Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Homemade Croutons

When I think of croutons, I think of my childhood... I was the kid that liked to sneak a handful of croutons from the salad bar when no one was looking! I loved them as a little snack.... regardless or not if they were on top of a salad! But in my adult years, I haven't really seen much of them, I guess I kinda forgot about them... I have just gotten used to adding nuts and seeds to my salads and have neglected the long lost little croutons- that is until now. You have to admit they are a fun little treat... and way better homemade than store bought! Honestly, if you have never had fresh, homemade ones- you MUST try this recipe... you'll thank me later!

I had some left over Ciabatta bread on my countertop the other day and I was thinking of a way it could go to use and not be wasted... at the same time I was desiring a little change to my daily dinner salads that I make- and WHA-LA! Just like that, I found myself making a batch of homemade, crunchy, seasoned, crispy, way-better-than-any-boxed-crouton-you-have-EVER-tried kinda a crouton for dinner. Here's all you need to make your own...

Day old Bread, at least 1/2 a loaf
Grape Seed Oil (or Olive Oil)
sea salt
garlic powder
dried herbs (basil, thyme, oregano, or parsley)

(I seasoned this batch with salt, garlic powder, oregano & thyme)
Make sure they aren't stacked on top of each other for even baking!
SO simple. Cut your bread into cubes, I prefer my croutons a little on the smaller side, (1" x 1") but if you want bigger ones, no one is stopping you! Throw them all in a bowl, drizzle your oil on them (I used Grape Seed Oil but you can use Olive Oil if that's what you cook with). Then season them to your liking with your preferred flavors, toss them well and then spread them in a single layer on a roasting pan or cookie sheet lined with foil. Bake on 350 for 20 - 30 minutes. If you prefer yours softer, go 20, if you like them brown and crunchy and toasted (like me!) you will be closer to 30! Let cool for a few minutes and enjoy! They will store up to 2 weeks in an air-tight container or ziplock bags!

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