Homemade croutons

5 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

tsp. salt 1/4 teaspoon

1/4 teaspoon black pepper, crushed red pepper, and/or Italian seasoning

1 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

5 cups cubed day-old bread (such as sourdough, baguette, or multigrain)

1. Preheat oven to 250°F. In a large bowl combine oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and (if using) cheese. Add bread cubes. Toss until coated. Spread cubes in a single layer in a 15×10-inch baking pan.

2. Bake until lightly golden and nearly crisp, 40 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool completely (croutons will continue to crisp as they cool). If you like, store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 24 hours.