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Incredibly Easy & Delicious Croutons

I haven’t bought a box of croutons from the store in….probably 20 years. I’m not kidding. Mostly because when I realized how easy and cheap it was to make my own, and how much better they were? Oh my gosh…

Here we have (front left going clockwise) 1) Jack Miller Croutons  2) Garlic & Parmesan Cheese Croutons  3) Pizza Style Croutons with Red Pepper and Oregano  4) Roasted Sesame Seeds Croutons

Croutons 4 ways

Croutons 4 ways

A home-made crouton and one one out of the box shouldn’t even share the same name, because they are a galaxy apart in every way.  And for me, they’re practically free. Why pay for something when it’s nearly free made at home?

Croutons

Croutons

I don’t throw away food – unless it’s spoiled or moldy, or truly can’t be re-purposed, then I do. But I save all sorts of ends, bits, slices, wedges, cups of this and that. I wrap whatever it is and pop it into the freezer. You should see my freezer, I can barely open it – that’s the problem with saving food. BUT…I use it up – I really do in every day cooking and also with cooking projects – you would be amazed at what I can pull out of a freezer.

And with bread – especially bread – I cut up left over bread into little cubes and pop them into a freezer bag, then down the road I use it for bread crumbs or croutons. That’s another thing I haven’t bought in decades, bread crumbs. I even take home dinner rolls from restaurants if no one else wants them…this is especially true with Olive Garden. Those bread sticks make awesome croutons.

When I decided to do a crouton post to publish with the Fresh Tomato Soup – I looked in my freezer to see what I had on-hand…and look what I found! And these were just near the top…(Lordy knows what’s buried underneath and I’m afraid to look.)  This basket is big, it’s hard to tell with the photo but it’s about 10″ by 16″ basket and that’s a lot of bread cubes…which turned into incredible croutons.

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Croutons

Croutons

Simply mix your bread cubes with either olive oil or melted butter and season with whatever strikes your fancy -then bake.

I melt the butter in the microwave (I use about 1/4 stick for a large bag of bread cubes), then I season the butter itself, then pour the butter into the zip lock bag and shake it up.  Bake at 375F on a foil lined baking sheet, making sure they’re all spread out. I bake them 10 minutes, check on them, turn them over and bake an additional 10 minutes…maybe more depending on the moisture in the bread and size of the cube.

Be prepared though – many of your croutons will get eaten up before you have a chance to top them in the salad, on your casserole, in your soup or stew. It’s a fact…so you may want to make a few extra.

I even place these out to snack on with a cold beer or glass of wine. It’s really a perfect nibble.

Please try these at home! You will never buy a store bought crouton again.

Cheers!

3 replies »

  1. we learned recently to cut the croutons and then dry them (after years of doing it backwards). as you say, any leftover bread product works fine. for the last several months diane has been making the “artisan bread in five minutes a day” (there’s a book) and this homemade stuff has no preservatives and therefore, a very short shelf life. rarely is this a problem because it is so incredibly good that the real trick is not eating the whole loaf immediately. a couple weeks ago the dough in the fridge was getting near it’s life expectancy, so we had to get rid of the already baked stuff in the cupboard. it was a hearty rye with lots of caraway etc. diane cut it up to croutons and dried it, expecting to hold it for stuffing, salads, etc and eventually build up a reserve to use at thanksgiving. ha ha ha,,, you nailed it when you said this is good for snacks and almost anything else. it was gone in no time. keep up the great work, i love your “food lovers,,, ” thanks

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    • Thank you!! – and…yes, we use up lots of bread cubes for stuffing on Thanksgiving. I have really weird satisfaction re-purposing food. You won’t believe it but I’ve done the artisan bread…for several weeks. First, I captured wild yeast, then got the mother dough going…and pulled off a bit and baked fresh bread a few times a week. It was heavenly. I didn’t use caraway seeds..but you’ve reminded me just now of a fantastic caraway seed/phillo dough/swiss cheese appetizer that I must make soon and get it up on the site. Thank you for the comment!! and cheers to you & Diane and your food adventures. (Also, not sure I told you the story about your impression on me with tomatillos).

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      • i found it! i love that you “captured” wild yeast. i have visions of you running around with a butterfly net chasing invisible yeast spores. ,,, and what’s this about tomatillos?

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