Quick Reminder before I begin – Only 3 days left to enter my April giveaway! Click here for details and to enter.
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Yes, I’m still a procrastinator. I’m working on it, and I’m getting better with some things. But I know me. I will most likely always put off some things until the last possible moment. That’s human nature, and I’m definitely human.
Yesterday, I posted about my yeast failure due to my procrastination followed by my over confident rushing through my bread recipe (click here to read it). My yeast didn’t completely fail, but it underperformed. See?
I hate throwing away perfectly good food, and I had just made a boatload of breadcrumbs, so I made that “more dense than I’d like” bread into yummy garlic, Caesar salad croutons. I found the recipe here and adapted it just a bit for the ingredients I had on hand and to my taste (sorry, family, but my tastes reign supreme and I don’t love spicy-hot). Here’s my version of the recipe.
2 loaves Easy, Peasy Bread (recipe here) or your bread of choice, cut into cubes (Stale bread is perfect for these!)
1/2 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, put through a garlic press (you can mince it if you don’t have a garlic press)
1/2 cup fresh, grated Parmesan blend
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Combine garlic and olive oil in a small bowl, and let sit at room temperature for four or more hours. This allows the garlic flavor to infuse into the olive oil.
When garlic infused olive oil is ready, preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the bread into a rough cube shape (about 1 inch wide). Add the cubes to a large mixing bowl. Add half of the cheese, Italian seasoning, paprika, salt, and pepper to the bread crumbs. Stir to combine. Strain the garlic infused olive oil and drizzle oil (minus garlic pieces) over the bread cubes. Stir gently to ensure all bread cubes are evenly coated.
Transfer the bread cubes to a parchment or foil coated cookie sheet (parchment and foil are optional, but they make clean up easier). Cook in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove, stir bread cubes, and return to oven. Cook for 15 minutes longer. Remove from oven again and stir. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the croutons, and return the pan to the oven for another 10-15 minutes. Cook until the croutons are brown and crunchy. Allow them to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
Here’s my photo step-by-step for your viewing pleasure.
This recipe made about 16 cups of croutons, but, honestly, I can’t tell you exactly how much it made, because my boys kept picking them off the pans as they were cooling. It could have been a little more or less than 16 cups. I guess I’ll never know unless I can keep the boys out of the kitchen next time I make these.
Not only were these were super easy and super good, they also saved me a lot of money! As mentioned in my “Am I REALLY Saving Money?” post about sandwich bread, 2 loaves of bread cost me $1.19. The cost of the olive oil and spices are about 50 cents, so for less than $1.70, I have 15+ cups of croutons. How does that compare to similar croutons found in the grocery store? I found these at Wal-mart yesterday.
My recipe made over 15 cups of croutons which is about 60 1/4-cup servings. That works out to 2.8 cents per serving. Less than 1/3 the cost! Wahoo!!
I’m a pretty happy camper. I recovered from a potentially disastrous bread experience and ended up saving money along the way. Today is a very good day.