Protect the Pantry: Croutons

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Last week I posted an introduction to my “Protect the Pantry” series. If you didn’t have a chance to read it, please do so by CLICKING HERE!

The goal of this series is to create dialogue and conversation around food waste. There as so many ways we can grocery shop in our own kitchens and create food and meals with items we already have. I also want to encourage you to recycle or re purpose foods you might otherwise toss out.

Recently I purchased a loaf of Italian bread. I’m not sure why, but I did. By the end of the week i’d used only half the loaf, with no intention of using the rest. As I was sitting there meal planning for the week I wanted to find a way to re purpose this slightly stale bread.

Then I remembered, there’s almost no better way to re purpose bread than using it for croutons. Here are 4 simple steps:

Step 1: Tear or cut leftover bread to bite sized cubes.

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Step 2: Toss in olive oil, melted butter, or a combination of both — being sure not to saturate the bread.

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Step 3: Season — I typically use Italian seasoning and Parmesan cheese but be sure to try your own flavor combination.

Step 4:Toast in a 400°F oven for 5-10 minutes until your desired crispiness! Enjoy on top your salad or as a snack! Store in an airtight container. 

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I decided to base my weekly meals around ingredients that I could use in multiple recipes and that used ingredients I already had in my pantry and fridge. I settled on a Black and Blue salad as a backdrop for my croutons.

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My salad was inspired by Creme de la Crumb. I used romaine lettuce, skirt steak, caramelized onions, tomatoes, avocado, and croutons. I topped with Honest Fare’s Guitless Blue Cheese Dressing

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Sweet Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

I love salads, but I’m not much of a bottled dressing fan. I’ve always heard people rave about their love of ranch, or caesar… but my go to salad dressing is a vinaigrette.

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My sweet cilantro lime vinaigrette is a sweet dressing with just enough citrus to add a distinct flavor. Try this vinaigrette with a salad made of romaine lettuce, sweet corn, avocados, tomatoes and fried corn tortilla strips.


Sweet Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

Total Time: 5 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • Juice of one lime
  • 2 Tablespoons Light Agave Nectar (can substitute with honey)
  • 1/4 tsp salt and additional as needed
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

  1. Whisk all ingredients together.
  2. Add additional salt to taste if needed.
  3. Serve!