Recycled Food–Croutons (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, What can I eat that’s gluten free?, and Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays.

I hate to waste food, but sometimes I do … and then I feel badly. I’m thrilled food that I can’t use any other way (sharing with co-workers, relatives, etc.) can even be made into bird or squirrel food, but I’d rather not have any food that doesn’t get put to its best use.  If I can recycle food from its first run into something creative and delicious, I’m even more thrilled. 

When we were “stuffing’d out” after Thanksgiving, I still had a good amount of Surprise Stuffing left over. (Be sure to check out that recipe if you didn’t catch it the first time around.) Ever notice how leftover stuffing seems to congeal? I looked at that half pan of congealed stuffing and an idea suddenly occurred to me. Croutons. Why not dice the congealed stuffing and make croutons? So I did.

I removed the congealed mass from the baking pan and placed it on the cutting board. I scored the surface in each direction to create crouton-sized squares. I lightly greased a baking sheet, drizzled a bit of olive oil over the squares, sprinkled some garlic powder over the squares, and broiled them until golden brown (just a few minutes, stirring half way through). I was going to save the croutons for my salad the next day, but when Mr. GFE saw them, he immediately thought that we should use them to top the Crab Norfolk we were having for dinner. So we did. No food wasted, and, these croutons were fabulous. While I don’t think I’ll be making stuffing just to have croutons, I won’t mind making the tasty stuffing periodically knowing that I’ll have croutons a day or two later. How about stuffing and Caesar salad—WITH croutons for a change—in the same week?

To be honest, before this happy experiment, I hadn’t had croutons since before I went gluten free in June 2003. Our crouton-topped Crab Norfolk seemed pretty well deserved all things considered! Enjoy!

Not just gf, but gfe

Not just gf, but gfe!

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33 Responses to “Recycled Food–Croutons (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)”

  1. Lauren on January 11th, 2010 11:11 pm

    How cool Shirley! That looks fantastic =D.

    • Shirley on January 11th, 2010 11:32 pm

      Hi Lauren–Thanks, my dear! Hey, it’s Monday … hope your finals and project went well. I’m sure you are breathing a sigh of relief. Breathe and relax again. ;-)


      • Lauren on January 13th, 2010 12:58 am

        They did! I am so ready for this semester to be done, and am thrilled that yesterday is complete =D.

        • Shirley on January 13th, 2010 10:46 pm

          Yippeeee for you, my dear!


  2. H.Peter on January 11th, 2010 11:23 pm

    Brilliant concept. Perfect for Caesar’s Salad.

    Crouton, I like best when roasted in butter.

    • Shirley on January 11th, 2010 11:34 pm

      H.Peter–Exactly! Caesar salad is one of my absolute favorites. It will be so nice to have one with croutons again. :-) Oh yeah, croutons roasted in butter rock! ;-)


  3. Alta on January 12th, 2010 2:14 pm

    Awesome idea! Wish I knew of this when I still had stuffing left over! Definitely going to remember this for next time.

    • Shirley on January 13th, 2010 9:43 pm

      Hi Alta–Thanks! I figured I better share it now rather than wait and possibly forget to share. I actually do plan to make a recipe using stuffing in the not-to-distant future. Then I’ll make croutons again. It is such an unusual idea, it would be hard to forget, wouldn’t it? ;-)


  4. Johanna B on January 12th, 2010 4:06 pm

    and I thought I’d never have croutons again. Do you think they’d freeze well? Thanks for commenting on my blog. I really love yours. My family still talks about our Thanksgiving Turkey in the crockpot.

    • Shirley on January 13th, 2010 10:34 pm

      Hi Johanna–I think these croutons might freeze just fine. I’d make them as I did and then freeze them on a cookie sheet for about a half hour or so. Make sure they are separated well, so they will freeze individually (and not stick together) before putting them in a freezer container. Then I’d probably toast them in the oven to thaw before using. If I try out freezing them the next time I make them, I’ll report back.

      Glad to support your blog when I can! :-) Thanks for the nice words on the crockpot turkey again. Remember you can make turkey any time of year. ;-) Then you can make turkey tortilla soup, turkey quesadillas …


  5. Iris on January 12th, 2010 7:49 pm

    What a great idea! I don’t even like normal croutons, but those sound amazing!

