I'm all about food that can multitask. As in, if I'm going to put the effort into something, I want it to be not just a dinner, but a building block for other meals later in the week.
Here's the theory: spend about 10 minutes active time making a massive pot of caramelized onions, then use them as the basis for meals throughout the week.
This recipe is easiest if you use a food processor or mandoline to slice the onions. The red pepper flakes add a mild bite. Don't like bite? Leave it out.
The first night I made them, I ate the onions warm spread over toast and topped with shaved Parmesan cheese. Simple and outstanding.
Meal 2: Pasta
Heat some of the onions in large saucepan. Add chopped cooked bacon and grated Parmesan. Toss until melted, then add cooked pasta and several tablespoons of the pasta cooking water. Toss, then season with salt and pepper.
Meal 3: Sandwich
Slather some of the onions, warm or cold, onto a thick slice of bread. Top with deli-sliced smoked turkey and provolone cheese. Toast in a 400 F oven until the cheese is melted.
Meal 4: Pizza
Get yourself a ball of dough or a ready-made crust. Top it with caramelized onions, chopped Kalamata olives and crumbled blue cheese or feta. Bake at 500 F until the crust is done and the cheese melted.
Meal 5: Dip
Still have more onions? Mix with sour cream and eat with carrot sticks or chips. Or to make it even richer, blend the sour cream with cream cheese in a food processor, then stir in the onions.
Start to finish: 1 hour (10 minutes active)
Makes about 2 1/4 cups
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
8 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, melt the butter. Add the thyme, garlic powder, pepper flakes and smoked paprika. Cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds.
Add the onions and salt, then stir well to coat. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for another 25 minutes, stirring every 5 or so minutes.
Uncover the pot, stir, then cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Increase heat to high and cook for a final 10 minutes.
Nutrition information per 1/4 cup (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 85 calories; 46 calories from fat; 5 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 13 mg cholesterol; 9 g carbohydrate; 1 g protein; 2 g fiber; 169 mg sodium.