Saturday, March 9, 2013

Simple Homemade Croutons

I started really getting into cooking by making simple things from scratch that you typically buy from the store. One of these is making homemade croutons. It’s way cheaper than buying them in the store. Fewer chemicals going in your body and they taste so much better than what comes from a box or package.

And besides all that good stuff, it’s a great way to use up stale or older bread. You can throw these crunchy nuggets of joy on salads, in soups or eat by themselves  (I confess--I do this part very often as they are very addictive).   

 This is such a simple and easy recipe. After you try this, you’ll never buy store bought croutons again. Get ready for a Foodgasmic crunch!

Makes about 2 -3 cups croutons

1 baguette (white or wheat sliced bread is fine too), sliced and cut into bite sizes pieces (about 2-3 cups worth)
5-7 tablespoons olive oil 
3-5 tablespoons Italian seasonings (or your favorite dried herb blend)
½- 1 teaspoon salt  (use less if your dried herb blend contains salt)
½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

·       Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
·       Toss bread cubes with olive oil, seasoning, slat and pepper until evenly coated.
·       Put bread onto one or two cookie sheets (make sure they have room to spread out).
·       Bake for 15 minutes and check to see if they are dry, crispy, and golden brown.
·       Stir the croutons around and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until done.
·       Store croutons in airtight container or ziplock baggie.

ALTERNATIVE- For spicy croutons, replace the Italian seasonings with 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon paprika (or smoked paprika), add ½ teaspoon more of black pepper (1 teaspoon total) and a dash of your favorite hot sauce (I used Cholula Chipotle hot sauce). Follow the rest of the recipe the same way. These are good on top of the Kale And Garbanzo Bean Stew.

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