Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Parmesan Basil Croutons

Messy Messy Fail - At at our playground date yesterday, we met at a location about 25 minutes from our house, so I packed a picnic lunch for the boys and I.  I had brought some yummy fresh strawberries with a huller to get rid of the green stem without throwing half the berry away.  Sure enough, that strawberry huller fell onto the picnic blanket unbeknownst to me and I knelt down directly on it.  One of the moms with us happens to be a health teacher, when she saw my boo boo her response was, "Oh my".

Tidy Victory -  Three stitches and a tetanus shot later from Urgent Care, I am all set on the straight path toward healing.  The cut was not as bad as I initially thought, but the doctor recommended some stitches for a neat and tidy heal.  If you do have an Urgent Care location in your area, they are FANTASTIC for somewhat-emergency visits if your care doesn't require your regular doctor or an ER trip.  I was in and out of that place in a little over an hour, which would have been several had I gone to our local ER.  I even got to watch some Love It or List It and received a complimentary bottle of red Gatorade for my queasiness (I'm a total wuss, it's embarrassing).

This may be one of the most common sense blog posts you have ever read.  You may start reading it and say to yourself, "Myself, I've known this for decades, I don't need to read a blog post about this."  If you are that person - it's okay to close out the window, I'm not offended.

However, if you are saying to yourself, "What?  Make my own croutons?  Why would I do that?  How do I do that?" like I did a few naive years ago, read on my friend.

Let me tell you that with food items that you have around your house just WAITING to be thrown away, you can create the most delicious, crunchy and tasty croutons.  You will NEVER buy them at the grocery store ever again.  That is, unless, you are having a crouton emergency and you need them immediately as this does take a few minutes to accomplish.  

If you are anything like me, I find it very easy to buy a bag of hamburger or hotdog rolls, use a few, but the remainder get lost in the back of my fridge.  They spend weeks in there sometimes, not moldy but no longer fresh.  Well folks, here is the solution to using that old bread - homemade parmesan basil croutons!

To make your own mouthwatering, cheesy croutons, here is what you need:
  • Bread, stale is best but you can use fresh, too (any will do, seriously, except tortillas, I've never tried this with tortillas)
  • 1/3 c. of olive oil
  • 1/2 c. of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp. of granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp. of dried basil
Yummy, yummy, yummy!  The garlicky goodness is about to begin.  My husband loves to munch on these in the kitchen while I'm making dinner, or when they are hot and fresh out of the oven!

Now here is what you do:
  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

  • In a medium size bowl, mix together the parmesan cheese, garlic and dried basil.  

  • Using a sharp cerated knife, cut up your bread into your desired crouton size.  I usually slice it up to 1-inch size cubes.  Sometimes if I am building a more rustic looking salad, I'll just tear the chunks of bread.  Be careful if you are cutting really stale bread, the knife can slip quite easily!  I say the staler the better, but you can also use fresh bread which will turn out crispy on the outside but soft on the inside.

Today's croutons were made from old hot dog rolls, I always have tons of these left over.
  • After all of your bread is cut up, put it on a large cookie sheet in a single layer.  This isn't like baking french fries where they need space - put them all on there.  Unless they are overflowing off of the cookie sheet, then you may want to make a second batch on another sheet.

  • Drizzle your 1/3 c. olive oil over the cut up bread and give it a nice toss with your hands.   I sometimes even swipe a handful of bread crumbs in the empty measuring cup to soak up the last of the olive oil and throw them back on the cookie sheet.

  • Sprinkle the cheese, garlic and basil mixture over the cut up bread and give another toss to make sure everything is coated.

  • Place the cookie sheet in the oven for about 15 minutes.  If you like your croutons crunchier, keep them in a bit longer.  Just watch and gauge as the croutons toast up.
  • When toasted to your liking, remove the cookie sheet from the oven and let completely cool.

  • Serve on a crisp salad or toss a few in your soup in place of crackers.  Delicious!
This post gives you the know-how so you never have to throw old bread away again (unless it's moldy, of course).  So not only are you saving money by not having to buy prepackaged croutons (which can be expensive!) but ALSO by using up all of your bread products floating around the house.  Seriously people, I've used every type of bread imaginable except tortillas as mentioned above, or cornbread for that matter, but I'm sure that would be delicious, too. 

Bake these babies up and let me know how they turned out.  Even my toddler eats these and he only likes fish sticks!  

Linking up with......

My Pinterventures

A Peek Into My Paradise


Sherry Nappa said...

These look so delicious! Granulated garlic is one of my favorite ingredients. I love to cook with it. Thanks for sharing with us at Merry Monday:-)

Love My Mess said...

Hi Sherry, no problem thanks for the party! Garlic is the tastiest I feel :)

Old Fat Guy said...

These would be so nice to have around! Good recipe and tip.

The Old Fat Guy

Love My Mess said...

HI OFG, thanks for stopping by! Seriously I hate wasting bread, and it's perfect to use for croutons when it's stale!!! :)