Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Cobb Salad-in a Jar

Growing up, I stayed with my Grandma and MaMaw after school and through the summer.  Both of them made lunch daily and their kids would stop by on their lunch breaks, have a bite to eat and visit before heading back out for the afternoon.  My MaMaw was from the south so all of her recipes were family style, family favorites with a heavy southern influence; Mexican casserole, sausage rice casserole, the list could really go on and on.  Oh, and each meal wasn't complete without something sweet at the end; a piece of homemade pie, a scoop of ice cream, Nutty Bars, Peanut Butter Bars, or even a vanilla wafer.  My Grandma was from England, so her meals consisted of some traditional British foods but she also like to make some classic American meals, as well. 
My aunts and uncles on my mom's side, my Grandma's kids, didn't have the same lunch times so Grandma tended to make things that could be popped in the oven or prepared quickly when the kids were on their way or when they walked through the door.  Sometime she would make meals that could be made in advance, popped in the fridge and pulled out when ready to eat.  One of her "go to" make ahead meals was salad.  Now, my Grandma's salads weren't your typical salad.  They were works of art, literally.  Honestly, you could take a camera and do a photo shoot with each and every salad that walked out of her kitchen.  They were full of fresh, delicious ingredients and they were bursting with color.  She grouped each food in their own section, making it look like a painter's paint tray; a splash of bright red tomatoes here, a cluster of yellow and white boiled eggs there, vivid pickled beats on the other side.  Each item was arranged and placed on the plate with much thought and care. 
Now, when I make salads for me and my family I can't help but think of my Grandma and the time and thought she put in to placing each and every ingredient.  I have not yet mastered the art of the picture perfect salad, and I'm not sure that I ever will, but I do try to take the time and make sure that I present a pretty and colorful plate.  Now when I make a salad to take with me for lunch, that time and effort tends to go to the way side because it gets tossed around and doesn't always stay upright, so by the time I open it and get ready to eat it, I have a jumbled mess.  Not that it really matters, but I do like a pretty plate.  So what do you do when you want something pretty and transportable?  How about stack it, layer it and put it in a jar to stay in place?
That's exactly what I've done with this salad, I've put it in a jar.  Everything is layered, nice and neat and stays in place until I'm ready to eat it.  I love this idea of the salad in a jar, you can layer whatever ingredients you like, starting with the toppings first and then finishing with the lettuce.  Starting with the toppings that hold the most liquid working up to the dryer ingredients.  Now here's where the genius comes in, when you get ready to eat simply unscrew the lid, place a plate or bowl over the top of the jar, turn over and viola, your salad comes out with your lettuce on the bottom and all the toppings on top!  How neat is that?  Just bring a little bag of croutons and/or bacon bits, if desired, and a little container of dressing and you're set. 

This is a great, make ahead lunch that can be assembled in a matter of minutes.  I was able to make five days worth of lunches in about 10 minutes.  For a busy mom, dad or kid on the go you really can't beat that.  Pair this salad with a container of yogurt and maybe some granola and you've got a healthy and satisfying lunch that is perfectly portable!

Cobb Salad
Ingredients:

2 Medium (1 large) tomato
1 Medium cucumber
1 1/2 Slices of honey ham, thickly sliced
1 1/2 Slices of roasted turkey, thickly sliced
3/4 Cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 Hard boiled eggs
1 (5oz ) Bag lettuce (I used the spring mix)
5 (8oz) glass jars

Directions:

Remove seeds from tomatoes and finely chop.  Set aside.  Finely chop cucumber, set aside.  Cut ham and turkey in bite sized pieces, set aside.  Slice eggs, set aside.

To assemble-

Place about two and half tablespoons of chopped tomatoes in the bottom of the jar, followed by two and a half tablespoons of cucumbers.  Next, place chopped ham and turkey on the cucumbers, then about two to two and a half tablespoons of shredded cheese.  Top cheese with three to four slices of eggs.  Gently press the ingredients down, and top with 1/3-1/2 cup of packed lettuce.  Place lids on each jar, seal and place in the refrigerator.

Recipe source: A Lynsey Original

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