Almost any time of the year, I enjoy a grilled chicken salad for lunch or dinner. Sometimes both! We will marinate some chicken in Italian salad dressing, then throw it on the grill. Cut it into strips and throw it into a salad. Justin and I like very different salads, but the one thing we can agree on is having croutons in the salad.
I prefer more of a house salad with shredded cheddar cheese, a hard-boiled egg, and Italian dressing. Justin prefers a Greek-style salad with either mozzarella or feta cheese, olives if we have them and Greek dressing. We have always bought the Italian-Style croutons from the grocery store. One day, I decided to try making some at home.
We make our own homemade bread often, so I was able to use up some of that. Most of the time, we can finish off a loaf of bread in a couple of days, but others, it just doesn’t happen. So, rather than throwing it out when it eventually gets moldy, I used it to make some croutons.
In the end, the croutons didn’t take very long. And, since we used almost an entire loaf, we made enough for many salads over the next few days. Making them at home was also much cheaper than the store-bought and we can control exactly what goes in them.
The boys had a bit of fun helping with this one because it works best to use your hands to mix the oil and seasonings onto the bread cubes. Of course, any chance that momma allows them to get messy is always fun!
When the boys help make food, they are more likely to eat it. They’ll sometimes eat a bit of a salad, but their favorite part is the croutons. I made them the deal that they only got to eat these if they ate all of the lettuce too. It kind of worked. Not perfect, but got them to eat a small amount of salad!
Step by Step
Preheat the oven to 350F. Slice the bread into cubes about 1-inch square. If you like your croutons flat, you can cut them in half after making them squares. We didn’t have a problem with the square shape.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the oil with the seasonings. You can add whichever seasonings you prefer at this time. We use Italian seasoning and garlic powder for our croutons. Add the bread to the bowl and gently mix it all together. I find using hands works best so you can be careful not to tear up the bread too much.
Lay the oil-soaked bread out in a single layer on a baking sheet. If it doesn’t all fit, you may have to do multiple batches of baking.
Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until they are golden brown and crunchy. Stir at least once to turn most of them over as they cook.
- 1 loaf French bread (slightly stale)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Chop bread into 1 inch cubes
- Mix oil and seasonings in a large bowl
- Add bread to bowl and gently mix to cover bread (using hands works best)
- Lay out on a baking sheet in one layer
- Bake about 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crunchy
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