We all wish we had the time to make healthy and delicious home-cooked meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but so few of us have the time and energy for this level of food prep. If you’re tired of buying lunch at your work’s cafeteria or bringing cold-cut sandwiches and boring snacks with you every time you know you won’t be home to prepare food, we totally understand. Instead of succumbing to the lifeless sandwiches and frozen pre-made meals that make our busy lives a little easier, you have more options than you think thanks to the humble Mason jar. From delicious breakfasts to fresh lunches, you can carry an entire meal with you in a jar so you’ll always have something enjoyable to eat even when you’re on the go. Check out these six meals that are easy to prepare so you can take them with you in the jar of your choosing.
1. Lazy Lasagna
Homemade lasagna can be a quite a task to prepare, but that delicious combination of noodles, sauce, and cheese makes it an absolutely irresistible dish. Big Red Kitchen created this lasagna that’s perfect for baking in Mason jars and taking with you wherever you go. It has all of the classic components of an amazing lasagna (including a variety of cheeses), and you won’t be slaving over the stove all day to make it. You might want to bring two jars with you in case a friend or a co-worker wants to try.
- 12 ounces wide egg noodles
- 1 pound ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 handful Parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese
- 3 cups marinara sauce (choose your favorite)
- 12 8-ounce wide-mouth Mason jars
Directions: Begin this recipe by boiling your noodles according to the directions on the package. Then, drain them once they’ve finished cooking and keep them in the warm pot. Add in 2 cups of your sauce.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a bowl, mix ricotta, egg, parmesan cheese, salt, and mozzarella. Add the cheese mixture into the bowl with the noodles, and fold the cheese gently in without over-mixing. Add your noodle mixture evenly into your Mason jars, and top with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle more parmesan cheese over the tops of each jar if you desire. Bake your jars for 35 minutes.
To add variety to this dish, feel free to add in some ground beef or sausage. Store your jars in the fridge and take them with you whenever you’re ready to eat, or enjoy immediately.
2. Tropical Sriracha Chicken Salad
Salads aren’t always the most satisfying lunches, and when it comes to packing them, you have to make sure you bring the dressing separate so your greens and fixings don’t get soggy. This tropical Sriracha chicken salad by The Healthy Maven is packed with delicious marinated chicken, fruity pineapple, and fresh veggies, and the way you layer it in your Mason jar ensures that all of your ingredients stay fresh throughout the day. You might feel disappointed by the salads of your past, but you won’t be able to get enough of this delicious and easy to-go variation.
For the chicken and marinade
- ½ cup fresh pineapple chunks
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- ½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon molasses
- 2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Salt and pepper
For the dressing
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
- 1 tablespoon raw honey
- Zest and juice of 1 lime
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
For the salad:
- 1 avocado, cubed
- ½ cup diced red onion
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ cup fresh pineapple chunks
- Couple handfuls of baby spinach
- Two large 16-ounce Mason jars
Directions: First, you’ll make the marinade for the chicken. Add all of the marinade ingredients to a blender or a food processor and pulse until smooth. Add your chicken and marinade to a separate bowl to coat the chicken. Let this sit in the fridge for at least an hour to soak.
Heat a grill pan to medium-high heat. Add the marinated chicken and grill each breast for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until the centers are cooked through and not pink. Allow the chicken breasts to cool while you assemble the rest of your ingredients.
Mix your dressing ingredients and add the dressing to the bottom of your Mason jars. Add your cubed avocado onto the dressing. Then, add your cherry tomatoes and pineapple. Dice your chicken and add that next. Add your spinach on the top of all of your other ingredients, and secure the lids to the tops of the jars. Store in your refrigerator until ready to serve, and when you’re ready to eat, shake the jar so the dressing is evenly distributed.
3. No Bake Key Lime Pie In A Jar
Let’s face it — we’re all guilty of those times when our lunch break turns into an all-out dessert fest, and lucky for you, there’s an easy and refreshing pie that fits right into your Mason jar. This no bake key lime pie in a jar by Million Moments is beautiful, tasty, and surprisingly healthy, considering the filling is made with Greek yogurt. You can adjust how sugary or tart you want your pie to be with the addition of lime juice and whipped topping, too. You’ll be making this tasty treat all year long.
- 1 package of graham crackers
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese (softened)
- ½ can condensed milk (about 7 ounces)
- ½ cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
- Key lime juice (can be substituted for regular lime juice), to taste
- Whipped topping, to taste
- Limes for garnish
- 4 small glass Mason jars
Directions: First, you’ll make your graham cracker crust. Crush your graham crackers (putting them in a large sandwich bag and crushing them this way keeps the mess to a minimum) and combine them with your melted butter so that the mixture is crumbly. Set aside.
