I have a few recurring themes on the blog, things that have floated around since the very beginning. One of them that keeps popping up again and again is how much I hate lunch. I actually kind of enjoy packing my kids a lunch for school–there’s something kind of fun and therapeutic about packing them up something fun and tasty and putting it in their cute lunch boxes. But when we’re all home all day? Kill me. I hate it. And I especially hate feeding myself at lunchtime. My kids are cool with finger foods or turkey sandwiches or mac and cheese, but I get sick of eating the same thing day in and day out. And macaroni and cheese hasn’t tasted the same since I was, like, 7. Honestly, I’d be okay eating cold cereal for lunch except that then my kids would want it, too, and I would feel simultaneously guilty (for not feeding them something awesome) and resentful (that they were eating my cereal) and then guilty again (for feelings resentful; Mom Guilt is a unique art form). Plus, these days, I’m trying to eat healthy, which makes lunchtime even harder.
Enter: Salad in a Jar.
I’ve seen this idea floating around for awhile now, so I decided to make lunch easier for myself, I’d pre-make a bunch of salads in quart-sized Mason jars and keep them in my fridge. Then I can pull one out at lunch while I’m wrangling kids or feeding the baby or hiding in my bedroom watching Mad Men, feeling like my behavior of late is suspiciously Betty Draper-ish (although I guarantee that Betty Draper never wore yoga pants in her whole life).
This particular dressing (and the salad I made to go with it) is not really healthy eating-friendly. But it was delicious, and all things in moderation, right? Yeah, we totally abide by that here at Our Best Bites (my sarcastic button on my keyboard is broken…)
For the dressing, you’ll need red wine vinegar, honey, stone-ground mustard, lime juice, freshly ground black pepper, kosher salt, smoked paprika, garlic, chopped onion, oregano, a pinch of white sugar (if you need it), and olive oil.
For the salad, I used chopped romaine, spinach, shredded Swiss cheese…
and chopped bacon and grilled chicken breast, sliced red onions, chopped hard-boiled eggs, and sliced mushrooms.
There’s no real science to layering the salad ingredients, but you do want to make sure that the greens you’re using aren’t damp at all because it will make your other ingredients soggy. I also tried to keep moist ingredients away from things like cheese and the mushrooms to avoid the slime factor.
I filled my jars up a little bit more than in this particular picture, but just be sure to leave enough space that you drizzle dressing over the top, close the lid, and shake up the jar so you get a little bite of everything in your salad.
These would also be awesome for parties–tie forks onto the jars with twine or a cute ribbon and either include the dressing in the bottom of the jar or have a variety of pre-measured dressings in little cups for your guests.