For everyone who likes to experiment with new and elaborate recipes, I commend you. I, too, am one for challenges, and although they can be disastrous, every now and then a masterpiece is born.

Some days, however, I wake up with little energy to whip out the fresh herbs and spices, so I like to settle for what’s in the fridge. That doesn’t always mean leftovers, however.

It’s always a good idea to keep certain things in your kitchen as backup ingredients for those days when you don’t feel like cooking up a storm. Ingredients like eggs, cheese, pasta, frozen veggies or some tofu can yield a wide variety of quick and tasty meals that won’t leave you wondering why you ever cooked in the first place.

Whether you’d like to put together a quick salad, bake a fresh pizza or just like to snack on some bread and cheese, here’s a nice little addition to your rainy-day food stash.

I’ll admit, I hate raw onions, and I will not eat a salad if it’s got them in it. But whether you like it or not, they seem to show up everywhere. Let’s face it: They’re good for you! This is a great way to include onions in your favorite foods without cringing at every crunch.

Caramelizing an onion means slow-cooking it over low heat until the natural sugars are literally turned to caramel. This results in lightly browned onion strips that are sweet and soft, perfect for your morning omelet, afternoon salad or evening pizza.

First, you’re going to need to peel the onion, then cut it into small strips, which shouldn’t be too difficult considering onions are already layered. Warning: Cutting onions will cause your eyes to water, and it is not comfortable. A good way to avoid the tears is to try not to breathe through your nose.

Once you’ve cut your onion, heat the olive oil and butter in a medium skillet over medium heat until the butter has melted. Let it sit for about 30 seconds before adding the onions.

Next, add the onion strips onto the skillet. They should start to sizzle. Move them around to coat them in the oil and butter, then turn down the heat to the lowest setting. After about five minutes, sprinkle the salt over the onions and mix them around so that it spreads evenly among them.

The key to caramelizing onions is to cook them slowly over low heat to give the heated oil time to extract the natural sugars from the onion. It usually takes about 15-20 minutes to fully caramelize them. Make sure to move them around every five minutes or so to make sure they cook evenly.

You will know they’re ready when you taste an onion strip and there is absolutely no crunch in the texture. The onions should be sweet and yummy! At this point, you can turn off the heat and add them to whatever your dish. You can also refrigerate them and save them for later additions in the week.

Caramelized onions can make great toppings for salad, pizza, omelets or whatever your hungry mind desires. I also like to put them on a baguette with some Brie and snack on them when I’m not quite hungry enough for a meal. Use your imagination — you’d be surprised at how creative your stomach can be.

Bon appétit!