Sunday, July 26, 2009

Waste not, want not

My children will not eat the heels of a loaf of bread. Occasionally I get creative when making PB&J, and I face the heel inward, tricking the little monsters into eating their sandwiches. But those little people are crafty, and I'm afraid they'll catch on to my scheme, so I have taken to collecting bread heels in my freezer. I can't bear to throw perfectly good food away. (And because I know you're going to ask, I don't eat sandwiches at lunch, I eat leftovers. No heels for me, either.)

Eventually, all this saving leads me here (and keep in mind this is about half of what I had in the freezer):

What to do? Hubby gave me the idea of making croutons! (Forgive the picture below. I was holding a wiggly toddler.) I stacked my heels about 2 or 3 high on a cutting board, and sliced through them with a pizza cutter, making crouton-sized squares. Then I spread out the croutons on a wire rack and let them get a little hard & stale. (That's an important step, if you like crunchy croutons!) I had to wait a couple of hours.

Next, I put the stale bread cubes in a bowl, poured some free (after sale & coupons) dressing on them, lidded the bowl, and shook like mad! (The kids got a kick out of that!)

After putting my cubes on a cookie sheet, I baked them in the oven at 350 for about 10-12 minutes, opening the oven a couple of times to turn the cubes, preventing burning. After letting them cool, I stored them in an airtight (garage sale find) container. Now I have "free" croutons to go with my garden cukes and tomatos that are coming in right now. I confess that I was a little puzzled about the color of my croutons - they're darker than the store-bought kind. But then I slapped my forehead - aha! - we only eat whole wheat bread! Of course my croutons are darker!

Below, you can see Joey holding the freezer bag full of bread crumbs we made from the other half of the heels. I just threw the rest of my bread in a food processor and gave it a quick buzz. "Free" breading for recipes!

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