Tag Archives: meal prep
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Weekly Meal Prep: Mason Jar Salad – Shrimp quinoa with ranch and romaine

28 Apr

I’ve discovered something recently. My portion control had packed up and left me. Totally peaced out. So that meant I was eating larger than necessary portions, snacking in between meals on less than healthy stuff, and having one too many glasses of wine with dinner. The wake up call was the number on the scale. Don’t get me wrong – the number isn’t what matters to me. It is how my clothes feel. And my clothes were feeling hella small. The number on the scale was just the push I needed to start making changes.

Now, I don’t know about you but I cannot diet. I just can’t. As soon as something becomes off-limits, it is ALL I want to eat. So I started using My Fitness Pal again to keep track of my weight as well as all the food and drink I’m ingesting. I’m into week 3 and I’ve lost 5 pounds. Not huge, but slow and steady wins the weight loss race. I’m trying to lose weight, but I’m also trying to regain control of portions. To put more effort into planning my meals so that I refrain from eating convenience foods because I have a healthy meal on hand.

Here’s where the mason jar meals come into play. They are super portable. I have a plethora of jars due to my canning hobby. I can make a weeks worth of meals, and just grab a jar and have lunch ready to go. The lettuce or cabbage will stay crispy because it is as far away from the wet stuff – dressing/sauce – as possible. The meals are healthy. HEALTHY people! And full of flavor. The goal is to keep my lunches at 400 calories or less. This recipe falls around 300 calories – 14 grams of fat, 16 grams of protein, and is very filling from the combo of the quinoa and shrimp. I loved this meal.

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As always, I make everything from scratch. I try to have cooked quinoa frozen in portions in the freezer. That way it’s ready to use for salads or side dishes. For the from scratch ranch dressing – this is by far the simplest dressing recipe I’ve ever experienced. Everything goes into a mason jar, you shake it up and boom.

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing: This is a big “to taste” seasoned recipe. The only thing I measure out is the buttermilk and mayo. The ratio of buttermilk to may is 2 to 1. So when I make a batch of this dressing for the week, I do 6oz buttermilk and 3oz mayo. I use the measurement lines on the side of my jars to show me.

For the additional flavor boosters (these measurements are not approximate, they are my best guess)

I use freeze-dried chives – probably about 1/4 cup

Dill – 1 tablespoon

Garlic powder: 1 1/2 teaspoons

Kosher Salt: 1 1/2 teaspoons

Black Pepper: 1 1/2 teaspoons.

Put all of these ingredients in a mason jar, shake like crazy and you have a ready-made, from scratch buttermilk ranch dressing that blows the store bought kind right out of the water.

Now onto the salad!

This list of ingredients will give you one salad. I usually make enough of everything to have a weeks worth on hand for my lunches.

You’re going to want to layer the ingredients in your wide mouth quart jar as follows:

1 tablespoon homemade buttermilk ranch

1 tablespoon 2% milk fat cottage cheese

1 tablespoon crumbled feta

4 tablespoons cooked quinoa

3oz (about 15) small cooked shrimp

2 cups chopped/torn romaine

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When I am ready to eat it, I add a little splash of water to the jar so that the dressing and cottage cheese gets a little runnier and coats all of the lettuce. I shake the jar up, and them pour the salad onto a dinner plate. As you can see from the photo, this is a nice hearty salad. The lettuce stays crisp because it is away from the dressing. The shrimp and quinoa get some flavor from sitting in the dressing. It really is a great salad, and so filling. With warm weather looming, this is going to be my go to meal of summer!
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Have you tried mason jar meals? If so, what are you eating?

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