Homemade croutons are far superior to store bought. Just look at the example above. The croutons on the left are homemade, toasty, cheesy, garlicky bits of heaven. The ones on the right are seasoned, salty, hard little bits of bread. There isn't even a contest between the two. And here's the thing--croutons are easy to make. Super easy to make. In fact, I don't know why I don't make them more often--they are so incredibly delicious.
Here's what you need to get started to make Garlic Parmesan Croutons:
Bread--bits and pieces leftover are great, if you don't have enough, just save the pieces in a bag in the freezer,until you do have enough and then thaw the bread to use.
Cooking Spray--(You can use butter or margarine, but I like the ease of using cooking spray, with the added bonus of lower fat content! It doesn't even add a significant amount).
Cut the bread into cubes--1/2 to 1 inch, or whatever your preference is
Spray a skillet (over medium heat) with the cooking spray, then add:
Sprinkle with Garlic Powder
Don't cook it on high, or it will cook too quickly and your croutons will be toast, as in burned toast. You don't see smoke do you? :)
Cook for a couple minutes.
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Stir the bread cubes around frequently until they are golden brown, about 5-7 minutes.
Or you can skip the skillet, place the bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet sprayed with non stick cooking spray. Spray the bread cubes and sprinkle with garlic and Parmesan and put in the oven at 300 degrees for 10-12 minutes until the croutons are golden brown and delicious.
You can also vary the seasonings according to your tastes. Try different herbs and seasonings to match your taste buds or salads.
Or change up the bread, try whole wheat, white, french, sourdough, pumpernickel or whatever you have on hand.
There's nothing quite like a garden fresh salad with toasty, cheesy, garlicky bits of heaven.
Some of my kids think, "Forget the salad, pass the croutons please!"