Take Along Meal

by GfG on May 30, 2012 · 10 comments

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One of the new responsibilities I have is packing a lunch for My Sweetie.  He’s always come home for lunch, so this extra task was not in the “Yea, I’m so excited about adding this to my to list” column.  Until I saw the mason jar salads on Pinterest.

Then, not only did I find a terrific take along meal for his lunch, but I found so much more!  Read on!

Thankfully, a friend tested the mason jar salads out for me (thanks, Amy!).  Well, she didn’t agree to test them out for me, she just did it and I was able to glean advice from her.  That counts, right?

I bought a set of quart sized Mason jars and extra salad toppings.  My Sweetie saw the box and calmly suggested, “Shouldn’t those be large mouth jars?”

“You just dump everything into a bowl, so it doesn’t really matter.”

Wrong.

Anyway, other than that little wrong choice (by the way, there were no large mouth quart jars at our Wal-mart, so…. I did try after his comment), it went off without a hitch.  And without a hitch, I mean, get the large mouth jars so your hand doesn’t get rubbed sore stuffing the ingredients into the jars.

They looked terrific upon completion!

They looked lovely in the refrigerator waiting consumption!

They looked impressive going to work!  (Ok, ok, I don’t get up with My Sweetie yet, even though the sun comes up BEFORE 6 HERE!, so I have no photo of this, but trust me.  They look impressive leaving in the morning.)

I want to thank Amy (my tester) and Karen (the Pinterest pinner who made these possible for me).

I added a few things to Karen’s plan:**

  • I hard boiled some eggs to send a couple of days
  • I made tuna and let him bring that one day
  • I did my own salad combinations and didn’t follow her recipes, but I used her jars for measuring guides and I used her idea         🙂

Tips if you want to do this (thanks to tester Amy and myself):

  • Be sure to follow Karen’s advice about there being no gap between the lettuce and the jar lid or the lettuce will get yucky
  • Don’t use as much dressing as Karen’s photos show.  It’s too much and adds more calories than necessary.
  • Dump the salad in a bowl and toss there.  The person for whom these salads are packed can wash the bowl and keep it at work.
  • Turn the salad upside down ten minutes or so before you want to eat it.  This helps get as much of the yummy creamy dressing out of the jar.  If you are giraffe, feel free to lick the inside of the jar, if not, use a spatula or just longingly stare at the dressing you couldn’t get out of the jar.  Again, you can avoid some of this if you turn the jar upside down ten minutes before you want to eat.
  • Candied nuts go bad more quickly than toasted.
  • Red leaf lettuce wilts more quickly than Romaine and green leaf.
  • Be sure to get the large mouth jars.  Seriously.

Mason jar salads are terrific for several uses and I highly encourage you to make these if:

1) You need to pack a lunch for yourself or someone you love (who can be trusted with a glass jar)

2) You would like to make some super easy meals for a new mom, recovering friend, newly moved and has no friends yet person   How fab would it be to bring a week’s worth of lunches to someone!?!  I’m pretty sure you would win the award for coolest meal maker.  If there was such an award.  With Facebook, there is, since the person could brag on your awesomeness there.  Suh-weet.

3) You are lazy enough to appreciate having your own meal already prepared for you every day as a stay at home mom.  Guess which category I fall under as a rule?

Have you tried mason jar salads?

** If you don’t want to click on Karen’s link, here’s the basic plan:  Pour some of your favorite dressing in the bottom of the jar, next place a “hearty” vegetable (shredded cabbage, cucumber, peppers, something that will not absorb all the dressing and wilt), then start layering all your other vegetables (she even uses fruit), top with the lettuce.  Fill to the very top.    Do not use really wet veggies (chopped tomato, for example) because they will get the lettuce soggy.  Put a lid on it and call it done.

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