Homemade Croutons

I purchased a loaf of Italian bread, but you could easily make a smaller batch of croutons with leftover bread. Ingredients: bread, butter, olive oil and spices.

Because I am using an entire loaf of bread, I have melted one stick of butter and I have stirred in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Reduce this mixture if you are working with a smaller quantity of bread.

To prepare the bread, first slice your bread similarly to the thickness of a typical slice of sandwich bread.
Taking 3-4 slices at a time, cut the bread into 1" slices.

Turn the slices 90* and finish slicing the bread into 1" cubes!

I find it easier to work with smaller batches, it helps to evenly coat all of the bread cubes.

Drizzle the butter and oil mixture over the cubes, and mix thoroughly.

Mmmm, your cubes will look just as yummy as these! (Not saturated, just coated!)

Go ahead, eat a few... just don't eat too many or you'll have fewer croutons to enjoy later!

After you've finished taste testing your buttery cubes, add some of your favorite spices. I've added my ol' stand by of Good Seasons Italian salad dressing mix AND some dried Rosemary- I definitely recommend the Rosemary!!!

Spread an even layer in the bottom of a pan. Bake at 375* for 10 minutes, flip all of your half crispy croutons and bake for another 8-10 minutes. Keep a close eye on your crisping croutons- especially during the second half of the baking!

I prefer 2 metal 9x13's so that I don't accidentally toss half of my croutons off of the pan when I flip them half way through baking.

These croutons are a perfect addition to any salad! We are BIG salad eaters in our home, so I thought that I'd share some of my favorite salad add-ins.

Romain lettuce (best current price is $3.99/2 pound bag of pre-washed, pre-cut leaves at Gordon Food Service).

Cheddar, mozzarella, feta, diced eggs, bacon crumbles, grilled chicken, sliced steak, thinly sliced deli meat, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrot slices, sliced strawberries, dried cranberries or cherries, canned pineapple chunks, canned mandarin orange slices and, of course... yummy croutons!

And be sure to try my favorite 'homemade' salad dressing!