Monday, July 26, 2010

Easy homemade croutons

Yummy note: Wondering what to do with that leftover bread? Don't want to throw it away or take a lot of time making another dish with it in there, then this is your recipe! I love these homemade croutons, as they are nice and crispy, yet tender to the fork when you try and pick them up in your salad. What's worse then trying to get that crouton on your fork and all it does it break into a bunch of tiny pieces or worse yet, like me, if you have a slight clumsy notion, you'll send it shooting across the table. :) This recipe is perfect for avoiding those issues, plus it's quick and easy to make these homemade croutons to add to your meal.

about 3 cups of bread cubes (maybe a half loaf of bread or 6 slices or so) (can use any type of bread, just as long as it is slightly dried out, or if it is a fresher bread still, throw it in the oven at 300-350 degrees for a few minutes to toast up a little before using)
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder or crushed garlic
2-3 tsp assorted flavored herbs - such as oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, or parsley
1/8 to a 1/4 cup grated
Parmesan cheese (if desired for a cheesy crouton)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the bread into cubes, about 1/2 inch to 1 inch sizes. (Again, if bread still seems a bit more soft, toss it in the oven for a few minutes before to start drying it out.) In a baking pan, like a 9x13 cake pan, add melted butter, olive oil, and seasonings. Stir together. Next, in the baking pan, toss bread cubes into butter/oil mixture and lightly coat. Add any other additional seasonings (like salt and pepper) if you wish. Once cubes are evenly and lightly coated, put croutons back into the oven and bake for about 20 minutes until bread is golden and crunchy. Toss cubes several times during baking to ensure even baking of croutons. In the last 5 minutes or so, add the
Parmesan cheese, if desired. Try not to add it too early on, or else it might burn on a bit. Let croutons cool and store in a plastic container or a plastic bag. They last up to about a week unrefrigerated or you can store in the refrigerator to last about 2 weeks.

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