Category Archives: Mason Jar Meals

Bean Avocado Salad


Serves 6

  • 1 head of romaine or green leaf lettuce, shredded
  • ½ head green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 orange pepper, chopped
  • ¼ cup red onion, diced
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can black eyed peas
  • 1 avocado
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper to tasted

After the craziness of Thanksgiving, I needed something simple and healthy to help reboot my system and give my stomach a break from all the sweets. This salad worked surprising well in jars. I just mashed up the avocado and added lime zest/juice and salt and pepper. Then mixed the beans and onion together, layered those on top, and put the lettuce, cabbage, and pepper after that.

Super fast and easy so I could spend the rest of Sunday sitting by my tree.



Squash and Mushroom Pilaf



As Amy mentioned this weekend was a gorgeous fall weekend- warm sunny days, vibrant leaves, and cool crisp nights. The weather that makes me crave all things fall. This recipe fills that craving butternut squash and hearty comfort food. Yet it was quick and easy to allow for plenty of time to soak up the gorgeous weather!

Serves 4

  • 1.5 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 1.5 cups winter squash, peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 small green or red pepper, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups cooked wild rice
  • 0.5 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 Tbsp Tamari sauce
  • 1/4 cup mixture of fresh sage and thyme, chopped
  • 1/8-1/4 cup sliced almonds

In a large sauce pan, saute the mushrooms, squash, onions, and green pepper in oil until crisp tender. Add garlic; saute 1 minute more. Stir in the rice, broth, tamari sauce, and fresh herbs. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes or until squash is tender. Divide between ball jars and top with almonds. Makes 4 pint size ball jar servings.

Adapted from

The fall colors


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Lentil Spinach Stew


I rode my bike over sixty miles in two days and ate tacos Thursday, Friday (x2 since I had leftovers for breakfast), and Sunday. And the weather was amazing. So, basically this weekend couldn’t have been much better. Joe and I also checked out the Rumsy St. ArtPrize installations, ventured to Harmony Hall, and met Margs for an entertaining round of drinks amidst some of the most interesting soccer fans I’ve ever encountered. Understandably, a hearty, comfort-like food was the only option for my jars this week. Cheers to fall!

Serves 4

  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 Serrano chili pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Coriander to taste (I just added a few shakes)
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 15-ounce can coconut milk
  • 1 cup lentils (I used green, but red would also work)
  • 5 ounces spinach

Heat the oil on medium high head in a large pot or Dutch oven. Sauté the onions until soft (about five minutes). Add the garlic, ginger, Serrano, cumin, garam masala, and coriander. Cook until fragrant, about two minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until the liquid has reduced, about five minutes. Add the coconut milk and water. Bring to a boil, stir in the lentils, and then reduce the heat to medium low. Cook until the lentils are tender, 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix in the spinach and cook another three to four minutes. I served it over brown rice, but there are lots of options! Quinoa would be great.

Adapted from this recipe.

Biking made me like my city just a little more!


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Veggie Stir Fry



After my family headed home Saturday I had few hours to catch my breath before Margo, Jeff, and I headed to the Avett Brothers concert that night. It was cold and rainy but the venue was sweet and the show was worth it. But by the time Sunday afternoon rolled around I didn’t have much creative energy left. So my jars this week are a stir-fry consisting of whatever veggies I had on hand. Here’s the basic breakdown:

Serves 6

  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 carrots, julienned
  • 1 red pepper, julienned
  • 3 zucchini, julienned
  • 2 yellow squash, julienned
  • Oil of choice
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1.5 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp peanut sauce
  • Salt to taste

Heat the oil over high heat. Stir-fry the onions for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for about a minute more. Add the rest of the vegetables and stir-fry for 5-7 minutes or until they are the crispness you prefer. Add the soy sauce, vinegar, peanut sauce, and salt and heat through.

I put the veggies over brown rice in our jars. Basically, you can use whatever you have in your refrigerator. At least that’s what I did!

And here’s to a fun night with fun friends!



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Spaghetti Squash and Tomato Sauce


The past couple of weeks have been a reminder that life is all-too fragile and does not always quite go as planned. My parents had planned this fabulous trip to Europe; unfortunately my mom’s body had a different agenda. My mom experienced a couple of bouts of chest pain. This led to a flurry of activity: a stress test, a heart catheterization, and ultimately a stent to open a 90% blockage in one of the main arteries of her heart. Although they were disappointed to miss their grand adventure, gratitude that the blockage was fixed before damage was done was the prevailing emotion of the weekend. Since they weren’t on their trip my parents (who live about 3 hours away) decided to visit.

I was also experiencing disappointment of my own. After spraining my ankle during a training run I was sidelined from running today’s Chicago Half Marathon. Rather than wallowing in our disappointment, we had a fun weekend enjoying the warm fall weather!

After making dinner last night and a big lunch today for my family my creativity and energy for making lunches was at an all-time low. I needed something easy, which this recipe is!

Serves 4

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 6.5 oz jar of artichokes
  • 14.5 oz can stewed tomatoes (I used Italian style, slightly drained)
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 5-6 fresh basil leaves

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the top and bottom off the spaghetti squash. Cut in half lengthwise then clean out the seed and guts. Rub olive oil over the inside of each half. Place on baking sheet flesh side down. Bake for 30 minutes or until tender. Take a fork to to the flesh to string out the squash.

