I'm a big fan of making my own connivance foods. A little time invested when I am not crazy busy makes my life easier when I'm pressed for time without having to sacrifice flavor or nutrition. PLUS I can still claim homemade, even if it's pulled out of the freezer or cupboard. I've mentioned that I'm working on a homemade biscuit mix; there are a number of recipes out there, but most are not vegan. I accidentally made a larger batch than I intended last time, so I'm working my way through that before I test a different variation (it is a hard job, but I do it for you! ha). There are a lot of things you can do in advance with very little effort, just double or triple what you need for tonight and freeze the extra. This works great for pesto, seitan, pie crust, bread, beans... the list is extensive. I'll be posting more about make-ahead foods in the near future.
This weekend I tried my hand at caramelized onions. I used 3 large onions, which you can see filled the 3 quart saute pan in the beginning (this was after about 10 minutes of cooking). The key is *low* and *slow*. This took an hour and a half, but it was well worth it. And only the last 15-20 minutes really requires your almost constant attention (by which I mean I read a book while stirring).
Just throw all the onions in a large pan over low (did I mention low) heat and toss with tongs every 5 minutes or so. The low heat allows the onions to give up all their water before getting any color so the sugars can fully caramelize without burning. When you notice them starting to stick to the bottom of the pan stir a little more frequently. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt if you wish, I found it allowed me to cook them a little longer which meant better flavor. Watch them closely at the end, stirring frequently, to prevent burning; they will get sticky. Allow to cool and then freeze for later use (if you can restrain yourself from eating the entire batch straight out of the pan...)
And some content completely unrelated to caramelize onions:
BooBoo came over with my parents the other night and had a bath while she was at our house. Isn't she the cutest (that is obviously a completely objective evaluation). I just love her. She likes to help me in the kitchen too; that's fun, and a great opportunity to teach colors, math, self-control, patience, and good eating habits. Get you kids (or borrow one!) in the kitchen. You'll both learn a lot.