Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Don't Throw Out That Old Bread...

When your bread has passed the expiration date you don't have to throw it out. Now it goes without saying if it has molded, you should. :)

But if you like to save money as much as I do, and your bread has just gone stale, you can make homemade croutons with it. And actually stale bread works better. These are so much tastier than store bought.

This wasn't the post I had planned for today, but my loaf of bread was dated "use by Jan. 2", and I am planning on fixing big salads with the works tonight for dinner. So this post today just seemed appropriate!

Homemade Croutons:

2 cups - 1 1/2 inch cubes French or Italian bread ( I used more than this, but had to make 2 batches).
2 Tablespoons oil (I prefer extra virgin olive oil for these)
1 Tablespoon butter
2 large cloves garlic, minced (I buy minced  garlic in the jar and that way I always have garlic on-hand)
1 tsp. your choice of dried seasoning - I prefer Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cut bread into cubes and place in a bowl. In a large skillet heat oil, butter and garlic over low-med. heat. Then add bread cubes and continuously toss to coat. This will take a few minutes. Add more oil if necessary.
Once the bread is good and coated, line a cookie sheet with foil. Use a cookie sheet with sides. This is the point where I sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the bread.
Bake in a pre-heated 375-degree oven for approximately 10 minutes or so. Take the croutons out once or twice during the baking time and stir them.
Store in an air-tight container or zip-lock bag for up to a week.


Hope your new year is off to a great start!


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Walnut - Crusted Tilapia

Makes 4 servings - Prep 15 minutes
BAKE @ 425 for 15 minutes
COOK - 11 minutes

3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon light mayonnaise
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
4 Tilapia fillets (about 6 ounces each)
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 bunches Swiss chard, stems removed and leaves cut onto 1-inch pieces

1) Heat oven to 425. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. In a small skillet over medium-high heat, toast 1/4 cup walnuts for 5 minutes.

2) Stir together mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon of the mustard. Finely chop remaining 1/2 cup walnuts. Brush tilapia with mustard mixture, then sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon basil and 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Press 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts onto one side of each fillet.

3) Place tilapia, walnut-side up, on baking sheet; bake @ 425 for 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily.

4) Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook 4 minutes. Stir in Swiss chard, remaining 1/2 teaspoon basil and 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper; cover. Cook, stirring, for 7 minutes or until tender. Add 1/4 cup water if pan becomes dry. Stir in walnuts and remaining 2 tablespoons mustard.

On a side note - I omit the onion and Swiss chard, thus eliminating step 4. I just complete thru step 3 and the Tilapia is so delicious and healthy! Enjoy!


Monday, January 2, 2012

Traditions...The Elf Trap

Ironically I ran across these pictures today from 2007 and just had to share. It is the elf trap the girls put together on Christmas eve. Also, every Christmas eve upon going to bed, I have to remind myself there is an elf trap in the living room, or I could seriously take a tumble! Hope you enjoy! :)