They are a common site in kitchens with kids (and probably some grown-up kitchens too):
Chances are, if you are a mom, dad or have ever fed anyone under the age of 10, you know that for some kids, crusts rank right there between brussel sprouts and mushrooms in the category of "you don't expect me to actually eat those, do you?"
Since R has never been a fan of sandwiches, the issue of crusts never really arose. But my sweet G is a huge PB&J fan. He eats a lot of PB&Js, but PB&Js without the crusts, of course. Which leaves me with lots and lots of bags of crusts (yes, I know, you can make the sandwich with crusts and hope that your kiddo eventually says "hey, these crusts taste okay!" and I do try this periodically, but we have yet to hear G say this.):
Since I'd rather not waste the crusts, especially the crusts of rather pricey gluten-free bread, and since gluten-free breadcrumbs and croutons are expensive, how about a quick way to put your crusts (gluten-free or otherwise) to good use?
There are two easy and tasty solutions to the crust conundrum: Croutons and Breadcrumbs (which taste waaaay better than canned or store-bought breadcrumbs!).
First, Homemade Crust Croutons:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Take the crusts and cut into fairly uniform, bite-sized pieces.
Add some ground pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and dried basil (about 1/2 teaspoon each to about 6 cups bread pieces--or adjust for your amount of bread):
Add a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, toss well and spread evenly on a baking sheet, avoiding overcrowding (use two baking sheets if necessary):
Bake 20-30 minutes, turning in pan one time while baking:
Voila--croutons way better than any you buy in the store! Store in an airtight container a room temperature, or freeze to last longer.
Next up: Homemade Bread Crumbs:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Then, use a food processor or coffee grinder:
Simply process until the desired fineness is reached:
Place on a cooking sheet or stone and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until desired brownness is reached:
Store in the freezer until you're ready to use!
Life is sweet,