What do you do after slicing the crust off of three loaves of bread? Making all of those tea sandwiches left us with a lot of crusts! I can’t waste that much food… so I channeled my Panera days and made some croutons. During my senior year of college working at Panera, I perfected the art of crouton making. I had an efficient system for cubing the three-cheese bread, and loved tossing them in the cheese sauce. The best part was sneaking a few as they came hot out of the oven. All of my co-workers would smell them from a distance and come running to steal a cube or two. It has been a long time since sneaking a crouton off the rack, so I really enjoyed sampling my own homemade croutons as they came out of the oven!
Croutons get a bad reputation for those trying to lose weight, and often for good reason. Soaked in butter, smothered in cheese, coated with salt, these can be unassuming calorie bombs. However, these croutons are mini and butter free. They add crunch and a bit of saltiness to salads and soups, spicing up a plain salad without adding too many calories. So crunch away my friends, whether you are using leftover crusts or simply using up a loaf of old bread!
Question: What is your favorite use for leftover bread?
makes a freezer bag of croutons
3 cups cubed bread crusts (or bread), in 1/2 inch pieces
Salt, pepper, garlic powder and oregano to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a cookie sheet with cooking spray. Spread the bread cubes evenly over the large cookie tray. Spray the bread crumbs lightly with cooking spray. Sprinkle lightly with salt pepper, garlic powder and oregano. Bake for 15 minutes, or until lightly crispy. When fresh out of the oven, sprinkle a bit more sea salt. Serve warm or store in a sealed container for future use.