For the pie filling, add your cream cheese, condensed milk, Greek yogurt, and key lime juice to a bowl. Mix using a stand mixer on medium speed for 5 minutes, or whisk together by hand vigorously until smooth and creamy in texture. Once your mixture is smooth, put your mixture into the fridge for about 10 minutes to allow it to set.
Add about 1/3 cup of your crushed graham crackers into the bottoms of the Mason jars, lightly pressing it down so the bottoms are covered. Then, pour about 2/3 cup of your filling into the jars over the filling. Add another layer of graham crackers on top of this, and whipped cream on top to finish. Add lime slices for garnish.
4. Coconut-Chia Pudding-in-a-Jar
Like the trendy overnight oats that are simple to make and perfect for breakfast any day of the week, this coconut-chia pudding-in-a-jar by The Food Network is delicious and easy. Chia seeds plump up and turn pudding-like when they’re soaked, so adding them to coconut milk and maple syrup gives you a rich and creamy breakfast treat. Fresh fruit and almonds make the perfect additions to top this dish off, and you can even customize it to your liking.
- 1 (13.5-ounce) can light coconut milk
- 3 tablespoons chia seeds
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- ½ cup fresh pineapple chunks
- 2 medium kiwis, peeled and sliced
- ¼ cup raspberries
- 2 tablespoons roasted almonds, chopped
- Four 8-ounce Mason jars
Directions: In a medium bowl, combine the coconut milk, maple syrup, and chia seeds until combined. Pour the mixture into your four Mason jars, dividing the pudding evenly among them. Screw the lids back on and put the jars in your fridge to allow them to set overnight. After 3-4 hours, the chia seeds will become plump, thick, and creamy, which makes this the perfect dish to prepare overnight and have ready by morning.
When you’re ready to eat, add your pineapple chunks, kiwis, raspberries, and almonds on top of the pudding. Serve immediately or keep in your fridge for up to a day.
5. Sweet & Spicy Chili with Cornbread Topping
Not only is this recipe the perfect way to take chili and cornbread with you when you’re on the go, but the jars make for a truly beautiful presentation that you could even serve at parties. The incorporation of beans, ground beef, and spices will give you everything you want out of chili, and the cornbread topping is easily prepared using store bought mix. You won’t want to miss this sweet & spicy chili with cornbread topping by Iowa Girl Eats.
- ½ small onion, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound 90/10 ground beef
- Salt and pepper
- 1 (29-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (16-ounce) can baked beans (Bush’s Vegetarian Baked Beans work well here)
- Chili powder
- Cayenne powder
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Brown sugar (optional)
- 1 recipe cornbread batter (boxed is fine, or homemade)
- 4-5 large Mason jars
Directions: In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, add your onion, garlic, and ground beef. Season with salt and pepper while it’s cooking, and adjust seasonings after the ground beef has cooked. Break up the ground beef as you’re cooking until there is no pink left in the meal, then drain any extra grease.
Bring the heat down to medium-low and add tomato sauce, black beans, and baked beans to the pot. Add chili powder, cayenne pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and cumin until the mixture is appropriately spiced. Taste and adjust the seasonings as the chili continues to cook for another 10 minutes.
Make sure that your cornbread batter is prepared, as you’ll be adding it on top of your chili next. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and spoon your chili into your Mason jars. Then, add your cornbread batter on top, but be sure to leave at least 2 inches of space at the top of the jar so that your cornbread does not overflow while baking. Bake your jars on a cookie sheet for 17-22 minutes, or until your cornbread is completely baked.
6. Quick and Easy Mason Jar Frittata
Eggs are the perfect way to start your day — they’re full of protein and delicious any way you cook them, but not all of us have time in the morning to make ourselves an egg breakfast. This quick and easy Mason jar frittata by Dakota Layers can be made ahead and microwaved the next day, and it’s full of turkey sausage, potatoes, and veggies for an all-around great breakfast. You’ll never go back to your classic omelet again.
- 8 ounces turkey breakfast sausage
- 1 bunch kale, stemmed and chopped
- 8 ounces fingerling potatoes, cubed
- 8 large eggs
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 6 8-ounce Mason jars
Directions: Begin by preheating your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Add your sausage to a large skillet over medium heat. Brown the sausage and break it up into small pieces as it cooks. Then, add in your potatoes and allow them to cook through. Lastly, add your kale and cook until wilted — the kale will cook much faster than your other ingredients here. Season everything with salt and pepper to taste, and take off the heat when it has finished cooking.
Beat your eggs in a medium bowl, and season them with salt and pepper. Add in your milk and cheese and whisk until combined.
Spray your Mason jars with cooking spray, and add your sausage mixture into the bottom of the jars. Add the egg mixture on top of the sausage, leaving at least an inch of space at the top of the jar. Place your jars on a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the eggs are golden in color at the top and are cooked through. Remove the eggs from the oven and allow them to rest for 5 minutes before serving.