Stale Intrigues

It’s been a busy weekend. Saturday, Lane and I packed up the kids and drove them to Long Island so they can spend a week with family before summer vacation is over. Lane had the added bonus of a sore arm, a summer cold, and a million home improvement projects he swears he’s going to get done while doped up on Dayquil. Try arguing with Lane that he needs to rest when he’s on a quest to fix the garage door, I dare you.

Sunday we spent some time with friends celebrating a special little girl’s upcoming first birthday. It was a great day with friends (and this group of friends is like a family I picked for myself), and the birthday girl loved the attention (and cake, and presents- this birthday stuff is fun!). It was nice to get a break from packing, even if the stress is starting to really set in.

It’s busy weekends like these that make me appreciate taking the time to make something at home that I could have obtained in a package from a grocery store shelf. Enter these croutons. They’re so easy to make, and a great way to use up bread that might otherwise go to waste, and they make me want to eat salad. What could be bad? Best of all, you can use whatever you’d like to season them. I like mine garlic-y so I used some garlic powder and garlic salt and a sprinkling of crushed pepper and in with hardly any hands-on time, I had tasty homemade croutons. I like to use day-old bread for this, I think it holds up better to being mixed with oil and bread without getting soggy. You can remove the crusts from the bread before proceeding if you like, but I don’t bother. Also, you could use plain sandwich bread for this, but I find the texture of the finished product to be a little softer and less flavorful than I’d like, so I use French or Italian bread.

Croutons

Ingredients:

  • 4 C. 1/2 inch bread cubes (from a baguette or other crusty bread)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp. melted butter
  • garlic powder, to taste
  • garlic salt, to taste
  • dried parsley, to taste
  • ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Heat the oven to 300 degrees.

Place the bread cubes in a large bowl.

Add the olive oil and melted butter and toss the bread cubes to coat.

Season the bread to taste with the garlic powder, garlic salt, parsley, and pepper (I start with 1/2 tsp. of garlic powder and parsley and 1/4 tsp. of the others).

Toss the bread to coat with the seasoning.

Spread the bread out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.

Bake for 30-50 minutes (total time will depend on how crunchy you like them and the density of the bread used), stirring every 10 minutes.

Remove baked croutons to a cooling rack to cool completely before serving, and store in an airtight container.

Makes 3-4 Cups.

Source: adapted from Annie’s Eats, originally from Savory Sweet Life

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