Homemade Croutons

I love to cook, but firing up the oven on these 100 degree summer days make me cringe. I opt for creating more salads for summertime dinners.  The great thing about salads is you can change up your ingredients and it is basically always going to turn out good.  You can’t go wrong with salad ingredients. To spice up my barbecue chicken salad, I like to add in yummy cheeses like feta or goat cheese, make homemade ranch dressing and homemade croutons. Very simple things that add an extra touch. Today I am sharing with you my crouton recipe. Enjoy!

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HOMEMADE CROUTONS

Servings: 2

INGREDIENTS:

2 slices of artisan bread

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

salt & pepper to taste

 

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Cut bread into chunks. Melt butter in microwave for around 15 seconds. Stir in garlic powder, parsley and a dash of salt & pepper to melted butter. Dredge bread pieces in butter melted until thoroughly soaked. Place bread on foil lined baking sheet. Bake for around 20 minutes or until crispy.

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Don’t let store-bought herbs go to waste: how to root in water

Do you hate buying herbs at the grocery store because they are too expensive?  Especially when you only need 1/10th of what comes in the package? Do you find yourself throwing over half of it away because you didn’t use it all?

Today I am sharing with you a simple solution to this problem, rooting store-bought herbs in just a jar of water! Did you buy some green onion and now its about to go bad? No problem, place in a jar of water and watch roots magically grow! Within a week, roots will sprout. Transplant to soil when the roots are an inch or two long.  Make sure plant receives some sunlight and water regularly.

This works for most herbs: basil, mint, thyme, oregano, parsley, rosemary, green onion, lemon verbena, and sage. You can also grow your plant by re-harvesting. Cut your stems as they grow, re-root in water, then plant in same pot.  This is an easy way to double your harvest at no extra cost. Give friends a cutting to start their own plant is also a nice way to share your herb wealth!

Now you have a small herb garden whenever you need it for recipes! There is nothing better than a fresh herb in a recipe. As a host, presentation is everything. Garnishing with different herbs will be sure to make your dish unique!

 

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Spice up your life

Yes yes, I admit that I enjoyed the Spice Girl’s music back in the day. If the Spice Girls felt the need to include “spice” in their band name, you should consider some for your pantry. Haha:)

Spices and herbs can make or break a recipe.  We all enjoy food that tastes good. If a recipe is not flavored correctly, it could easily ruin it.  I can’t count the number of times I have been making a recipe and the only ingredients I am lacking are a few spices or herbs.  Sometimes I will omit them and the food tastes “okay” but after cooking it with the right ingredients at a later date I can tell the difference in how much better the recipe tastes.

Spices and herbs can be expensive though. Especially when you are buying a $5 bottle of spice for a recipe that only calls for 1/8 teaspoon.  Today I have put together my list of commonly used spices.  These are spices I recommend to keep on hand at all times.  The good news is, spices last a longggggg time, years! It is worth the investment.  I recommend adding one bottle each grocery trip until you have stocked up your spice cabinet.

  • Sea Salt & Ground Pepper (I feel like this is a no brainer, but we will just put it out there anyways!;)
  • Crushed Red Pepper
  • Lemon Pepper Seasoning Blend
  • Garlic Powder (Probably my most commonly used spice!)
  • Italian Seasoning (Great mixture to have on hand for quick seasoning)
  • Rosemary Leaves
  • Parsley Flakes
  • Thyme Leaves
  • Dill
  • Basil Leaves
  • Oregano Leaves
  • Ground Oregano
  • Onion Powder
  • Ground Cumin
  • Chili Powder
  • Paprika
  • Old Bay (we don’t live far from the Chesapeake Bay, this is a must around these parts!)
  • Ground Cinnamon
  • Ground Nutmeg
  • All Spice
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • Ground Ginger
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Must-Have Kitchen Ingredients

I hear from friends all the time that they don’t mess with cooking because it is too complicated/expensive to purchase all the ingredients one recipe calls for.  (Hence why people tend to steer towards fewer ingredient recipes.)  A typical recipe will call for a teaspoon of this or a tablespoon of that.  To make a trip to the grocery store to buy a $5 ingredient that accounts for only one teaspoon in your dinner recipe seems rather frustrating, no?

Today I want to share my most commonly used ingredients with you. These ingredients are usually only once a year purchases but items you will probably find yourself using a few times each month.  This is a great list of ingredients for new cooks to stock up on.  Trust me, it is a really good feeling when you are recipe browsing and you realize you have all the ingredients a recipe calls for! (Hey, it’s the little things in life;) The possibilities are endless if you have the right ingredients on hand. Below is my list of must-haves, feel free to comment your must-have ingredients as well!

  • Olive Oil
  • Honey
  • Chicken Broth
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Rice Vinegar
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Lemon Juice
  • Lime Juice
  • Sriracha
  • Sesame Oil
  • Soy Sauce
  • Maple Syrup
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Corn Starch
  • Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Sauce
  • Minced Garlic
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