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May 9, 2014

BBQ MY WAY: Salad in a jar

First, a bit of housekeeping. Last week’s column included a recipe for a dry spice rub that I have worked on and tweaked over time. It was brought to my attention that there was a typo regarding the amount of brown sugar used in the rub. My apologies. I forgot to have Liz proof read last week’s column. The amount is one-third cup, same as the amount of paprika. In most rubs the paprika and brown sugar are equal. It’s the base of the rub.

Ok, on to today’s topic. Sometimes, ideas come to you (or your wife finds them on Pinterest) that literally impact your day to day way of life. The subject of today’s column is one of those impactful ideas that I will definitely use the rest of my life.

Let me set this up for you. I hit the big “5-0” last year. Liz and I had a few conversations (she told me) about how well (not so well) I had been taking care of my health. I made a decision (she threatened me) to try and limit how often I ate out, and to substantially limit processed foods and refined carbs. Basically, try to eat natural stuff.

The challenge is that we get up early, and it’s a hassle to fix a lunch every morning. I mean, I do have a job and clients I take care of, and it drives me crazy at times to get out the door late because I am putting a healthy lunch together. And making a big salad to pull from each day doesn’t really work, because toward the end of the week, the salad just doesn’t have that fresh feeling. But, if I don’t bring something, I end up (at times) snarfing down a brat from the gas station near my office. While tasty, Liz has told me more than once that it doesn’t fit into to the “eating natural” plan.

So, a few weeks ago, Liz came across this idea on Pinterest, and we love it. I literally have a fresh salad “to go” every morning of the week. Here is what you need to do. Go out and buy a box of wide mouth Mason canning jars. I think they are 18 ounces. The secret to this is the canning jars. Once you put the salad ingredients in, you simply tightly screw the lid on and put them in the fridge.

Even the salad you eat of Friday (five or six days after you make them) tastes as fresh as a salad made on the same day.

Obviously you can use whatever ingredients you want. I put the dense ingredients (diced chicken breast) on the bottom and the ingredients with a lot of liquid (tomatoes) on the top. We chop up a bunch of romaine lettuce, spinach leaves, olives, tomatoes, chicken breast, and layer them into the jar, just as the picture shows.

We create an assembly line, and including the washing and chopping, we have eight to 10 salads made within 45 minutes and stored in the fridge. I can’t tell you how much easier mornings are. You grab a jar, put it in the fridge at work, and when it’s lunch time you simply dump the contents into a bowl, mix it up a bit and add dressing. Boom. Lunch solved, and a healthy (not a gas station brat) at that.

Give this idea a try. If you like salads, you will love this.

— Dave Lobeck is an Edward Jones Financial Advisor in Jeffersonville by day and a BBQ enthusiast and foodie on nights and weekends. He is also a Kansas City Barbecue Society judge. Liz is his wife. You can contact Dave and Liz with your BBQ, grilling or cooking questions at BBQ-My-Way.com or at davelobeck@gmail.com.

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