Mason Jar Salad Bar

Had a few friends coming for lunch so I cooked up the idea for this mason jar salad bar. You all know I am a bit mason jar obsessed, so this is right up my alley.

I put out 2 kinds of greens…romaine, and some sissou spinach from my garden.
Then I filled mason jars with all kinds of toppings…carrot, celery, cucumber, olives, currants, watermelon radish, red radish, walnuts, sunflower seeds, sliced almonds.
Also whipped up some balsamic vinaigrette in a mason jar as well to carry out the theme. Everyone loved it and got just the salad they wanted. I also put out a cutting board with cubes of my shallot baked chicken thighs to add on top of the salad, and I had a pot of my butternut squash soup on the stove to serve in mugs.

Everything was prepared ahead which made it a super easy meal for company.
I even used what was left to pack a salad for tomorrow’s lunch and I froze the leftover chicken in 1/2 pint mason jars for a few future meals…bonus!

Butternut Squash Soup

This delicious dairy free soup is naturally sweet and creamy. It is super easy to make and freezes well. Lately I have been making batches of different creamy veggie soups and freezing them in silicone molds. Once frozen I pop them out and store in ziplock bags in the freezer. Right now I have 4 or 5 different variations in my freezer door which allows me to rotate flavors a little. I take out 3 or 4 cubes, heat in a saucepan and pour into my mug. Done!

Butternut Squash Soup

1 Butternut Squash, small to medium in size
2 Leeks, white and light green parts only
2 Shallots
1 large Yellow Squash, cubed
Grated fresh ginger and turmeric
Olive oil
Liquid of your choice (water or chicken stock work great…coconut milk would be yummy too.
Season to taste…I use smoked sea salt.

  • Peel the butternut squash.  Remove the seeds and cut the squash into cubes.
  • Clean the leeks. Trim off the roots. Trim off the greens and save those for Toasty Oven Roasted Leek Greens.  You are using only the white and light green parts for this recipe.  Slice those in half lengthwise and wash thoroughly.  You may need to peel back some layers to get all of the dirt out. Once clean chop these into big chunks.
  • Cube the yellow squash.
  • Peel and cube the shallots.
  • Toss all of the veggies in a large saucepan or stock pot.
  • Grate on fresh ginger and fresh turmeric.  I grate until there is a small pile of each on top…I would estimate I use about half a thumbs length of ginger and about a fingernail size piece of turmeric.  You can always add more ginger when you blend. I use a microplane zester so my shavings are very fine so they blend in better.
  • Add liquid to about 2/3 the level of the veggies.  You do not want the veggies to be covered or your soup will be watery. The amount of liquid will vary on the size of your veggies, so this rule of thumb is better than a strict cup amount. If in doubt add less liquid as you can always add more when blending.  You just need enough so the veggies will steam.Lately I have been using water, but chicken stock is really tasty too.
  • Simmer covered until the veggies are soft…about 20 minutes or so. I love using glass lids so I can keep an eye on what’s going on in there! Poke the veggies with a fork or bamboo skewer to test doneness.  They should be soft through and through.
  • Let it cool slightly as it may splatter when blending…you don’t want to burn yourself!
  • Blend with an immersion blender until creamy.
  • You can drizzle in olive oil as you are blending for a creamier texture and some extra healthy fat. I am loving Kouzini olive oil these days. Olive oil is an everyday staple in our kitchen.
  • If needed you can add in extra liquid as you are blending for the proper texture.
  • I like to freeze my extra soup in freezer safe mason jars, or freeze in silicone molds as pucks, since those reheat quickly for single servings (3 of these make a nice cup size serving).
  • You can easily double or triple this recipe so there is plenty to enjoy now and leftover to freeze for later.

 

One Dish Parchment Bake

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After I got my mom hooked on parchment paper, she came up with the idea for this one dish wonder.  She often makes pork for my boys when we go to her house for dinner, and pork is just not my best friend…so she started making me my own special one dish meal..which has  become a new favorite of mine.
I am having fun playing around with lots of different versions Continue reading