Time-Saving Tips with Veggies and an Authentic Pico de Gallo Recipe

I used to think things slowed down in the summer, but I can’t really say that anymore. In fact, no matter the season, life can be rat-racy. With this reality in mind, I wanted to share some ideas that even the busiest cooks can use to create delicious, vegetable-oriented home-cooked meals. After all, our gardens are starting to produce, so let’s make things a little easier in the process of using our bounty during this busy time of year.

There’s nothing new with this tip, but it bears repeating because of the time and energy this saves: Pre-chop vegetables for the week and keep prepared salad in a vacuum seal plastic container or bag for storage. They’ll stay fresh for about a week.

And to save even more time, when you pre-chop your veggies, use a food processor to do so.

Tape a bag to the counter by your cutting board to quickly catch the leaves, stems, peelings, etc. as you prepare your fresh veggies. Then when finished, remove entire bag and toss in the trash or empty onto your compost pile.

Be sure to freeze some of your prep-prepped vegetables—come time to cook you’ll be glad they’re already prepared and they’ll be easy to cook with.

Scald/blanche corn on the cob for freezing in your dishwasher. No kidding! Peel and thoroughly de-silk, then stand ears vertical in the racks. Set water temperature as high as it will go and run the machine on the rinse cycle. Leave corn in the dishwasher for about an hour after the cycle stops—the steam will continue to blanche the corn. Then remove ears, let cool; cut corn off cobs and place kernels in freezer containers or bags and freeze. Talk about a minimum of muss and fuss!

When steaming vegetables, a wet kitchen towel between the pot and the lid will keep the steam in the pot, reducing the cooking time.

If wanting browned onions or other root vegetables, don't add any salt until after they are nicely browned and caramelized. It’s a little-known fact that salt slows down the caramelization process.

When sautéing mushrooms, don't crowd the skillet. You want them to brown, and to do this they need room so the liquid they give off will evaporate quickly.

Lastly, what our moms always told us: Start your cooking with a clean kitchen and load the dishwasher as you cook; cleanup after the meal is much easier with this habit in place.

And now that authentic pico de gallo recipe the article title mentioned…your reward for reading to the end, even though you may have already known this stuff!


3 – 4 medium tomatoes, finely chopped

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 stalk green onion, diced

1 bunch cilantro, stems removed, chopped (or to taste)

Sea salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Chili powder (to taste)

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, adjust amounts according to your own taste. Serve over tacos, with refried beans, or atop a bowl of chili. This is delicious!

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  •   www.recipetineats.com

    Alice Osborne
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2006
    Email the author! alice@dvo.com

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