Homemade Croutons

When we first got married I would tell my husband what I was making for supper and he would give me that long suffering look that men have been giving women for centuries and ask, "Why don't you just buy ____?" Insert things like biscuits, gravy, salad dressing, pizza crust, pizza sauce, etc. Bless his heart. I've got several reasons for why I like to make a lot of stuff from scratch.

1. Number one it tastes better.  Enough said.
2. I can control the amount of salt. A big one for me as salt makes me swell like Moby Dick.
3. I enjoy it. I like that satisfaction of being able to just take a few ingredients and make what it is I want on a moment's notice. It gives me a pioneer woman's sense of self sufficiency. As we've discussed in the past, I'm strange and have read way too many Little House on the Prairie type books.
4. It's usually cheaper. And I like being economical and making a dollar stretch till it screams.
5. It's easy.  Nine times out of ten it's so easy you're ready to bang your head against a wall and ask why were you paying an extra $2, $5, $10 dollars for something you could make yourself for pennies.

I could go on, but I think you get the drift. The media and society have made cooking out to be some sort of super hard exercise that takes a cordon bleu cooking education to even be somewhat proficient. I cry nay! Cooking is as hard as you make it, but entire empires have been built around making women feel like they don't have the time or the knowledge to cook and cook well.

*this is me shaking my finger at you corporate suits*

Now, I will agree. Sometimes I just want a frozen pizza. I just want some mac and cheese and can't be bothered to make a cheese sauce, boil noodles, and then wait an hour for it to bake. But I can if I want to and that's the point.

Ok, all that blather to give you a crouton recipe. The first time I made these I got "the look" and my husband was of the opinion that they couldn't be that much better than store bought. He admitted his wrongness and perks up every time I make them.

This is really more of a technique and not a recipe I suppose. It's very easy to adapt and change and flavor to suit your taste. Word to the wise, this slap dash slinging of ingredients is how I cook normally so this why you probably won't be getting a biscuit recipe out of me because I eyeball all the ingredient amounts.

Homemade Croutons

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

French bread cubed into bite sized pieces. (It helps if it's stale but fresh works as well)
Olive Oil
Garlic Powder
Italian Seasoning
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Place your cubed French bread into a bowl. Melt your butter, for about half a loaf of French bread I would use a couple of tablespoons, and pour over your bread. Drizzle a few more tablespoons of olive oil over the bread and stir to make sure all the pieces are slightly coated. You don't want them damp and mushy, just slightly coated (this is where stale bread comes in handy).

Now season with Garlic Powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. If you need measurements probably about a 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, and a pinch of salt and pepper. I usually put about half the seasoning on, stir, and then season a second time to make sure all the pieces of bread get seasoned.

Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, and put your soon to be croutons on the sheet. You don't want them touching or overlapping, they should be in a single even layer.

Place in the oven and it should take about 10 to 15 minutes to toast stirring about halfway through. Times will vary by oven.  The biggest tip I can give when making these is DON'T LEAVE THE KITCHEN. They toast really quickly and can go from sorta brown to black in a just a few minutes.  Ask me how I know. 

These can be made ahead of time and kept in an airtight container for about a week.

I will not be held responsible if your family comes to like these better than chips. Even my baby likes them.

Have a wonderful Tuesday my lovelies!


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