    • Shirley on January 13th, 2010 10:38 pm

      Thank you, Iris! Which came first … the stuffing or the croutons? ;-) These are definitely healthier than most croutons I’ve seen, while still being tasty.


  6. noble pig on January 12th, 2010 11:55 pm

    These sound better than regular old gluten-croutons!

    • Shirley on January 13th, 2010 10:45 pm

      Thanks, Cathy! Lots of flavor and “layers” (literally, in this case) in these croutons. :-)


  7. Aubree Cherie on January 13th, 2010 8:15 pm

    Re-using leftovers… that makes me happy :) I’ll have to try better to follow in your example!

    Thanks for checking out my blog. Its so nice to have encouragement even when I’m so new to world of gluten free blogging :)

    ~Aubree Cherie

    • Shirley on January 13th, 2010 10:52 pm

      Hi Aubree–Welcome to gfe! I’m so glad to find you and your blog. :-) We all start out new in the gf blogging world, but all of us play an important role in the gf blogosphere. Thanks for accepting that challenge and your contributions thus far! Oh, re: leftovers, I’m not perfect. It’s really exciting when leftovers can be turned into something that’s been missing from one’s gf diet. ;-)


  8. Pam on January 14th, 2010 10:38 am

    That recycling looks great to me…te he!

    So creative you are Shirley…luv it!


    • Shirley on January 16th, 2010 8:40 pm

      Hi, my dear!–Thanks for approving my recycling methods. :-) Don’t forget this tip when you next make stuffing. I’m sure you could make some creative croutons yourself and use them in one of your special dishes. ;-)


  9. Chaya on January 17th, 2010 10:56 am

    Shirley, you are a true genius. This is so clever and I doubt I would have thought of it.

    I make stuffing a few times year but I use my own cornbread and mix it in with sausage and it is fabulous, if I say so myself.

    • Shirley on January 18th, 2010 12:17 pm

      Hey Chaya–Aww, you are a sweetie! I wouldn’t say I’m a genius … I would just say I had a moment. LOL We all have enlightened moments, right? I see a lot of innovative ideas on your site. Catch me another time and you’ll wonder if I could possibly be the same person that had this clever idea. ;-) You stuffing sounds great. I bet the leftovers would make great croutons … imagine them added to potato soup–yum!



  10. Linda on January 17th, 2010 9:09 pm

    Great idea! I had some of that leftover stuffing and ended up throwing it out. Next time I’ll remember this.

    • Shirley on January 18th, 2010 12:35 pm

      Hi, Linda–Thanks! That’s the good thing about this concept … it’s so unusual you can’t help but remember it even if it’s months before you make stuffing again. :-)


  11. Chelsey on January 18th, 2010 10:44 pm

    Hey Shirley,

    I’d have to say I’m one of those “bad” people who throw things out after a few days of not being eaten (shhh! Don’t tell anyone!). This is a great idea to be good to the earth and ‘reuse’ your food…Something I need to get more in the habit of doing.

    • Shirley on January 19th, 2010 7:45 am

      Hi, Chelsey–So good to see you again! :-) We’re all guilty to some degree, but I have to admit I’ve been much more vigilant since I read an article that said 40% of food in the U.S. gets thrown out. That figure is just sinful. However, I haven’t validated that number, so I didn’t include it in my post. Still … it opened my eyes. There are many foods that don’t go bad after a few days, but we’ve just learned to toss them out. Fruit is an example. Certainly, it loses some nutritional value and might not look as good, but in the “old days” of truly eating locally and seasonally, folks could make apples, etc. last for a very long time. Other foods or dishes can be tossed in the freezer for homemade “tv dinners” later or even a whole other meal for our families. It’s a learned habit though and I’m a work in progress. :-) We’ll do better together. ;-)

      Thanks for taking the time to comment so thoughtfully!


  12. Lisa on February 2nd, 2010 11:03 pm

    That’s a great idea.
    It looks great.

    • Shirley on February 3rd, 2010 7:55 am

      Hi Lisa!–Welcome to gfe! Looks like you’re fairly new to the gluten-free blogoshere–welcome to it as well! :-) There can’t be enough of us sharing good information. I look forward to checking out your blog soon!



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