Forget that crapola out of the box. You'll be much happier if you make your own croutons for salads, soups, etc. They're much better, and MUCH cheaper.

Heat oven to 375F.

Toss the cubes of stale bread with the olive oil and Creole seasoning. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet, and bake until golden brown, about 4-5 minutes.

Variations -- You can make plain croutons by omitting the Creole seasoning, or even the olive oil for a low-fat version. For Italian croutons: allow to cool, and toss with one tablespoon of Italian seasoning blend, some granulated or fresh crushed garlic, and a tablespoon or so of grated Parmesan or Romano cheese.

Croutons will keep in an airtight container for about a week.


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Chuck Taggart   (e-mail chuck)