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Newbie To Cooking Seeking Some Basic Advice
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As I am the only one in my home of 5 that will be following any sort of elimination diet, I have now come to the realization that I will start cooking for myself. Other than the fact that I can't really cook, and that my ingredient list will now be more limited, I think that I can handle this. There is alot of useful info. on these boards for avoiding cross contamination and things like that. The issue is that I just can't see myself spending more time cooking than eating, but I fear that is what would happen. What I need to do is pre-prepare my meals (all to be consumed most likely in 3-days or less). So, please enlighten me on some cooking basics:

1.) If I make a soup consisting of chicken stock, canned chicken breast, onions, garlic, carrots, and some salt, and then refrigerate it, how long would that last before going bad?

2.) I don't want to have to peel an onion every time I am going to use it. Lets say I slice one onion into 15 pieces, put them in a Ziploc bag, and put that in my refrigerator. How long will it last before going bad?

3.) If I make my own nutrition shakes (apricot, water, pineapple, carrots, and vanilla extract)OR (broccoli, radish, spinach, and a little bit of ginger), pour them out of the blender into a glass bottle, and then put them in the fridge, about how long will they last? And, I'm assuming they will probably become thick, so then is the solution to just re-blend them?

4.) If I don't feel like using a microwave, what's the best way to re-heat meat? rice?

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Good luck, I think you will do great. I can give advice on the first two, I often keep soup 3-4 days, although I usually find I don't want it more than a couple of days so I put serving sizes in freezer qt bags and freeze. To thaw out, just pop in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes. Fresh onions will last up to a week for me peeled, I don't slice till needed. If I have leftover chopped onions, for cooking, I just pop in a freezer bag and freeze. I'm sorry I can't help with the drinks--but as above-I do love freezing, so that may be an option.

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Thanks, but I am only dealing with a mini-fridge, and, while it is not "that" mini, it doesn't really have a freezer. I don't want to deal with chopping or slicing the onions. I know I must sound extremely lazy right now, but I do have fatigue issues. I want to just be able to open the fridge, grab my Ziploc bag of already peeled onions, and throw a few into the pot or pan.

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Thanks, but I am only dealing with a mini-fridge, and, while it is not "that" mini, it doesn't really have a freezer. I don't want to deal with chopping or slicing the onions. I know I must sound extremely lazy right now, but I do have fatigue issues. I want to just be able to open the fridge, grab my Ziploc bag of already peeled onions, and throw a few into the pot or pan.

Wow, that's tough, I sorry I didn't realize you were dealing with a space issue as well. I hope you find the answers you are looking for.

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Here's a chart on food safety that may help you out: http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/storagetimes.html

They recommend soups or stews with meat or poultry to be kept for 3-4 days max. I can't answer you on the protein shakes, perhaps they would be in the same category as vegetables?

When you ask about options for reheating without a microwave--are you living in a dorm room or something?

If you have a kitchen, obviously your options are you reheat anything liquidy on the stove top and anything that can be crunchy/crispy in the oven at low heat. Rice can be reheated on the stove be adding a little more water, turning it on low and stirring every few minutes until warmed through and extra water is absorbed.

If you don't have a kitchen then you will want to buy a hot pot or a single buner with a pan or a toaster oven or a slow cooker. A small slow cooker with a warming option might be of most use to you becaus eyou could make the soup in the slow cooker and then once it's cooked, put it int he slow cooker again the next day on warm to reheat. It does take several hours to warm through using the warm setting but it doesn't cook the soup much more than it was alreayd cooked so you shouldn't have to worrry abotu burnign aroudn the edges.

Another suggestion for you since you have limited space and don't want to chop onions everyday is you might see if any of your friends/family have a dehydrator you can borrow to make dried onions pieces. Dehydrated onions last practicaly forever in a jar on the shelf. You can also buy dried onion if you can find some without extra preservatives, but since you are doing an elimiantion diet it would be better to do them yourself.

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I am actually about to purchase a dehydrator. This sounds dumb even as I type it, but if I want to use a dehydrated onion slice in place of a fresh onion slice in a meal, would I just drop it into the pot like there was no difference between the 2?

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I am actually about to purchase a dehydrator. This sounds dumb even as I type it, but if I want to use a dehydrated onion slice in place of a fresh onion slice in a meal, would I just drop it into the pot like there was no difference between the 2?

There will probably be directions with the dehydrator when you buy it, but a general rule is 1 tablespoon of chopped dried onion for every 1 small fresh onion called for in the recipe. Some thigns you will have to experiment with as fresh onion may taste better for some recipe, but for soups and stews it should be easy to use dried in place of fresh.

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Good advice has been given above. My only other thought on the onion. If you keep the skin on and slice in half. You could peel and slice one half and keep the other refrigerated. I think it will keep longer with the skin on. Just try to make sure when you store it, the cut side is down, so it somewhat seals in the plastic bag or container you store it in. Then, you could peel and cut it when the other part is used up. No guarentee...sorry, but I do think it will keep longer. Good luck!

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No, peel the skin off the onion. CUT OFF THAT LITTLE ROOT END because that is the part where the mold starts. Cut off the little sprout at the top. Put the now naked onion into a ziplock bag, and slice off a slice as needed. Slice crosswise and the thing is already half pre sliced. Slice the slice again once horizontal and once vertical, into quarters, and that's all you need to get pieces small enough to cook.

Otherwise Mr Onion is going to go moldy much faster.

Second hint. Say you don't want to use a cutting board. Lay a piece of paper towel on a small plate and use that to cut your slice. Toss the paper towel afterwards. You can also use this for tomatoes if you don't want juice everywhere.

Third. You so do want to get rolls of those Pick a Size paper towels and lay down what size you want everywhere for a safe work surface.

Nutrition shakes: Sorry, from what you are describing, uncooked, immediate same day consumption is recommended.

I would get myself a smaller, cheap personal microwave. They are so versatile they will pay for themselves. You can even bake gluten-free bread in cups, in them. You also may want to get your own personal toaster oven, which can be used for conventional baking as well, and are not that expensive, either. A gluten free dedicated toaster is the way to go to avoid cross contamination.

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