sprinkle ½ cup crushed cereal on top of hash browns or a casserole.

Stir cereal into pancake batter.

Mix the pancake batter and then stir in some cereal. Cinnamon, chocolate, peanut butter or fruit-flavored cereals work well as additions to pancake battter. You can crush the cereal or leave it whole for bigger chunks. You also can mix cereal into waffle or muffin batter.

Sprinkle on yogurt, pudding or ice cream.

If you’re looking for a little added crunch with yogurt, pudding or ice cream, try cereal. Instead of using granola, make a parfait by layering ½ cup whole cereal with yogurt and cut-up fruit such as strawberries or peaches. Cereal also can be a good topping for pudding or ice cream; use ½ cup or less per serving. Experiment with crisp rice, all-bran or corn-based cereals.

Make a snack mix.

Snack mixes can be a healthful, easy option for using extra cereal. Check out the “Make Your Own Snack Mixes” handout at www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/foods/fn1753.pdf to learn more.

 

Key to abbreviations    c. = cup • oz. = ounce • tsp. = teaspoon • Tbsp. = tablespoon • lb. = pounds • g = grams • mg = milligrams

Banana Nut Muffins

Banana Bran Muffins

½ c. butter, softened

2/3  c. sugar

2 eggs

3 medium ripe bananas, mashed

½ c. buttermilk

1½ c. all-purpose flour

1½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

4 c. bran cereal or bran cereal with raisins

½ c. chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add the eggs, bananas and buttermilk. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into creamed mixture just until moistened. Fold in the cereal and pecans, if desired. Batter will bechunky from the cereal. Fill greased muffin cups. Bake at 350 F for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for five minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Serve warm.

Makes 14 servings. Each serving has 230 calories, 10 g fat, 5 g protein, 32 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber and 320 mg sodium.

Chicken Nuggets

Crunchy Chicken Nuggets

3 c. multigrain Cheerios cereal, crushed

½ c. Parmesan cheese, grated

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. seasoned salt

¼ tsp. paprika

1/8 tsp. garlic powder

3 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted

1 Tbsp. milk

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1- by 1-inch pieces)

Heat oven to 400 F. Line cookie sheet with foil. In medium bowl, stir together crushed cereal, cheese, salt, seasoned salt, paprika and garlic powder. In small bowl, stir together melted butter and milk. Dip chicken into butter mixture, then roll in cereal mixture to coat evenly. Place on cookie sheet. Bake nine minutes; turn nuggets over. Bake about eight minutes longer or until coating is light golden brown and chicken has reached 165 F.

Makes five servings (five chicken nuggets per serving). Each serving has 250 calories, 12.5 g fat, 25 g protein, 15 g carbohydrate and 750 mg sodium.

Confetti Pancakes

Confetti Buttermilk Pancakes

2 c. buttermilk (or substitute reconstituted dry buttermilk)

2 eggs, beaten

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. baking powder

2 Tbsp. sugar

1¾ c. all-purpose flour

1½ Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted

½ c. Fruity Pebbles cereal

Preheat griddle to 375 F. Mix buttermilk and eggs together. In separate bowl, stir dry ingredients together (or use a sifter). Stir in buttermilk and egg mixture. Add melted butter and mix. Stir in cereal. Drop from ladle onto hot griddle, cooking each side about two minutes or until light brown.

Makes four servings. Each serving has 360 calories, 8 g of fat, 15 g protein, 55 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber and 20 percent of the daily recommendation for calcium.

Pear & Yogurt Parfait

Pear Yogurt Crunch

1 small pear, chopped and divided

1 tsp. honey

½ tsp. cinnamon or nutmeg (optional)

¾ c. fat-free plain yogurt

1/3 c. bran flake cereal

½ Tbsp. walnuts, chopped

Stir half of pear and all honey, cinnamon or nutmeg, if desired, into yogurt. Top with cereal, walnuts and remaining half pear.

Makes one serving. Each serving has 250 calories, 3 g fat, 11 g protein, 52 g carbohydrate, 7 g fiber and 240 mg sodium.

For more information about nutrition, food safety and health, visit this website.

The NDSU Extension Service does not endorse commercial products or companies even though reference 
may be made to trade names, trademarks or service names.

May 2015

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