Friday, August 12, 2011

Homemade Croutons

Today I decided to make some Homemade Croutons.  Since my frugal quest began a few years ago I've tried to look at things differently than I used to.  One of those things is bread.  Not just any bread, but the heels of the bread.  You know, the 2 slices that come with the loaf that no one in the family wants to eat!  The ones that I used to throw away!  (I can't believe I ever did that!)

We go through 2-4 loaves of bread every week and one day a couple years ago I had a bright idea to try to make croutons.  I cut the bread into cubes and froze them until there was enough to make a batch!  I had never done this before, but I figured it was worth a try.  This has wound up being one of my favorite ways of being frugal!  Not only do I use these croutons for salads, but my kids like to eat them for a snack once in awhile.  They're also good to use in soups and to top casseroles.
I also cube up leftover hamburger and hot dog buns to do this with.  This works with pretty much any kind of bread you have.  I've even made it with "day old" artisan bread from Panera Bread!  My husband sometimes gets the Panera Bread at work from a co-worker.  The Tomato Basil is awesome in beef-stock based soups!

Take the left over slices of bread and stack 2-3 pieces together as shown.

Slice bread length wise with a bread knife

Cut bread into cubes

Add bread cubes to a Ziploc freezer bag until ready to use.
In a bowl take some butter, garlic powder and parsley flakes and mix together.  I don't have a specific recipe for this.  I just do it by taste.  I've found that it always takes more butter and garlic then I think it needs!  Melt mixture in microwave.  You could also do this in a saucepan on the stove top.

Spread cubes of bread in a single layer on a baking sheet (I use my pizza pan).  Pour desired amount of butter mixture on the bread and toss lightly coating the bread cubes.

Put in the oven at 225 degrees and stir every 10 minutes.  Bake until the cubes are dry, but  be careful not to burn them.
This is what your finished product will look like!  Enjoy!

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