Transform stale bread into croutons or even bread crumbs in a few easy steps! Here’s how:

1. Dice stale bread into small cubes. Remove crusts if desired.
2. Transfer to a baking sheet, spread in a single layer, and bake at 350F until toasted, stirring occasionally to promote even browning.
3. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl.
If desired, toss with salt, ground black pepper, and other choice seasonings like dried thyme, parsley, and garlic powder.
If you're making bread crumbs, crush in a food processor with seasonings. Keep in air-tight containers until needed.
4. Then use these seasoned croutons to top your favorite salads and soup like this easy Veggie-Bean Soup.

Veggie-Bean Soup
If you can’t find canned beans, use dried ones. Soak them for about 8 hours and then simmer with plenty of water until tender.

Takes 20 to 25 minutes
Makes 4 servings

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 small onion, chopped
1 small zucchini, diced
1 small carrot, diced
1/3 cup canned corn, drained
2 medium-size tomatoes, diced
1 can white or red kidney beans
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
4 cups beef stock

1. In a pot, heat the butter then sauté the garlic and onions. Add the zucchini, carrots, and corn.
2. When slightly tender, add the tomatoes, beans, Italian seasoning, and stock. Simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.

(Photograph by Ocs Alvarez. Styling by Cay R. Araneta. Recipe by Chef Alvin Ong)

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