Dinner Plans: Caramelized Onions

Make 3 Delicious Meals From 1 Batch of Caramelized Onions

French onion soup

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What’s for dinner? That’s always the question on a busy weeknight, isn't it? The trick with meal prep is how to get interesting, delicious meals on the table for your family. Second Servings is a realistic plan to put in a few hours of work (planning, shopping, and prepping) and get a big head start on your week.

Game Plan

Prep Time: 2 1/2 hours

  1. Slice and caramelize 12-15 large onions in the biggest pot you own (they'll cook down to almost nothing), and use the first portion to make classic French onion soup.
  2. Divide the remainder into three portions, store in the refrigerator, and use to make three more dinners—caramelized onion and garlic chicken; caramelized onion and mushroom burgers, and caramelized onion grilled cheese—to pair with sides and serve for dinners or pack up for lunches.
  3. Organize ingredients for dinners 2 and 3.
  4. Rinse, prep, and cut the produce for the rest of the meals if you have time.

Prep Day

This is the essential technique every home cook needs to learn: how to caramelize onions. Take your new skills on the road and make a big pot of crisp, cheesy French onion soup.

Prep Day Tips

  • Freeze onions for 30 minutes before slicing to minimize the "tearing up" effect.
  • Slice the onions to medium thickness (1/2-inch thick) rather than thinly to ensure they won't scorch during caramelizing.
  • Divide the batch into four portions, reserving one portion in the caramelizing pot for soup, and distributing the remainder between three sealable containers. Label and store in refrigerator.
  • Organize ingredients for meals 2, 3, and 4. Chop the garlic for the chicken. Rinse herbs. Trim and cut green beans for chicken and mushrooms for burgers.

Dinner Two

Make this extra-savory onion and garlic chicken with one of the reserved portions of caramelized onions to save 30 minutes on cook time. Serve with simple green beans and a starch to complete the meal.

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Onion and Garlic Chicken Prep Tips

  • Gently reheat the caramelized onions in a pan, and add the vinegar and sugar as per the recipe before coating the chicken to allow the flavors to meld and mellow.
  • Lightly dress the steamed green beans with salted butter, lemon and olive oil, or a little prepared basil pesto for extra flavor.

Dinner Three

These mouthwatering caramelized onion and mushroom burgers come together in no time thanks to your diligent prep work. By blending chopped mushrooms with ground beef, you can increase your vegetable intake (and stretch the number of burgers you can make from a pound of beef) with just a little extra effort. Serve with a green salad.

Getty Images / JoeGough 

Caramelized Onion Burger Tips

  • Just about any cheese pairs beautifully with caramelized onions. Pick your favorite cheese to melt on the burger before topping with onions.
  • If you're grinding your own burger meat, pass the mushrooms through the grinder along with the beef for a more thorough blend.

Dinner Four

Spread the remainder of the onions on bread for caramelized onion grilled cheese sandwiches and watch how the deep, sweet umami flavors transform this family-friendly classic. A little goes a long way!

Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Caramelized Onion
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Essential Info

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