Have you ever whipped up a batch of Chex Mix? Dry stuff, seasonings and wet stuff, all mixed together. Then, bake in a fairly slow oven, stirring now and then, until everything is dry and crispy.
And the same method can be used to make lots of stuff! We made a couple things yesterday. Wanna see?
I had some sourdough bread (from the breadstore) that needed to be used up, so I made some seasoned croutons. I cut it into good size cubes (they will shrink a little), then I sprayed them with oil. I have this doohickey called a 'Misto' that you can fill with oil, then you pump it, and it makes it like an aerosol can. I'm sure you could use cooking spray too, if you have that.
Once they were spritzed with a little oil, I sprinkled in some basil, salt, parmesan cheese (the cheap 'powder' stuff) garlic and onion salt. I tossed them a little to coat them, then spritzed them with a little more oil, to 'set' the spices. I didn't use a lot of oil - a little goes a long way.
I put them in a 13x9x2 cake pan, and into the oven. The oven was set for 275 degrees. This will dry them out, but they won't get over-browned. I stirred them every 15 minutes, and when they were dry, but not too brown, I took them out. They got a bit crispier as they cooled.
With all the lettuces starting to come in from our garden, we can have some lovely salads!
I didn't want to leave a whole oven shelf empty, so I made some granola too. I started with some oats (8 cups), and about half a cup each of wheat germ, sesame seeds and dry coconut.
I tossed in a half cup of pecans too. Okay, a 'healthy' half cup. If you like something, put more. If you don't like something (or you're out of it), don't worry about it. Granola is pretty forgiving stuff.
I mixed that all together in the roasting pan, then I made the 'sweet stuff'. I used some honey, some brown sugar, a spoonful of coconut oil, a bit of water and a little salt. Once that was heated through and the sugar dissolved, I added some vanilla. Then I poured it into the roasting pan with the oat mixture.
Then you just mix everything together until it's even, bake in a low oven, stirring now and then. Mine looked like this going into the oven:
You're drying everything out, toasting the oats a little, and that's about it. Once you take the granola out of the oven, you can also add dried fruit if you want to. Easy peasy! The granola is really good over yogurt, sprinkled over fruit, on top of a 'fruit crisp' or cooked for a hot cereal. With additional ingredients, you can even use it to make granola bars!
So, we used up some things we had on hand, saved a little money, and it was fun! If you give either of these a try, I hope you have fun too. That's what it's all about!