Manic Meal Monday

January 10, 2012

While not a hard and fast tradition, it’s true that most Sundays, I’ll prepare enough food to get me through either lunches or dinners (sometimes both if I’m ambitious) for the week. I’d like to credit my amazing organizational skills (ha! I mean, yes, I have them….somewhere…), but this manic food prep is more likely borne from the fact that I’m a single gal on the run. I like to cook, but am often pretty busy. I eat the same thing meal after meal because…I’m often the only one eating it! So I have a few favorites that I like, and I’ll post those sometimes. Maybe they can help you, too! I’ve done pretty well at weeding out things that don’t taste as good reheated.

Related aside and tip: last year I was commuting to work with a fellow graduate student. We had similar interests in eating healthy, hearty foods and saving money by bringing our lunch to work. But we also had the same problem of feeling like we ate the same thing day after day until we were sick of the leftovers. So we had “lunch club” where we alternated bringing in two portions of leftovers so that we each had a meal. It was such a relief to have a homecooked meal when I was really busy, and such a joy to share good recipes I’d tried with someone else.

But I have a treat for today’s manic meal! After seeing several pins on Pinterest about Mason Jar Meals, I decided to try one. My main inspiration came from Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body, who posted a recipe for salads in a jar. There are also some good ideas for prepping full meals for the week and storing them in jars on Big Red Kitchen.

For my salads, I used pre-cooked chicken (1/2 cup = 2 PointsPlus on WW), quinoa (1/4 cup uncooked = 4 PointsPlus), grape tomatoes (about 6-7), raw zucchini (about 1/4 cup), orange bell pepper (about 1/4 of the pepper), baby spinach (enough to top it off…probably about a cup per jar), and Wishbone balsamic vinaigrette (2 Tbsp. = 2 PointsPlus) [Grand total of 8 PointsPlus and a ton of good protein!]. Everything was layered in a quart (32 oz.) wide mouth Mason jar.

I may have overstuffed my first attempt at this, because I shook one today like a salad shaker, and, well, the spinach doesn’t shake with everything else. But you can see that everything else blended nicely, and when I dumped it out onto a plate, my co-workers oohed and ahhed over my very restaurant-looking salad that really, outside of the time it took for the quinoa to cool before I put it in the jar, took about 10-15 minutes to make 3 of. Yum. I might add a little more dressing next time, but this was tasty. And pretty.

Just make sure you don’t let the dressing and leafy greens touch, and that anything you cook is fully cooled before you put it in the jars.



  1. Oh, that looks really good. I like the idea of layering the salad in a jar as opposed to a Tupperware container which is how I normally do it. Just to clarify, you put the dressing in first?

    • Hi Kathryn. It WAS really good! And, yes, I put the dressing in the jar first, and then layered based on bulk/ability to withstand being a little soaked in dressing.

  2. […] Stacie: A training journey. « Manic Meal Monday Salad in a Jar Success January 12, […]

  3. Great idea! Love it!

  4. What a great idea! I need to be more diligent about meal planning.

  5. I’m impressed with all this Stace! I’m back on the WW, too 🙂

    • Thanks, lady! I am struggling to get back on the train post-holidays, but I think my current running hiatus is going to require me to be even more mindful of my eating. Why is there so much chocolate and cheese in the world??

  6. […] and yesterday brought both manic food shopping and preparation. It would be hard to top the last Manic Meal Monday in terms of ease of preparation, but this comes close, especially if you purchase pre-cut butternut […]

  7. […] ass? Give it a shot, you may be surprised), some great recipes, and some time-saving ideas (like my Salad in a Jar!). So if you’re willing to get sucked into a black hole the first few times you log in, give […]

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