April 22, 2015
Anyone else out there have trouble stabbing croutons? You eat salad with a fork yet a simple topping like croutons is made complicated by working hard for the stab just to have the crouton crumble into four separate, and smaller, pieces. So annoying. Plus, do you know that croutons shouldn’t be that hard? I mean they are bread. They are that hard because there made to last, practically forever. Charged with lots of chemicals to help them last they are really just another processed food that adds empty calories to our otherwise healthy salad.
Even with that being said, you can’t just not use croutons on a salad. I mean, take the Ceasar salad. Are you really only going to do dressing and cheese on top of lettuce? Leaving the croutons off is like cutting corners on an already rounded square. Making my Ceasar salads ahead of time and letting the croutons sit in the salad allow them to soften but that is a delicate balance. You don’t want them mushy – yuck!
I started thinking about making my own croutons a few months ago. It started when, maybe a year ago, my husband got this itch to learn how to make homemade bread. He found a way to make it in our Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 5-1/2-Quart Round French (Dutch) Oven, Cherry. I included a pic of our yellow one so you can know for sure that I am not just promoting something that I don’t have. We use ours all the time, hence why it looks like we never clean it. I swear that we do!!
The bread tastes amazing! We haven’t bought bread in probably six months, although we do buy a lot of flour now! When we make sandwiches it seems to me like we’re eating at Panera or Just Fresh. My little darlings (3 & 2) also love to eat “daddy’s bread” for snack. However, my youngest can’t chew through the crust well so we slice it off for him. At first I was eating his crust as my own little snack until I realized how this was probably adding up. So I simply threw the crust into a zip lock bag and put it in the fridge until we had accumulated enough.
After about two weeks and two loaves of bread I felt like I had a decent amount of bread to whip up my own homemade croutons. We have been receiving about two heads of lettuce in our CSA each week and I figured that I could dress up the salad for free by making croutons. So I looked at a few different recipes and decided to try my own thing.
I cut the crust pieces in small bite size pieces and also used about a quarter of the loaf of bread we currently had.
I mixed up one sauce and put about half the bread pieces into the mixture. Cooked that and then whipped up a second sauce for the rest.
We absolutely loved them! In fact, I had a hard time keeping my kids and husband from simply eating the croutons as they came out of the oven. I placed my leftover croutons in jars and put them in the fridge for next time. So simple and really made the salad exciting and delicious.
Oh, and the best part. The croutons are soft, as they are intended to be. Easy to pick up with your fork and even easier to eat!
- 2.5 cups of diced bread
- 1/2 stick margarine (or butter)
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 Tbl Italian or Parsley
- Melt margarine.
- Mix remaining ingredients.
- Stir in bread.
- Spread onto cookie sheet and cook at 300 for 20 min.
- Stir halfway.
- Serve immediately or save.
- Store leftovers in airtight container in fridge.