Monday, April 15, 2013

Salad in a Jar

I've been seeing this around Pinterest and the blogosphere and I thought it sounded like a great way to have a ready-made, healthy lunch.  So this weekend, Jon and I decided to get all the stuff to try it this week.  I give you... our Salad In A Jar Adventure!

First off, I've seen lots of posts and pins about this, and I was sure someone recommended the Quart jars.  When we saw them, however, they looked huge, so for our experiment we tried Pint jars.  We got the Ball Mason Jars, with the thought that if they ended up being too small, we can use them for preserves and pickles when our veggies and fruits start growing.  We picked ours up at Wal-Mart, but I think you can get them most places - I even saw them at a dollar store a few weeks ago.

We wanted to keep it simple the first time out, so we bought romaine lettuce, spinach, cucumbers and carrots.  We also bought ranch dressing, since it's the one dressing we both like.  Not light ranch, though.  That stuff is nasty!

We decided not to put the dressing in the jar - that was my choice, because I was a little afraid of how it would do and wanted to try doing it without the first time.  Which is funny because we both left the house without our containers of dressing and had to go buy some!  So yeah, next time it's going in the jar where it belongs.

We layered like this: cucumbers, carrots, spinach, lettuce.  Jon also grilled some chicken breasts on our George Foreman grill (because it was storming outside) and we tossed that into the jar at the end, so it was on top.  Normally, that would probably go on bottom because it's a heavier ingredient, but it didn't seem to cause any trouble, at least for Day 1.

We made 10 jars of salad, one for each of us for every day this week.  Don't they look pretty?  This pic is without the chicken because it was still being grilled at the time.  I told him we needed to put a layer of something between the two green layers, just to make it prettier.  He looked at me like I was crazy, as usual.  Hey, part of the fun of this little experiment was how pretty my lunch could be!

We did our assembly-line style, where I chopped up one ingredient and put it in, and he went behind me and did his.  It worked out pretty well, and we got all 10 jars finished in less than 20 minutes.

So, of course, the burning question on everyone's mind is, how did it turn out.  I was a little worried when we started packing the jars that there wouldn't be enough salad.  But when I poured it out onto a plate today, it was more than enough.  Since I had to go buy dressing anyway, I also bought some cheese and garlic croutons, which will stay at my desk for the rest of the week.  I think one bag will last the entire week without any trouble at all.  So that's it - our Salad in a Jar Adventure.  We shall see by Friday if they stayed fresh enough to eat all week.  For now, though, my tummy is full and I feel great about having a healthy and delicious lunch.  So I'm calling it at least a partial win.  If we end up having to do half the week on Sunday and half on Wednesday, that's still better than making a sandwich every morning, in my opinion!

So my final thought on this Pinterest project is - try it.  I think it's going to change everything for us - or at least it will change how we prepare lunch!

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