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  • Hui Hui Lee, RD/LD

Meals in a jar


Howdy my friends! It is so hot outside! I hope you all are staying hydrated and staying cool. The warm temperatures really make me switch up a little of my meal prep. Most of us, during the summer time, enjoy more cooling foods, and try to do the minimum in the oven and on the stove. I also know a lot of us during the summer are busy with many fun social activities, which take a significant amount of time from our routine meal prepping. With a good plan, all of these mentioned factors (the heat, busy schedule, and many other excuses) should not jeopardize our healthy eating routine.


I love the idea of mason jar meals, which is perfect for summer. Meal jar meals take very minimum cooking time for meal prepping. All we do is just simply layer the ingredients in the jar. Prior to serving, we give it a little shake. OR, add some hot water to the jar (containing easy-to-cook and partially cooked ingredients), let it sit in the jar for a bit, and lastly give it a quick stir prior to digging in. I highly recommend you try the mason jar meal recipes that I am about to share with you here! Hope you enjoy these easy, quick fix, appetizing recipes which are also packed with nutrients.



*SUGGESTION for make ahead salads/meals:

  1. Only prepare the avocado close to the time of serving

  2. For crunchy/crispy salad toppings (like croutons, air-fried goat cheese), pack them in a separate ziplock bag/container

  3. Steps of layering the ingredients to avoid a mushy soggy salad:

3.1. Spoon the dressing on the bottom

3.2. Layer with hard veggies (such as broccoli, carrots, and radishes)

3.3. Layer with softer veggies and fruits (such as corn, berries, tomatoes,

cucumber)

3.4. Layer grains items (if using)

3.5. Add proteins (like chicken, hard-boiled eggs, fish, and quinoa) *NOTE:

sometimes I layered the protein items with my dressing

3.6. Add seeds, nuts, and seeds

3.7. Top with a layer of cheese (if using)

3.8. Lastly, top with greens


4. If you are to reheat food straight from microwave-safe mason jars, make sure to

remove the jar out from the refrigerator ahead of time. Because a sudden change in

temperature may crack the glass. Also, do keep in mind that mason jars AREN’T meant


to reheat in the microwave for long periods of time.


Mixed fruit breakfast parfaits: Looking for easy, light, delicious sweet breakfast? You have mixed fruit parfait to try! Although the recipe recommended using frozen fruits, I tried it with either frozen or fresh chopped fruits, they both taste DELICIOUS! Suggestion: Sprinkle the parfait with some toasted chopped nuts and coconut flakes. The recipe adapted from Iowa girl eats.




Grilled peaches and blueberries quinoa parfaits: Start your day right with a tasty, fiber- and protein-rich parfait. The process of grilling intensifies the peaches’ natural sweetness, making them extra juicy, as well as giving them a slight smoky flavor. To be honest, when I saw this recipe, I was a little skeptical. I questioned whether to incorporate quinoa to a fruit parfait. After giving it a try, I am extremely surprised how good the quinoa paired with plain yogurt, fruits, maple syrup, and toasted pecan. The recipe adapted from Cupcakes & Kale Chips.





Easy egg and cheese scramble in the jar: This egg and cheese scramble is literally just scrambled eggs with some shredded cheese, that goes with some roasted bite-sized potatoes and red pepper strips. What you need to do is to cook each ingredient separately then layer them in a mason jar. You can either reheat it in the microwave straight from the mason jar (if your jar is microwave-safe) or transfer the food items from the jar to a microwave-safe bowl and reheat it prior to serving




Egg and quinoa in a jar: Need a quick fix salad, this egg and quinoa salad is great for that. It is a light and refreshing delectable herby salad that is packed with protein. The ingredients used for this recipe are pretty basic: cooked quinoa, olive oil, chopped tomatoes and cucumber, avocado, flat-leaf parsley, baby spinach, dukkah (Egyptian spice blend), soft-boiled eggs, and easy homemade citrus vinaigrette. The recipe adapted from Delicious.




Cup noodles (I only made 2 flavors: Miso ramen flavor, Korean kimchi flavor): I made the miso paste differently this time, just because I am looking for the more authentic miso ramen flavor (If you are interested in making some, feel free to refer to Food52). I totally understand some ingredients for the authentic miso ramen paste are a little bit hard to obtain in our area. If you just crave for some “miso” ramen, the recipe I am sharing here will work just fine for you. I topped my ramen noodles with cooked sliced chicken (you can also do diced or shredded), cooked shiitake mushroom, blanched bok choy, scallions, and soft boiled egg. The easy version of the cup noodles recipe is adapted from I heart Umami.





Chicken and soba noodle salad in a jar: Who is with me for some cold noodle salad? This asian-inspired noodle salad is so refreshing, and has a balance of sweet and savory flavor. The recipe is inspired by Taste.




Thai chickpea mason jar salad: This is a crunchy thai-inspired chopped salad that pairs with chickpeas, and smothered in creamy peanut dressing. This Thai chickpea salad is absolutely delicious and satisfying! I enjoy every bite of it! The recipe is adapted from Sweet Peas and Saffron.



Blackberry grilled chicken salad with fried goat cheese: It is berry season, so let’s have some fresh blackberries while they are at their best quality. Blackberries are packed with insoluble fiber, antioxidants, as well as vitamins and minerals (like vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K). This salad is a WOAH! I literally lost my word after having the first bite in this salad. It is very flavorful, creamy, and filling. I did not deep fry the goat cheese, instead I went for a healthier approach by air frying the goat cheese. And I found the air-fried goat cheese took the salad up a notch. The recipe is inspired by The Fresh Cooky.





Buffalo Ranch Pretzel Chicken Caesar salad: This is not an ordinary boring chicken salad, the salty and slightly spicy chicken is the highlight of the salad. I am beyond excited to share this delicate salad with you all! The recipe is adapted from Half Baked Harvest.





*Most ingredients used for these recipes are sponsored by the DRH Food and Nutrition department.

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