Put a Lid On It: Mason-Jar Meals

October 6, 2019

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put a lid on it




The mere mention of the word parfait induces cheers of happiness in my house. And this is one of our favorites. It’s made with bananas, granola, and Greek yogurt, which pair well with all sorts of festive toppings—from butterscotch chips and peanut butter to raspberries and white chocolate. This is a fun and tasty parfait that you can serve for breakfast or dessert with a quick topping mix-up.

Makes 4 (8-ounce) servings

  • 1 to 2 bananas, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup of your favorite granola
  • 1 cup of plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 4 (8-ounce) mason jars with lids

Place sliced bananas in the bottom of each jar, about ¼ of the way up. Then layer ¼ cup granola onto the bananas in each jar and then top the granola with ¼ cup of yogurt for each jar.

Get creative with the toppings. (See the sidebar for ideas.)

Serve immediately or hold in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours.

Put a Lid on It


Whoever said, “No good story ever started with salad,” clearly never ate this one. Bacon has a way of tricking any meat-eater into eating his or her greens. This summer salad comes together with the flavors of smoky and salty bacon, fresh summer strawberries, tender baby spinach leaves, and a savory and slightly sweet balsamic dressing. It makes a perfect packable lunch for work or for a picnic.

Makes 1 (24-ounce) jar of salad

  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Pinch salt
  • Dash pepper
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ¾ cup quartered or halved strawberries
  • 1½ to 2 cups packed baby spinach leaves
  • 4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled or chopped
  • 1 (8-ounce) mason jar
  • 1 (24-ounce) mason jar with a lid
  • Toppings: sliced strawberries, additional bacon pieces, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, crumbled goat or blue cheese (optional)

Place the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sugar, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, and water into the 8-ounce mason jar. Shake vigorously until the dressing is blended.

Pour about ¼ cup of dressing into the bottom of the 24-ounce jar. Layer the strawberries on top of the dressing and then layer half the bacon onto the strawberries. Next, add the spinach on top of the bacon and then top the spinach with the remaining bacon and garnish with sliced strawberries.

titleCover the jar with a lid and keep it in the refrigerator up to 8 hours. To serve, either shake the jar to cover the greens with the dressing and eat from the jar or pour the contents out of the jar directly into a bowl.


I have an affinity for soup; especially soup that has huge flavor but is easy to prepare. Gazpacho makes a summer meal simple and delicious. It’s filled with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, red pepper, herbs, and spices along with a smidgen of bread to create texture and indulgence. It’s the loveliest seasonal soup to serve on a warm summer evening.

Makes 2 (16-ounce) servings or 4 (8-ounce) servings

  • 2 pounds fresh Roma tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 2 medium to large cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped basil
  • ¼ cup peeled and sliced cucumber
  • ½ medium red pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and lightly chopped
  • ¼ cup diced onion
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 cup diced stale bread
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 (16-ounce) or 4 (8-ounce) mason jars
For the Cucumber Salsa:
  • 1 cup diced cucumber
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • ½ lime juiced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

Add the tomatoes, garlic, parsley, basil, cucumber, red pepper, jalapeno, onion, smoked paprika, sugar, salt, pepper, and sherry vinegar to a blender or food processor. Pulse or blend on low until the ingredients are pureed but there is still some texture to the soup.

titleThen add the stale bread and olive oil. Puree just until the soup is nicely combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let the soup rest while you make the cucumber salsa.

In a small bowl, stir together the cucumber, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and olive oil.

To serve the soup, ladle into the mason jars and top with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the cucumber salsa. Serve room temperature or chilled.

You can make this soup in advance, place it in the jars, and cover with lids. Hold it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. When ready to serve, remove it from the refrigerator and let it stand for about 30 minutes prior to serving.