Tomato Sauce: Place olive oil and garlic in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook until garlic is fragrant. Add artichokes, cherry tomatoes, basil, and canned tomatoes. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes until tomatoes are tender.

Divide tomatoes mixture evenly between 4 jars. Place 1-2 basil fresh basil leaves over tomato mixture in the jar. Divide spaghetti squash between four jars over the tomato mixture



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Squash Quinoa Bake


I was supposed to be in Chicago this weekend cheering Margo on in her half marathon and riding through critical mass. But since she sprained her ankle, plans changed. Fall has been bragging in Michigan this week, though, so I didn’t mind substituting Oktoberfest, squash from the Farmers Market, a long bike ride, and a late-September Sunday at the beach.

It also gave me time to get my jars done. A definite plus heading into another busy week!

Serves 4 as a main dish; 6-8 as a side

  • 1 cup red quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 3/4 cup cranberries, chopped (I used frozen)
  • 3/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2-3 tsp curry
  • 2-3 tsp Ginger
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Olive oil
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • Handful fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 400. Combine the quinoa and water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes or so until the quinoa is done. Combine the squash, cranberries, onions, garlic, maple syrup, curry, ginger, and salt in a 9×13 or other baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the squash is how you like it.

When it’s done, mix in the quinoa, pecans, and parsley.


This view. It just never gets old. Other things in life tend to get smaller when I go back to them—but the lake stays big.




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Third Thursday :: September

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Third Thursday got bumped to Friday this month, and with a few confirmed guests down from brutal colds, our jars are filled with leftovers this week. To be honest, it was a relief to come home from the ABC Walk and a weekend with family and be able to sit on the couch and recoup on Sunday instead of cooking!

Here was our farewell to summer menu for our small crew of seven:

Chicken Salad
Serves 8-10 

  • 6 chicken boneless, skinless chicken breasts—boiled or cooked through in the oven
  • 10 oz. hummus (homemade or store-bought)
  • 3-4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 tsp relish
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Sesame oil (to taste)
  • Salt and pepper

Mix everything together and serve on bread or lettuce wraps. This week we had a loaf from Hall Street Bakery as well some homemade bread courtesy of Rachel!

Chickpea Curry Wraps
Serves 6-8

  • 2 15 oz. cans chickpeas
  • 1 onion diced
  • 3 carrots, shredded
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tsp curry
  • 3 tsp turmeric
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • 3 Tbs coconut oil

Heat the oil on medium in a larger pot. Sauté the onion and garlic for 5-7 minutes. Add the carrots and cook until they are soft. Finally, add the rest of the ingredients and heat through. Serve immediately or chilled. We pre-made them into lettuce wraps but have also done them as jars with the lettuce on the side to wrap later.

Adapted from this recipe.

Quinoa Salad
Serves 8-10 as a side   

  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 English cucumber, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Handful Italian parsley

For the dressing:

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 Tbs yellow mustard
  • 2 Tbs dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine the quinoa and vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Combine the rest of the ingredients. Once the quinoa is cool, add—along with the dressing—to the veggies.

Adapted from this recipe.

Peach-Blueberry Crisp

For the filling:

  • 6-8 peaches
  • 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • Cinnamon
  • Brown sugar

Cut up the fruit and sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar—to taste. Spread in a 9×13. We used this topping. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes.

And, for fun: A pic of my fam before heading out for our breezy walk to support breast cancer treatment in Northern Michigan!



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Spicy Cauliflower Salad

Serves 6

  • 1 head cauliflower broken into even sized florets
  • 1 red onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 15 oz can garbanzo beans
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup sunbutter
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp Tamari sauce
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp brown or coconut palm sugar
  • 1 garlic clove grated
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp siracha
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place cauliflower florets, red onion and garbanzo beans on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepepr. Toss everything well to coat. Roast for 30 min or until the cauliflower is fork tender.

While the veggies are roasting combine the sunbutter, water, tamari sauce, vinegar, sugar, garlic, ginger and siracha in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook the sauce stirring until the sunbutter is melted, about 2 min.

Place the veggies in a serving bowl, pour the sauce over, and toss to coat. Add the cilantro and stir to combine.

Can be served warm, at room temperature or cold.


Slow Cooker Veggie Soup

  • Minced Garlic
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 small zucchini, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery,chopped
  • 28 oz tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 (14 oz) cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups broth
  • 4 cups tomato juice
  • 2 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/3 tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients in crockpot and cook on low 10-12 hours.

A great lunch soup!

Adapted from

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Carrot Quinoa Salad

Spiced Quinoa
1/2 cup quinoa
3/4 cup  water
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground paprika and coriander
Pinch each ground fennel seeds and cinnamon

5 medium carrots, shredded
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Juice of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons raisins
1/4 cup raw almonds
Large handful fresh parsley


Rinse the quinoa then add it to a pot with water and spices. Cover and simmer for 12 minutes, then remove from heat and let sit with the lid on for another 5 minutes.

In the meantime, shred the carrots and place in  a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, honey, and lemon juice.
Add the quinoa aw well as the raisins, almonds, and parsley.

Adapted from Happy Hearted Kitchen.

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