Monday, November 26, 2012

An Onion a Day (Keeps EVERYONE Away) 11-26-12

An Onion a Day (Keeps EVERYONE Away)

   I bought a three-pound bag of onions, planning to use it over a month's time. Instead, I started cooking a bunch of dishes, and used almost the whole bag. Onions are so full of vitamins and low in calories, and add so much flavor without taking over a dish. Some of my dishes:

Stewed onions, squash, zucchini and carrots: As the veggies were stewing, I let the liquid reduce, added some chicken stock for the fat and flavor, and added only salt and pepper. I eat this as a complete dish, but it would be easy to add meat or other vegetables.

Grilled chopped onions, red and yellow pepper strips, diced green bell pepper: with black pepper and a little soy sauce, I use this as a base for grilled/charred turkey link sausage. I make rice with water and a little chicken stock for my non-Paleo husband. This is not a Chinese stir-fry, but it could easily be made into one.

Roasted onion quarters, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash: I roasted this dish until the veggies were caramelized, adding a little chicken stock when the roasting liquid got low. About any vegetable can be roasted, and the flavor changes the longer they roast.

Stuffed baked onions: I love this, but not using bread crumbs was a challenge. I peeled the onions (leaving the root end), then carved out some of the center, leaving about 4 layers as the outside "cup". I diced the onion from the center, added chopped yellow squash and diced tomatoes, and some milled flax seed and almond flour, with salt and pepper. It doesn't take much to refill the cups. I set the onions in a casserole dish, with some chicken stock in the bottom for moisture. I covered the dish with foil and baked it for 30 minutes, then I removed the foil and baked for 15 minutes more.

Onion and turkey ham omelet: Without cheese, you really taste the other ingredients, and I experiment with lots of combinations. When I use onions, I think this tastes more like a brunch dish than a breakfast dish. For the onion and turkey ham omelet, I chop the ingredients small, almost to a dice. Sometimes, I saute the onions before adding them to the omelet, and sometimes I add them raw.

Onion rings: Not the same as the heavily breaded, deep fried version I love, especially from The Varsity in Atlanta, Ga., but a Paleo version I enjoy. I use almond flour, salt, lots of pepper, and milled flax seed for the breading, with an egg dip first, then the breading. I "fry" the rings in a little canola oil, not enough for deep frying, just enough to reach about half way up on the flat rings. The pan should be hot so the onion rings will crisp quickly, and not let the onions get soft. You may have to experiment with these, but I liked them any way they turned out.

Pico de gallo: I can't take really hot food, but I love to make my own pico de gallo to use as a relish. I combine diced onions, bell peppers, tomatoes with the juice, and the least amount of jalepeno I can get by with.  Sometimes I add diced celery, different colored bell peppers, or canned mild green peppers. To make my homemade salsa, I use chunks of the same vegetables instead of diced. My versions might not please a true Mexican food fan, but it is spicy and delicious to me!

   Of course, I add onions to cornbread dressing, all sorts of casseroles, and many fried meat dishes, but these dishes are not on the Paleo Diet so I can't have them. I still enjoy preparing these dishes for others.

   Onions are one of the "miracle foods", like blueberries, beets, and tomatoes, which can be eaten almost without limit in normal portions, and one of my favorites. Maybe you can use some of my ideas to add to your own menus.

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