How to Make Mason Jar Meals: Part 2

Hmmm, I think I am on to something here, this whole Mason Jar Meal idea that is. I have combed every store in my area for a variety of Mason jar sizes because my brain has gone into over-drive with ideas. I saw a cute quote that other day that sums up my thought life perfectly, “I can’t sleep because my brain keeps talking to itself.” In this post I will share some of the meals and their recipes used to make Mason Jar Meals- MJMs.

Benefits of these MJMs are…

1. No more wasting food
2. No more not knowing what to have for dinner
3. No more cooking every night
4. No more blah food
5. No more messy refrigerator
6. No more plastic containers
7. No more unhealthy food- well maybe. Wink.
8. No more coming home from CrossFit ravenous, but too comatose to cook.
9. No more eating out every day for lunch.

WHY MASON JARS?
1. Dishwasher safe
2. Re-usable
3. Not plastic
4. Clear
5. Stain-proof
6. Make food look delicious
7. Stackable and packable
8. Lids and jars can be purchased separately
9. Help control portions
10. Inexpensive


In yesterday’s post, How to Make Mason Jar Meals: Part 1, I instructed you to lay out all the ingredients you would be using for your MJM. Here is my list…

Proteins
Organic boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Organic eggs
Wild-caught sockeye salmon
Uncured Bacon

Vegetables
Broccoli slaw- never again- smells gassy
Onions
Baby mixed greens
Green beans- Haricot verts
Fresh Dill- for roasting on the salmon
Fresh cilantro
Fresh basil

Tubers- not Paleo
Red New Potatoes
Yams

Fruit
Melon
Cantaloupe
Red grapes
Cherries
Lemons
Mandarin oranges
Black Olives
Cherry tomatoes
Strawberries

Legumes- not Paleo
Chick Peas

Cheese- not Paleo
Feta

Nuts and Seeds
Quinoa
Almonds
Sesame Seed

Healthy Oils
Extra virgin olive oil
Coconut oil

Other
Balsamic Vinegar- for roasting the green beans
Vinaigrette dressings for the salads
Sea Salt
Black pepper

THE MEALS I MADE
Yam and Chickpea Salad x 2 quarts
Chicken Ramen Salad x 2 quarts
Salmon Niçoise Salad x 4 pints
Chicken Cobb Salad x 4 pints
Greek Quinoa Salad x 4 halfpints
Fruit Cups x 9 halfpints


Chicken Ramen Salad- Divide the dressing evenly between 2 quart-sized Mason jars then layer the chicken, slaw (I used broccoli slaw which was too smelly-never again!), and the other ingredients ending with the almonds. Wrap the ramen noodles separately and store with the jar in the refrigerator.

Yam and Chickpea Salad- Divide the dressing evenly between 2 quart-sized Mason jars then layer the chickpeas, sweet potatoes (I roasted mine this time mixed with olive oil and pumpkin spice with a bit of salt and pepper), then the onions, finishing with the cilantro.


Salmon Niçoise Salad- In a pint-sized Mason jar add 2 tablespoons of your favorite vinaigrette dressing, then layer roasted green beans, one half hard boiled egg, cherry tomatoes, black olives, roasted new potatoes, and roasted salmon. This was my favorite salad!

Chicken Cobb Salad- In a pint-sized Mason jar add 2 tablespoons of your favorite vinaigrette dressing, then layer roasted chicken, chopped hard boiled eggs, chopped bacon, cherry tomatoes, and mixed baby greens. I left the avocado out of this salad since I figured it would brown and look gross.

Quinoa Greek Salad- In a halfpint jar layer 1 tablespoon vinaigrette dressing, cherry tomatoes, cubed Feta cheese, quinoa, and fresh basil leaves. These made great mid-afternoon snacks.


And lastly, Fruit Cups. If I do not wash, peel, cut, chew, and spit fruit into my children’s mouths, they will not eat it. These little fruit cups are colorful and appealing and did a great job with keeping me on track with getting my fruit in each day.

Some of you have asked how I stay so trim. I do so by following a modified Paleo diet, sometimes going strict, and going to CrossFit. The side effects of this lifestyle in the last 18 months have been a 25 pound weight loss, being the fittest I have ever been in my entire life, and having more energy now than I did during my college years. I did not go into CrossFit to lose weight, I did it to get in shape and feel stronger, then in the long run I lost the weight. I am not perfect but I try, and I think these MJM’s will keep me on track.

Related Posts: How to Make Mason Jar Meals: Part 1
More Mason Jar Meal Ideas Part I
More Mason Jar Meal Ideas Part II


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58 Comments

  1. avatar kheli
    Posted 08/02/2011 at 9:52 AM | Permalink

    LOVE! I have forwarded this link to my hubby who loves to can everything!

  2. avatar janetha @ meals & moves
    Posted 08/02/2011 at 1:06 PM | Permalink

    Awesome ideas! I can't wait to make some MJMs of my own!

  3. avatar Anonymous
    Posted 08/03/2011 at 10:27 AM | Permalink

    Ummm…. how come you're not on Food Network?!? I think you could easily have a show with your wit, humor and creativity and would generate quite a following. Love your transparency and encouragement! Blessings, Sharon

  4. avatar Big Dude
    Posted 08/04/2011 at 8:19 AM | Permalink

    Very interesting concept Robin Sue, especially for folks who don't have time to cook every day. How are the meals when you eat them and do the flavors cross much, eg. – does the chicken taste like broccoli or does everything in the jar taste like salmon? Like many people we store leftovers in seperate containers, but this could be a better way and the next meal is all in one jar.

