If you own or manage a restaurant specializing in home or family cooking, you know how important it is to be able to offer delicious comfort food favorites that satisfy your customers’ taste buds as well as the needs of their budget.
One way to infuse your menu with taste, variety and creativity, while keeping your profit margins at a desirable level, is to source versatile food products that can be used in multiple recipes without additional cost or preparation on your part. For an example of this, let’s take a look at three easy but sure-to-please dishes that all use crispy fried onion as an ingredient or topping:
Mom’s Crispy Fried Onion Meatloaf
Ingredients (for an entrée for one):
1/2 cups fried onion
1/2 lb. ground beef, seasoned to taste
1/3 can condensed tomato soup
2/3 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
How to make it: Crush most of the fried onion in a bowl, then mix in the meat, Worcestershire Sauce, and most of the soup. Shape into a loaf and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. Spoon remaining soup and onions over the top, then bake for another 3-5 minutes.
This dish is a favorite with both kids and adults-and it also has the added advantage of using other commonly sourced ingredients like ground beef and eggs. Plus, it can be expanded and served family style to the entire table, and it will easily heat up later at your customer’s home if they decide to take the leftovers to go.
Ideas for side items: Classics like steamed green beans and mashed potatoes are sure to please, especially when they’re offered steaming hot with plenty of melted butter or cream gravy. Or, you can get a little creative by serving Mom’s Meatloaf with tender green peas, gourmet macaroni-and-cheese, scalloped potatoes, roasted carrots or fried corn on the cob.
Ingredients: Just about everything you can think of! Empty the refrigerator and the pantry (or in your case, the walk-ins) and blow your customer’s mind:
• Iceberg lettuce
• Black and green olives
• Bacon bits
• Shredded or crumbled cheese
• Chopped raw broccoli, carrots, squash, and/or cauliflower
• Diced cucumber
• Top with crispy fried onion
Add a hint of seasoning and layer in the dressing, then mix well and serve chilled in a nice big wooden bowl. You may have to charge a bit extra for this hearty salad, but your customers will go crazy for its over-the-top goodness, made extra complete with the crispy, tasty finish of fried onion. Suggest as a main course and pair with a cup of hot homemade soup as the perfect appetizer; or your customers might also want to split an order before they tackle their main course.
Not Yo’ Mama’s Cheeseburger
When making this snappy variation on the classic cheeseburger, marinate or grill your hamburger patty in Worcestershire sauce and melt a slice of American cheese on the patty before topping with fresh crispy fried onions. Or, for something even more out-of-the-ordinary: Prepare a brown gravy with mushrooms and spoon over the patty right after its comes off the grill, topping with crispy onion before you add the bun or serve.
French fries are the obvious choice for your cheeseburger side item, of course. But you can also consider homemade potato salad, a giant overstuffed baked potato, tater-tots or a small version of the Pantry Salad.