Mason Jar Meal Tip #3: Design beautiful mason jar meal options for your family before leaving town.
Feed them. That’s the secret. Make it simple. Let there be options. Let there be treats. Let there be healthy choices. Last weekend I went away to my parent’s home in Smith Mountain Lake, me, myself, and I. Not only was it my Birthday Weekend, but my Auntie Josie, Ma’s sister was in town and I wanted to see her. The one major thing I have learned from leaving my Hubby in charge is to make his life easier by having the fridge filled with readily designed meals and food options for quick and easy meals. Yeah he can cook, but when you are left behind with three children with very full schedules, every little thing helps. I knew he would be busy with taking them to their lessons, baseball games, Boy Scout events, tutoring, haircuts, church, Sunday school, and practices. During the weekend I checked in at home to see how things were going and how the meals were working out. “Great,” said Himself, “right now Zuzu is having a chicken quesadilla, Daelyn is having a burger, and I am having chili.” He sounded like a short order cook at the local diner! I was thrilled they enjoyed the options.
It took about 90 minutes to prepare the bulk of the items, the brownies had been done the day before, and the Pastiera pulled from the freezer, but the payoff was full lunch boxes, fully bellies, and a happy family. Hopefully they can’t wait until I leave again…
1/3 pound each raw pastured hamburger patties
One pound organic un-cured bacon
Homemade Rotisserie Chicken- pulled
Options: Bacon Cheeseburgers, bacon and eggs, bacon butties, chili mac, chili nachos, my kids even like buttered pasta. For the chicken- quesadillas, chicken salad, BBQ’d chicken sandwiches, chicken BLT’s. You get the idea.
Pastiera di Pepperoni- pulled a few from the freezer
Philly Cheesesteaks- cut rolls to length of 1/2 pint mason jar and fill with meat. I think I used 1.5 pounds of beef to make 6 sandwiches, wrapped them in waxed paper and placed in the jars. The kids microwave these in the paper for about 30 seconds.
Options: These options were for the lunch box and quick snacks. All war broke out when Daddy ate one of the kids’ cheesesteak. Heh heh.
4 ounce un-sweetened organic apple sauce snack cups sprinkled with cinnamon.
Sliced organic strawberries
Non-melting Mason Jar Bownie Sundaes
Options: This shelf was for healthy treats and sweet treats for their lunch boxes, after school snacks, or dessert.
Not Shown: In the crisper drawers were eggs, salad greens, raw carrots, celery, shredded and sliced cheese, and cucumbers. On the counter was bread, hamburger buns, tortillas, and bagels, along with apples, bananas, pears, and tomatoes.
1. When making MJMs make enough for 3-5 days. Use smart judgement on how long to safely store jars of food. Once my food gets to the 3-5 day mark, and if it is freezable, it goes in the freezer, otherwise it must be eaten on CORN (clean out refrigerator night), or it gets tossed. I daily keep an eye on my jars, what needs to eaten right away and what can wait. Seafood always gets eaten within 24 hours of purchase unless frozen in which I allow it to defrost in the fridge 48 hours.
2. I freeze many of my MJMs and rotate into my fridge to provide more options.
3. Vary the portion sizes. Sometimes we work from a large quart jar and sometimes I break the foods down into smaller individual portions using 8 ounce or 4 ounce jars. The smaller sizes are perfect for the lunch box and the larger for family meals. If your family is even bigger, double the recipes and fill a few quart sized jars.
4. Cooking for 1 or 2? You have two choices here: 1. Make the recipe that feeds 4-6 and portion it out into smaller mason jars and freeze to rotate into future menu plans or 2. Cut recipes in half, enjoy for dinner and the next day for lunch. With the first option, if you do this enough times, you will enjoy a large variety of meals during the week, something that is often missed when cooking for one.
5. As you can see, some of my MJMs are complete meals in the jar and just need to be served with a side of fruit and veggies, while others are pieces to a meal, such as the bacon, chicken, pasta, and chili. By making both you are giving yourself a huge amount of options.
Not only is this great for when you go away, why not try it for when you are home?
Another way BRK is KEEPING IT GLASSY