Food in a jar might sound strange, but it can be a fun way to make full meals you can toss in your lunchbox. If you haven't tried preparing food this way, here are some easy recipes to get you started that the entire family will love.
Overnight oats are a fantastic make-ahead breakfast. Prepare them the night before, and you've got a morning meal ready to eat right out of the fridge. This recipe uses the natural caramel flavor of Medjool dates instead of caramel sauce. Cocoa powder and pecans, along with pure maple syrup, make it taste exactly like your favorite chocolate turtle treat.
Try our Savory Overnight Oats to mix up your weekday breakfasts!
Sushi doesn't seem like a meal you'd eat out of a jar, but this is a fun deconstructed version of this Japanese favorite. All you have to do is layer your favorite sushi ingredients in a mason jar and keep it in the fridge until you're ready to enjoy it. Make a deconstructed avocado roll with rice, carrot, cucumber and avocado, or get fancy with some imitation crab or even tuna. We'd love to see some deconstructed sashimi.
Noodle cups are a quick and easy lunch, but they're packed with MSGs and enough sodium to choke a cat. Thankfully, it's easy to make your own instant noodles. All you need is some shredded chicken, rice noodles and frozen peas. Pour some hot water on top when you're ready to eat, and you've got the perfect DIY instant noodle cup.
Who doesn't love frittatas? They're like omelets, only better. For this recipe, you'll need mason jars you can toss in the oven. Canning jars work well for this because they're designed for high temperatures. Then, all you have to do is brown your sausage, mix all your ingredients, and bake at 375 F for 10-15 minutes until a knife comes out clean and the tops are brown.
We all love a good chicken potpie, but taking one to work with you can be messy. These super-tasty potpies in a jar are the perfect solution. Line with pie crust, fill them and top with more crust. Then, throw it in the oven until it's baked to a perfect golden brown, and you've got a tasty, healthy lunch in a jar you can easily reheat in the break room microwave.
Burritos are great for lunch, but they're not always the healthiest option. This burrito bowl mason jar is the perfect alternative. Layer up an avocado lime dressing at the bottom, and top it with roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, tomatoes and any other toppings you like on the top. Layering it like this keeps your soft ingredients, like tomatoes, from getting soggy in the dressing while you wait for lunch.
You don't need a griddle to enjoy pancakes. These apple pie pancakes feature baked apples, apple butter, almond butter and all sorts of spices. You won't even know you're not digging into a slice of pie. Mix up a batch, bake them and enjoy warm. You can toss anything on top, from yogurt and almond butter to ice cream, if you've got a craving for apple pie a la mode.
Food in a jar doesn't have to be sweet. You can enjoy all your favorite savory flavors too, like this shrimp feta cob salad. Start by putting your favorite dressing in the bottom of the jar and layer everything up, starting with your heavier ingredients like whole grape tomatoes or chopped red onion. Top it with cheese and shrimp and toss it in the fridge until lunchtime.
Caprese salads — made up of tomatoes, basil and mozzarella cheese — are super tasty, but they're not exactly the easiest thing to bring with you when you're away from home. The difference between this and other mason jar salads is that you don't want to put your dressing in the bottom. The arugula and basil will get soggy quickly, so bring your dressing along in a separate container.
Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food, and adding pumpkin to it makes it even tastier. These single-serving mason jar snacks use elbow mac, fontina cheese and canned pumpkin to create one of the most amazing types of mac and cheese you will ever enjoy. Bake them in the oven, then reheat in the microwave when you're ready to eat.
If you're always struggling to figure out what to make for lunch, consider some food in a jar. These make-ahead meals are super simple and can be stored in the fridge. You'll always have something tasty to enjoy when you're out of ideas.