salad in a jar

lunchbox life: chicken blt salad with homemade honey mustard dressing

image1(15)I know, I know–I’m getting a little too much into variations on the same theme. But people, I’m telling you: this salad in a jar business is going to change the way you think about meal prep and salad. If you haven’t tried it yet, here’s another take on this idea.

While I’m thrilled that we only have four weeks of school left, I’m taking a deep breath this evening before we descend into four weeks of testing. You read that correctly: four weeks. This is all over Georgia, not just at my school. State politics aside, let’s just say that I speak for many teachers when I say that education shouldn’t be this way. Without getting too far into a standardized testing rant, let’s just say that I’ll need lots of good energy for sustained patience this week…and the next three.

This salad is a total crowd pleaser; it has accessible ingredients for less-than-adventurous palates with honey mustard, grape tomatoes, chicken, and bacon. It also features several local ingredients: raw corn kernels, green peas, and beautiful salad greens.

I used my go-to shortcut for the chicken this week: skinning and picking the meat off of a Kroger rotisserie chicken. I had about 1/2 cup of chicken leftover that I may use for dinner later this week, but at $5.99 for a whole chicken that’s been recently cooked for you, it’s a steal! The only thing I actually cooked was the bacon, then I threw together the dressing in about 60 seconds.

Send good thoughts to public school teachers for the next month–testing season is upon us!

Chicken BLT Salad with Homemade Honey Mustard Dressing

1 whole rotisserie chicken, skinned and shredded

8 slices of bacon

1 cup fresh green peas

4 corn cobs, corn sliced off of the cob

1 pint cherry tomatoes

5 cups salad greens

For the dressing:

2 Tbsp. dijon mustard

1 Tbsp. honey or agave nectar

2 Tbsp. champagne vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)

1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

Cook the bacon, let cool, then crumble. Add the dressing ingredients to a small jar, shake vigorously, then divide evenly between five large jars. Next, add the green peas, then the corn, then the whole grape tomatoes, then the bacon, chicken, and salad greens.

lunchbox life: taco salad in jars

image1(8)Oops, I did it again.

I had such a great experience with last week’s salad in a jar that I decided to give it another go, but this time, with a Mexican twist. The combinations are seriously endless with this salad in a jar method, and the prep is super easy, too.

This jar includes, from bottom to top: a cumin lime vinaigrette, shredded carrots, a sweet corn-tomato-cilantro mix, seasoned ground turkey and onion, diced cotija cheese, romaine lettuce, and crushed blue corn tortilla chips. A super healthy meal, this lunch packs a protein punch with tons of flavor and fresh veggies.

Taco Salad in Jars

1 lb. ground turkey

2 tsp. olive oil

1 small onion, halved and sliced

2 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. coriander

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

2 tsp. salt

juice of 1 lime

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. cumin

1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1 cup shredded carrots

1/2 cup halved grape tomatoes

2 ears of corn, kernels cut off

2 tsp. fresh cilantro, chopped

4 oz. cotija cheese, small diced

20 blue tortilla chips

In a large frying pan, heat the 2 tsp. olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, coriander, red pepper flakes, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Cook for about three minutes, then add the ground turkey, smashing to combine with the onion and spices. Heat until cooked through, then turn the heat to low.

In a small jar, shake together the rest of the cumin, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper. In a small bowl, combine the corn kernels, sliced grape tomatoes, and cilantro.

Line up the five jars and evenly divide the ingredients in the following order: dressing, shredded carrots, corn-tomato-cilantro, ground turkey, cotija cheese, lettuce, tortilla chips.

lunchbox life: thai peanut chicken salad in mason jars

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Many of you may have seen this ingenious idea on Pinterest. I wish I could take credit for the delivery of this salad, but many pinners before me deserve that credit. I figured that it was about time for me to try out this upside-down salad trick, so I stuck to a familiar favorite: my thai peanut dressing. I’ve used this dressing for cold salads and warm noodles, and its umami appeal can make anything taste scrumptious. By using the cabbage, radishes, and celery from our CSA box and adding the bell pepper, cilantro, and green onion, I knew that this could be a visually appealing salad in a jar. When I cook recipes with an Asian flair, I prefer to use chicken thighs in lieu of breasts because of its fuller flavor and because many Asian restaurants use the thigh instead of the breast in their dishes.

The preparation of the chicken is easy and–I kid you not–makes it taste like breaded fried chicken. Even though you’ll only use 2 Tbsp. butter for five servings, the butter, salt, and pepper create a crust on the outside of the skinless chicken that is crispy and delicious. I’d make this chicken for dinner to add protein to any plate.

Thai Peanut Chicken Salad in Mason Jars

2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs

2 Tbsp. butter

salt and pepper

1/2 head of cabbage, sliced

1.5 cups shelled edamame

about 1 cup finely chopped celery

about 1 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper

about 1 cup thinly sliced radishes

about 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

about 1/3 cup chopped green onions

For the dressing:

2 Tbsp. crunchy peanut butter

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 tsp. fish sauce

2 tsp. Sriracha

1 tsp. rice wine vinegar

1 tsp. sesame oil

juice of 1 lime

Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a small mason jar. Place the lid on tightly and shake. If needed, take the lid off and microwave for about 15 seconds to break up the peanut butter. Put the lid back on, shake again, and set aside.

Heat 1 Tbsp. butter over medium high heat in a large frying pan. Unpeel the chicken thighs and place them smooth-side down on a plate. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper, then put half of them seasoned-side down in the melted butter. Salt and pepper the smooth sides while the chicken is in the pan and let it cook on each side for about 6-8 minutes. When this batch is done, place them on a cutting board, melt the other Tbsp. butter, and repeat the process. Let all of the chicken cool on the cutting board before slicing.

While the chicken is cooking, chop the veggies.

To assemble, take 5 quart-size jars and pour 2 Tbsp. peanut dressing in the bottom of each jar. Next, evenly divide the edamame between the jars, then the bell pepper, then the radishes, then the cilantro, then the green onions. Slice the chicken lengthwise, then evenly divide it between the jars. Last, fill the remaining space with the sliced cabbage. Place the lids on all of the jars tightly and refrigerate.

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