The first recipe to share comes from my mother-in-law, Anita. She makes delicious homemade croutons that my husband loves to eat (and not just on salad/soup, but just as a snack!!). Since we do not live close enough to just eat hers, I figured I should learn to make them too! And, they turned out easy and DELICIOUS!
Here is her recipe (my small changes follow):
1-2 loaves of French Bread
3 Tbls dried parsley
3 Tbls dried, minced garlic
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 Tbls onion powder
2 Tbls seasoned salt
2 tsp garlic powder
1/4-1/3 cup oil
Preheat oven to 375*
Combine all spices in a small bowl and set aside. Measure out oil and set aside.
“Skin” the French bread. Cut the loaf in half and stand with the flat side on the cutting board. Slice the bread into several 1/2-3/4” slices. Stack the slices and cut crossways into 1/2-3/4” cubes. Repeat for all half loaves.
Layer the cubes on a baking sheet and bake (plain) for about 40 minutes, stirring them every 15 minutes to brown evenly. (May take 2 batches, depending on the amount of cubes) Remove cubes from the oven and allow them to cool for a few minutes.
Put the cubes into a large bowl and slowly stir in the oil, coating all the cubes lightly. Then, add the spices and coat evenly.
Store the croutons in large bags or jars.
One loaf makes approx. 5-6 cups
I didn't really change the recipe much when I made these. I didn't have any onion powder, or minced garlic, so I used a little Italian Seasoning to fill in that gap. If you want lightly seasoned croutons, you can use less of the spices, the amounts here were enough for two large loaves of french bread. Also, (due to my oven or the altitude or something) my bread cubes were crispy within 10 minutes. Be sure to keep a close eye on them while they're cooking in order to not have burnt croutons! One pan at a time is best, I tried to do two (one on top of the other), and the bottom ones got too brown too fast and I was only able to use half of that batch. :-(
These were so easy and are SO yummy, that I don't think I'll buy croutons again! And though I used store-bought French bread this time, once I get brave enough to try some homemade french bread I'll try that for these croutons!
Thanks for the recipe Grandma Honey! (Ethan thinks they're pretty awesome too, I was surprised he didn't eat them all before Lane got home!)