Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Repurposing Food (aka Making Stuff out of Leftovers)

So, you've met Thing 1, huh? She is a PIECE, I swear!

Anyway, as she and I've explained, there's many a mouth to feed in this household. I try as hard as I can to make sure nothing goes to waste because it literally pains me when I have to throw something away.

Two of my most common repurposing situations include leftover baguette and leftover sauces. (Usually, these are the things that people throw away immediately if not consumed. No one likes stale bread and what's the point of keeping a sauce if the item it came with is gone?) Most say "garbage", and I'm like, "SCORE!" What's that saying, "one man's trash is another man's treasure?"

Anyway, my leftovers went from this:

Stale bread (cubed)  tossed with a crapload of parm, Newman's Own salad dressing, salt, pepper, parsley flakes, garlic powder, and fresh garlic. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 400, checking mid-bake and giving 'em a little flip.

After you do that, you end up with this:

CROUTONS! Literally everything is so much cuter in a jar, too. Yesssss.

I experimented with this batch, as I usually do every batch. I've yet to find a consistent combination that I am willing to use over and over again…because everything in my pantry and fridge is also inconsistent. But again, if it was, that'd be totally unfun. I usually use some type of oil, mainly extra-virgin olive oil from Trader Joe's or one from my local orchard so everything sticks together. 

Important things to remember:
- Less is more: When adding all of your oil and seasonings, add half of what you've got first, then gradually add the rest. Stuff is pretty potent regardless, you shouldn't ever end up with crappy tasting croutons.

- Make sure that your bread is evenly coated, and that your garlic is not too small (it'll burn otherwise). If you do it right (this is where the mid-bake flip becomes important), you'll end up with nuggets of roasted garlic in there, too. Your breath will stink, but you won't care. Super sweet and roasty, and the friggin best.

- Let croutons fully cool before storing in a airtight container. Also, be sure to taste them to ensure that they're completely dry. If they're not, throw 'em back in the oven for a few more minutes. If you're scared of burning them, leave the croutons in for longer at a lower temperature. What you don't want is a moist center with a crunchy outside. (That's what she said?) The moisture from the center will make your croutons go bad faster. (Even though these won't last a day, I bet, that's still no bueno.)

I didn't give you quantities on purpose, play around with this one. If you like more cheese, add more cheese. If you want no oil involved, don't add it. They'll still be croutons, but some stuff might not stick. Be warned.

So easy, practically free, and from scratch. Can't get much better. Add to your next Caesar salad, or as a snack for the children. OR pulse them in a blender or food processor, and BAM- you've got bread crumbs, WHAT!!! 

There are so many possibilities! 

P.S. I'll post about the sauces next time! I got too juiced about the croutons that I forgot about them! Oopsies!

P.P.S About to post about the giveaway!


  1. I did not know this!!! Genius:) Thanks for sharing.

    1. Let me know if you try it out! :) Thanks for reading!!

  2. Are glass jars the way to go when storing? Cause I love glass jars but never feel like they are worth the headache?

    1. I thought I replied to this, I'm sorry! I definitely wrote back in my head, lol.

      Anyway, not necessarily. We usually stock up on Gladware, but sometimes I store in glass. If Gladware breaks, no biggie, and we can send leftovers with whomever without worrying about getting the container back. In this specific case, and with things that can absorb certain smells- I use glass storage. If I kept these in a ziploc bag or gladware, they would eventually absorb the plastic smell and taste like it. Gross. Same goes for homemade ice cream, any type of cracker or cookie, etc. I always store those in glass. PS These were freezer safe, so I could've (if we didn't eat them all in a day :X) froze them if I wanted! That's a whole extra post though! :)

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