Day #1: Thursday, July 11, 2013
I’ve seen the Mason Jar Salads all over Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter… and I have been dying to try them out. Well, this week my kids are at my parents house (yes…all WEEK!!!). I decided it would be the perfect time to prep and make salads for the rest of the week.
I love salads, but I hate making them. Sometimes the effort to cut, wash and mix the salads will make me rethink if I even want to make them. I know that sounds petty, but I am trying to be honest with myself. I won’t make a salad if it’s just for me. I need a little more incentive than my desire for a salad. I’m much happier to make a salad for two. Luckily my husband enjoys salads. So what could be better than making a salad for two? Making 12 salads that will last all week…and still be FRESH!!! I have decided upon making 3 simple salads this week. This way we can mix it up during the week. Nothings fun about eating the same salad EVERYDAY!
This week I will be making 3 different salads:
What you need:
- Mason Jars (12 jars) – Choose the size jar that fits how much salad you like to eat per meal. I love salads, so I went with the 32 oz. I found the 32 oz jars in a 12-pack at Vons for only $15.
- Lettuce: Romaine, Spinach, Iceburg, etc.
- Dried Cranberries
- Feta Cheese
- Cheddar Cheese (shredded)
- Chicken (cook 2-3 breasts of chicken in crock-pot on low for 4 hours with a dash of pepper & salt + 1/2 cup of water; allow the chicken to cool then shred or cube)
- Salad Dressing: I chose three ~ Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette, Balsamic Vinaigrette and Ranch (mixed with BBQ sauce)
Making the Salads:
I washed and dried the Mason Jars, then lined them up in 3 rows. I didn’t know if I should add the dressing or not, so I decided I should experiment. I added dressing to half of the jars…the other half will need the dressing added when opened.
I put 2 tbsp of Balsamic Vinaigrette in the first row (for the Strawberry-Pear-Chicken-Almond Salad), 2 tbsp of Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette in the second row (for the Cranberry-Chicken-Walnut Salad) and 2 tbsp of Ranch & 1 tbsp BBQ Sauce in the third row (for the BBQ-Chicken-Cheddar).
Then I added 1/4 cup of shredded chicken into each jar (3 large chicken breast should be enough to fill all 12 jars with 1/4 cup of chicken). Remember to add the ingredients from wet to dry. My thought with adding the chicken first was that it could marinate in the dressing.
Focusing on the first row (Strawberry-Pear-Chicken-Almond Salad) –> I sliced 4-5 strawberries per jar and one pear (1/4 per jar). Please note I did not rinse the fruit in a vinegar wash, so I expect them to turn slightly brown.
I washed the sprouts, then spun them in the salad spinner to get rid of any excess moisture. I didn’t measure, but I attempted to divide the sprouts equally into all 12 jars. It was about a handful of sprouts per jar.
I chopped the large head of romaine lettuce, rinsed and spun it in the salad spinner. Each jar got about 1 cup of romaine (Give or take…again, I didn’t use a measuring cup. I just grabbed a handful and tried to place the lettuce in the jars evenly.)
Focusing on the Cranberry-Chicken-Walnut Salad –> Add 1/4 cup of dried cranberries to the four jars in the second row.
Now all 12 jars need the remaining lettuce. Cut one head of iceberg lettuce, rinse and spin. Evenly distribute the lettuce into each jar. Approximately 1 cup. Then cut at least 4 mini carrots (or 1/2 a large carrot) for each of the BBQ-Chicken-Cheddar Salads in the back row.
Your jars should almost be filled to the top with yumminess! Now its time to add the BEST part…cheese & toppings. Add feta cheese to the first two rows and cheddar cheese to the last row. Almond slivers go in the first row, walnuts in the center row… and tortilla chips/croutons could be added to the last row (but I decided not to add them…I don’t want the moisture to make them all soggy…so I will add them later).
Tighten the lids on each jar to ensure you have a good seal. Then place them in the refrigerator and eat them over the next 6-7 days.
Day #2: Friday, July 12th
Time to test out my salad!
Okay…so I was very excited to test out my salad (my husband was too). We both decided to have the Strawberry-Pear-Chicken-Almond Salad. When I pulled the salads out of the refrigerator, I was slightly nervous about the condensation building up on the inside of the jar (I am glad I spun the greens, otherwise I would have way too much moisture building up inside).
These two were both without salad dressing, so we could choose any of our favorites to add to the salad. Plus, you can always add croutons or more almonds.
Initially I just poured the salad onto my plate. Everything still looked fresh and crisp. The pears did turn a little darker, but that is to be expected.
So, you could just drizzle your dressing on top of your salad, but I like mine tossed. I decided to dirty up a bowl and mix my salad with my dressing. Now, if you are taking this to work, then I would suggest either taking a plastic bag (if you like the tossed salad)…or save a bag and take a larger Tupperware container so you can shake it up.
YUMMY!!!! I mean it! Fresh, crisp, super tasty, and filling! This salad is only 283 calories. No prep (except the mixing of the salad). The only thing I noticed was that the sliced almonds were a little soft. Next time I may allow the greens to air dry before placing them into the jar. My husband told me he LOVED his salad too. It’s nice to change things up from the simple lettuce and carrot salad. Can’t wait to try a new salad tomorrow.
Join me tomorrow to see how the salads turn out on Day #3.
*This was a Pinterest inspired post. The salad recipes are my own creations, but the Mason Jar is taken from Pinterest.