Dear Heloise: Our family loves Italian croutons in soup, salad, etc. They are quite expensive. Do you have a recipe for making them? Thank you. -- Mary, Rochester, N.Y.
Sure do -- it's easy, plus a great way to save money. You are using leftover bread and not spending the money to buy commercial croutons.
Start by cutting old bread (the older, the better) into cubes. Brush the cubes lightly with melted butter or vegetable oil. Use a shallow baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes at 300 degrees. Halfway -- at about 15 minutes -- stir and turn them over.
Use dried Italian seasonings or garlic powder to spice up the croutons, or grated Parmesan cheese can be added while they are still warm from baking. Enjoy! -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: Regarding the recent item on chicken broth: I pour chicken broth into an unused ice-cube tray for freezing. I have found each cube to contain 2 tablespoons of liquid, thus I have premeasured amounts of easy-to-handle broth that can be put into sealable plastic bags and tucked into an odd spot in the freezer. -- D. Olsen, Conroe, Texas
This is handy when making soups, and nothing warms you up faster on a chilly night than a nice big bowl of your favorite soup. If you need to thicken soup, add instant mashed potatoes, just a little at a time, until you get the thickness you desire. -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: When meats are on special, I buy family packs, divide in quart-size freezer bags, date, label and freeze.
I can prepare meals without thawing large packages, and I save big money this way. -- Mabel Carlton, Sylacauga, Ala.
Dear Heloise: I have a lot of tried-and-true old family recipes from several generations. One year for Christmas I bought loose-leaf cookbooks with blank pages and wrote these recipes in it. At the top of each page, I put the person's name who gave me the recipe and that person's relationship to my granddaughters. -- Shirley L., Mesa, Ariz.
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