Spring is in the air, and we can hardly contain ourselves! But contain ourselves we must, as we look for ways to pack up fresh spring recipes to take outside for al fresco dining. That’s why this month we are sharing two of our favorite recipes, presented in jars for easy outdoor transportation.
These jarred recipes make for great presentation and are easy pick-up items for all spring entertaining. They add a whimsical twist at a garden party, are mess-free for baby and wedding showers, and are easy enough for a young family to assemble together for a surprise Mother’s Day lunch. We also love how transportable they are for a picnic at the park or for a lunch in-between double-header softball or baseball games.
For these recipes, we recommend using a Mason jar type container. Mason jars come in various sizes, but they all feature great screw-on lids that make it easy to pack-and-go. We recommend looking for the wide-mouth version of the jars, to make that last delectable bite a bit more accessible. If you decide to pack lemonade or tea in Mason jars as well for a picnic, you can find a variety of decorative cut-out lids to purchase in a variety of patterns that allow you to stick a straw through the lid for an added festive touch.
There are a variety of fun layered salads you can create in Mason jars, with the key being to layer the dressing in first, followed by the veggies and then topping if all off with the lettuce, so that your greens will stay fresh and crisp without turning soggy from the dressing. You can make these up to a couple of days in advance and when you are ready to serve, shake the jars to evenly distribute the dressing and toppings throughout the salad. This is a perfect solution to making your weekday lunches a breeze! We’re sharing the details of our Layered Greek Salad below, but we encourage you to get creative with which of your favorite salad recipes you take on the go with this method!
Our family is of the belief that no meal is complete until you have a little sweet finish, so the other jarred recipe we’re sharing this month is a key lime dessert. You can bake these right inside your Mason jars using the water bath technique described below. One bite, and you’ll swear it’s already summer!
Chef’s Market’s Greek Salad
Yield: Eight 8-ounce jars
In a quart-sized mason jar, layer 2 ounces of artichoke vinaigrette (recipe below), then grape tomatoes, crisp chopped romaine, kalamata olives, artichokes, feta cheese and cucumbers. Shake the salad in the jar before serving.
Artichoke Vinaigrette Ingredients:
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons of mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
2 teaspoons of salt
1/2 teaspoon of white pepper
1 cup of olive oil
1 12-ounce can of artichokes, drained
- Blend together the drained artichokes, mayo, vinegar, salt and pepper; process until smooth.
- Slowly drizzle the oil into the mixture
Mason Jar Key Lime Pie
Yield: Eight 4-ounce jars
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons lime zest
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
3 egg yolks
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (18 crackers, or 2/3 of a sleeve)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3.5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Lime wedges for garnish
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Set four 8-ounce mason jars in a baking dish filled with 1 inch water.
- Place graham crackers in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin. Add to a mixing bowl, along with the sugar and pinch of salt. Stir with a fork until incorporated.
- Add melted butter into the crumb and sugar mixture; stir with a fork until blended.
- Spoon graham cracker crumb mixture into each of the jars, dividing evenly among the jars. Press very slightly into the bottom and up the sides.
- Zest one of the limes.
- Add sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, egg yolks and lime zest to a medium bowl.
- Whisk until all ingredients are well-combined.
- Divide the mixture between the eight jars.
- Bake for about 20 minutes; then refrigerate for 3 hours.
- To serve, top with whipped cream and a fresh lime slice.