  5. avatar Robin Sue
    Posted 08/04/2011 at 9:50 AM | Permalink

    Big Dude- Hi Larry, the broccoli did make everything taste like broccoli so I will not use it for that recipe again. I usually use cabbage slaw. I did not have any trouble with the salmon stinking everything else up, and it remained very fresh tasting- Himself had one on day 7 and it was very fresh. So maybe the glass helps with this?? Now when I have leftovers I layer them in jars, even pasta and sauce so that it looks like a new meal instead of leftovers if I had mixed it all together. Now the kids can grab a "leftover" jar and have a nice new looking lunch.

  6. avatar highplainsdrifters
    Posted 08/04/2011 at 9:54 AM | Permalink

    you'd better trademark MSM quick!

  7. avatar Robin Sue
    Posted 08/05/2011 at 1:18 PM | Permalink

    Sharon- thank you so much for the compliment! Some day maybe!

  8. avatar schvin
    Posted 08/06/2011 at 6:54 PM | Permalink

    very cool. i will definitely be trying out at least the niçoise salad!

  9. avatar oneordinaryday
    Posted 08/08/2011 at 7:46 AM | Permalink

    I was just looking at all the sizes of mason jars in the store the other day. I use them for drinking glasses too, but you are really onto something here.

    BTW, you are superwoman. Look at those weights! WOW!

  10. avatar Biz
    Posted 08/09/2011 at 12:16 PM | Permalink

    You are so fricken creative!! Love the idea of Mason jar meals!

    When I grow up I want your arms – thanks! :D

  11. avatar Inspired by eRecipeCards
    Posted 08/12/2011 at 10:15 PM | Permalink

    OMG you are that organized??? Best i can do is Mason Jar soup gifts (and I keep a few for myself).

  12. avatar Evin
    Posted 09/12/2011 at 5:30 PM | Permalink

    These are so cool! Can you show us some plated? Do you just dump them out? Eat them right out of the jar? How's it work? I'm dying to try it…

  13. avatar Robin Sue
    Posted 09/13/2011 at 6:35 AM | Permalink

    Evin- The large salad ones, I dumped out and tossed, heating the sweet potato one a bit to take the chill off. They come out of the jars nicely and all the items can be plated in any fashion you would like. Some can be heated in the jar and eaten from the jar too- my kids do this with mac and cheese or any other pasta dish I serve them. Thanks for asking, Enjoy!

  14. avatar Jillian
    Posted 09/14/2011 at 3:15 PM | Permalink

    I love this idea! I will definitely try this soon. AFTER I clean out the fridge. lol

  15. avatar sarah / book bound bindery
    Posted 10/07/2011 at 1:25 PM | Permalink

    I'm excited to try this out. Has anyone had trouble with jars breaking from the kiddos handling them?

  16. avatar Robin Sue
    Posted 10/07/2011 at 2:43 PM | Permalink

    Sarah, we have yet to break one. We have dropped them a few times on our tile floor by all was fine!!

  17. avatar jen
    Posted 10/15/2011 at 1:38 PM | Permalink

    "If I do not wash, peel, cut, chew, and spit fruit into my children's mouths, they will not eat it."

    Quite possibly my favorite sentence ever. I LOL'd and made my husband come from the other room so I could read it to him.

  18. avatar Kelly
    Posted 10/22/2011 at 3:10 PM | Permalink

    Have you ever considered vacuum sealing these to take out all the air using a foodsaver and the mason jar attachment? I'm wondering how long they would last that way. I would love to be able to pack up lunches on Sunday evenings and have them for the whole week already planned out and put together in the fridge. I'm going to try this with the vacuum sealing and see how fresh it stays with taking out all of the oxygen! :)

  19. avatar Anonymous
    Posted 10/23/2011 at 3:29 AM | Permalink

    Here's a way to keep your salad greens fresh for a whole week with vacuum sealing in mason jars.
    http://www.salad-in-a-jar.com/skinny-secrets/salad-in-a-jar

  20. avatar Candi
    Posted 12/03/2011 at 9:28 PM | Permalink

    What a great idea. I have tons of mason jars and this would be a great way to use them after canning madness is over!

  21. avatar Brandi
    Posted 12/28/2011 at 10:09 PM | Permalink

    Hi,
    This looks like such an awesome idea. I see one that looks like a cheesecake?! It is? Could we know that recipe?
    Thanks

  22. avatar Robin Sue
    Posted 12/29/2011 at 10:58 AM | Permalink

    Brandi- Thanks! I have not done a cheesecake yet. Maybe you saw the tapioca pudding or oatmeal? But now that you mention it, I will have to work on a cheesecake idea!
    Robin Sue

  23. avatar Kristy Tillman
    Posted 01/05/2012 at 1:21 AM | Permalink

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this!! We store all of our produce in mason jars now and it REALLY makes them stay fresh WAY longer. This is a great idea though! I could make everything after I get back from the market!!

    Just curious…do your lids rust? I have a difficult time using the metal lids since they always seem to rust. I have used the plastic ones and although they leak, that's not usually a big deal with fresh brussel sprouts in the refrigerator. lol Plus my food doesn't touch them.

  24. avatar Robin Sue
    Posted 01/05/2012 at 9:50 AM | Permalink

    Hi Kristy- I notice the lids get a bit of rust on them if I leave them to dry overnight after washing. I scrub the rust off and still use them since I am not "canning" the food. If the lid is bad I toss it. Glad you like this idea, it has become a way of life for us here and I hope it can help many save time and be inspired!

  25. avatar elise
    Posted 01/08/2012 at 6:26 AM | Permalink

    Another great thing about mason jars, they fit on your blender. I make fruit smoothies and prepare them on Sunday for my breakfast. You can also add spinach or kale to get your greens, without tasting it.

    I take fresh fruit, layer it with spinach on top. Then in the AM, I pour almond or coconut milk to thin it out and put it on my blender. Put the top on, take to work and drink it as breakfast.

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