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Mason Jar Salads

by on Jan.21, 2014, under Yummies

Mason Jar Salads

If  you’ve spent any time on pinterest recently, you’re sure to have noticed the current mason jar craze taking over feeds everywhere. Oh, you haven’t seen this?!? Well maybe I just have a few jar-crazy friends 😉 Sadly, I too have now become another statistic to the mason jar epidemic.

It started innocently enough. The polar vortex has been bringing lots of cold air to my little slice of heaven in the south, thus I have been eating an inordinate amount of soup as of late. Soup is one of those weird things that I typically don’t think of as a ‘meal’ except when I am sick. Lately though I have actually been craving it, which is totally bizarre for me. Along with all this soup I still wanted something of substance to crunch on, thus the idea of a pairing salad with it. I know, revolutionary, right? Watch out world, I’ll be figuring out this whole ‘internet’ thing next!

Now I kept seeing these pins for salads in mason jars claiming that they stay fresh for days, and I finally had a friend share a post that made some sense for me out of these claims. It detailed how to layer your jar salad to keep things from becoming soggy and unappetizing. So off to the store I zoomed for salad fixing and some jars* to try this out.

So, according to eHow, the proper way to layer your mason jar salad (from bottom to top) to keep them fresh is as follows:

  1. Dressing (your wettest ingredient)
  2. Marinade-able ingredients. Examples are dried fruit, picked veggies, and/or root veggies like carrots, onion, or radishes.
  3. Wet Ingredients. Such as cucumber, tomatoes, corn, apple, or anything else that would make the lettuce go soggy.
  4. Dry Ingredients. Beans, meats, cheese, whole berries, etc.
  5. Lettuce and toppings. I am still experimenting if its works better to do croutons bellow or on top of the lettuce. This is also where you can include such things as edible flowers, nuts, or tortilla strips.

*Jars – I never realized how many different types of mason jars there are. I went with a wide-mouth quart jar, which has turned out to be just perfect. Easy to get things in and out of, and makes a good main entree salad serving size.

The great thing about these salads is, once you get the basics of layering down, they are infinitely customizable. Below are 4 salads I have made recently that I came up with off the top of my head. Don’t like something in my version, no worries, kick it out and replace with something you do like!

Taco Salad

My version was meatless, but you could easily throw some leftover taco filling or fajita meat in for some extra protein.

 

Taco Salad

Chipotle Dressing
Tomatoes
Corn
Avocado
Onion
Cheese
Lettuce
Tortilla Strips

 

 

BLT Salad

This salad was sooo good I wanted to do x-rated things to it!

BLT Salad

Ranch Dressing
Tomatos
Red Onion
Crumbled Bacon
Hard Boiled Egg slices
Blue Cheese Crumbles
Croutons
Lettuce

 

 

Strawberry Fields

I got so excited to eat this one, I forgot to take a picture before I got it out of the jar and started munching down!

 

 

Strawberry Fields Salad

Raspberry Vinaigrette
Dried Cherries
Sliced Strawberries
Sliced Apples
Honey Roasted Almond Slivers
Feta Cheese Crumbles
Lettuce

 

 

 

Greek Salad

Any excuse to add artichoke hearts to a recipe! Tangy and delicious paired with a lemon chicken orzo soup!

Greek Salad

Greek Dressing
Cucumber
Artichoke Hearts
Tomatoes
Black Olives
Red Onion
Feta Cheese
Lettuce

Update: After trying several iterations with the croutons in different places, I would definitely recommend them on top, or carried separately (I know, hassle). If your salad is not going to sit long before eating, they will remain mostly crunchy on top. After 24 hours in the jar however, then get kind of soggy. Personally, I just brought a small sandwich bag of them to my office to add at the time I devour my salad.

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A New Way to Look at Your Food

by on Jul.19, 2010, under Miscellanea, Yummies

Ever wonder what your favorite fruits or vegetables looked like inside before you hacked into them? Well wonder no longer. The site InsideInsides has a set of MRI videos showing scans of several popular foods. Warning: it does take a few seconds to load all of the animation. One they are going though, it is so cool!

Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Foods

Pineapple

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Avocado & Mango Salsa

by on Apr.12, 2010, under Yummies

I found this recipe in all places, the comments of an NPR article about avocados. I had bought both an avocado and mango at the farmer’s market because they each looked so ripe and delicious. I got home and realized I didn’t really have anything in my recipe book that called for either as a main ingredient. I really wanted to make them the star of a dish. The pair evoked a Caribbean inspiration in me, so I set out to create an entire Caribbean-themed meal.  To that end, I stumbled across this little gem of a recipe and instantly thought it would be a wonderfully flavorful topping for Jerk Chicken. Something sweet to balance out the heat of the Jerk spices. I have also served this on it’s own as a dip with tortilla chips. It’s is so good though, I am not ashamed to share that I have eaten this straight out of the bowl by itself.

avocado mango salsa

Mango and Avocado Salsa

2 ears grilled corn on the cob*
1 mango, diced
1 Hass avocado, diced
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 roasted red pepper, diced*
1 small jalapeno, diced without seeds
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 lime, juiced
Salt to taste

  1. Once corn is grilled, hold corn upright on a cutting board and slice corn kernels off cob.
  2. Mix kernels in bowl with all remaining ingredients except avocado.
  3. Let sit in refrigerator for at least half an hour for the flavors to mingle.
  4. Before serving, add diced avocado.
  5. Mix gently, adding more olive oil and salt to taste.

avocado mango salsa

* I can’t endorse trying this yourself for safety reasons, but I got this idea for roasting red peppers and corn indoors from one of the cooks on the Food Network after she demonstrated it on an episode of her Saturday morning show. I use my all-metal steamer basket placed over one of my gas burners to roast both my corn and red pepper. While this has turned my steamer basket some funny colors, it seems to be holding up fine and the corn and peppers turn out perfect! I just turn the items every few minutes with long tongs over medium heat to roast them on all sides.

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Mexican Corn Dip

by on Apr.04, 2010, under Yummies

I was given this quick and easy dip recipe from a woman I used to work with years ago. It’s written on a scrap of paper and has been stuffed in my recipe book as a never-fail fixture since I received it. Anytime I need to bring something to a Mexican themed party, I whip this little gem out and there are never any leftovers.

Mexican Corn Dip

2-11oz cans of Mexi-corn
1 cup Mexican Cheese
1 cup Pepper Jack Cheese
1 cup Fat Free Mayonnaise

*For an extra spicy experience, you can add some chopped jalapeños to the mix.

  1. Drain corn and combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mixing well.
  2. Pour into dish and bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes until cheese is bubbly.

Serve with tortilla chips. Also would make a great addition to tacos or quesadillas.

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