More Mason Jar Meal Ideas Part I

Trying to keep up with my children’s growing appetites is like trying to run up the down escalator. I may get two steps ahead and fall back three! They are hungry all the time, and with food costs rising, my $40/day food budget, and buying as much organic foods as I can afford, makes me work even harder in the kitchen to stay on track. Then to top it all off, I am competing with commercial food products that my kids ask for all the time, like Hot Pockets, Pizza Bites, and Hostess Cupcakes. No. So I keep cooking as much from scratch as I can to avoid preservatives, additives, MSG, excess sugar, and other unpronounceable ingredients on food labels.

Here are some more MJM Ideas…

1. Steel Cut Oatmeal– Make according to package directions and place in 8 ounce mason jars. I added a bit of brown sugar and milk to each jar. You can add nuts, fruit, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, maple syrup, etc. To reheat, remove from jar to a microwave safe bowl, mush up oatmeal, and heat on high for 1 minute. Stir and eat.

2. Homemade SpaghettiOs– I can get ten 8 ounce wide mouth jars from this recipe. I have made this twice now and Manischewitz has the cutest teeny tiny eggs bow pasta in a 12 ounce bag. So now we call them SpaghettiBows.

3. Homemade Marinara Sauce for Mason Jar Stromboli.

4. Mason Jar Stromboli

For the dough…
2 T. yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 cup very warm
2 1/2 cups AP flour
1 tsp. Kosher salt

about 12 Provolone Cheese slices
about 18 slices Genoa Salami
Italian Seasoning for sprinkling
Garlic Salt for sprinkling
Parmesan cheese for sprinkling

In a large bowl place yeast and sugar. Pour warm water over yeast and let set for 2 minutes, then stir in flour and salt. Kneed until a soft dough ball forms. You may have to add pinches of flour if the dough is still sticky. Roll out on a large floured surface into a big rectangle 1/4 inch thick. Lay out 2 rows of cheese, you can use provolone or a blend, I used provolone and Munster because that is what I had. Then lay out three rows of salami. Sprinkle with garlic salt, Italian Seasonings, and Parmesan cheese. Starting at the end farthest from you, start rolling the dough toward you being sure you are making a tight roll. Pinch the seam closed. Using a sharp knife, cut the stromboli into 12 rolls. Place in greased 8 ounce wide mouth mason jars. Bake at 375 degrees for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Cool completely before lidding. Store in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to use. Serve with a small jar of Marinara Sauce. Reheat unlidded in the microwave for 30 second increments until desired temperature. Jar will be hot, use caution. Makes 12.

Note- You may use your favorite pizza dough for this recipe being sure to cut the slices no wider than 1.5 inches so not to over flow the jars. For more on how to make stromboli, check out my tutorial here.

Don’t forget to pack fresh fruits and veggies with your Mason Jar Meals!

Ma asked me once, “what is your desire for Big Red Kitchen?” My answer, “to share my ideas and shortcuts in the kitchen in hopes that I have made someone else’s life a little easier when it comes to feeding their family.” I AM wearing my fat dreams everyday in the BRK. Are you wearing your fat dreams today?

Tomorrow in BRKMore Mason Jar Meal Ideas Part II, the bottom shelf- numbers 5 and 6.


  1. Heather (Heather's Dish)
    Posted October 11, 2011 at 7:50 AM | Permalink

    i am seriously loving your mason jar meals…my hubby won't let me buy anymore (we're kind of overrun) but i am using them all the time now thanks to you!

  2. Biz
    Posted October 11, 2011 at 11:34 AM | Permalink

    I actually bought a case of baby jars off of eBay a long time ago – but they are the perfect size to have for pancake syrup, mustards, etc. for my work lunch bag.

    You are still so creative! 😀

  3. highplainsdrifters
    Posted October 11, 2011 at 12:19 PM | Permalink

    your fridge looks like something from a Dwell article or Ikea ad!! too cool!

  4. Mimi
    Posted October 11, 2011 at 12:55 PM | Permalink

    Your mason jar meals are so fun. I love serving/freezing food in individual portions.

  5. vincent
    Posted October 11, 2011 at 4:37 PM | Permalink


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  6. Penny
    Posted October 11, 2011 at 4:52 PM | Permalink

    I am in awe of your creativity. I am going to share your mason jar ideas with my DIL. Rachel has started kindergarten and this would be perfect for her. You are the best Robin Sue.

  7. Anonymous
    Posted October 23, 2011 at 3:24 AM | Permalink

    there is a great article on the kitchn website to make steel cut oatmeal in 5 minutes flat in mason jars. So easy and fast. I eat it everyday.

  8. Anonymous
    Posted November 3, 2011 at 9:04 PM | Permalink

    Do you have any ideas for people on a low carb. GREAT IDEA.

  9. Robin Sue
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 9:08 AM | Permalink

    Anon- for low card ideas check out this post…

  10. Anonymous
    Posted November 8, 2011 at 9:52 AM | Permalink

    Love your blog! I have to share with you something that has remained in my mind as the best gift/meal ever. In 2004 my Dad passed and one of the ladies in the neighborhood brought over a quart jar of huge peeled, de-veined, cooked shrimp in a mild salt brine along with an accompanying small jar of cocktail sauce. Thought that would be a good idea for your blog. Keep the updates coming!

  11. Robin Sue
    Posted November 8, 2011 at 10:16 AM | Permalink

    Anon- What a sweet thought for that lady to bring such a treat over! Mmm shrimp. Thanks for the complement and I'll keep the ideas coming. Robin Sue

  12. Marci
    Posted November 8, 2011 at 1:47 PM | Permalink

    These are such great ideas – the whole concept is inspiring! I hope you keep coming up with new ideas for Mason Jar cooking until my creative juices start flowing again! BTW – I just love your whole blog!

  13. Mira Dessy
    Posted November 18, 2011 at 4:17 PM | Permalink

    This is a very cool idea. I plan to try out this concept to modify it to fit the food sensitivities in our family.

  14. Posted May 23, 2012 at 4:39 PM | Permalink

    So everything is cooked beforehand and then put in jars? How long does it last in the fridge and can it be frozen, or would the jars break?

    • Robin Sue
      Posted May 23, 2012 at 6:06 PM | Permalink

      Some stuff is cooked ahead and stored in the jars. 3-5 days. The jars have only broken when my teenager gets rough with them;-)
      Read more of my mason jar meal ideas for more information.
      Robin Sue

    • Phylis FIelds
      Posted September 4, 2012 at 10:15 PM | Permalink

      I noticed that Wal-Mart sells mason jars that can be used in the freezer. Light blue sign on the box that states they are freezer safe.

  15. Posted June 28, 2012 at 10:24 PM | Permalink

    I am loving these ideas! I started making MJMs with ” Fridge Oatmeal” and have wanted to expand–so thanks so much!

    BTW–the fridge oatmeal requires no cooking–just add, shake and store in fridge….

  16. Maha
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 3:48 PM | Permalink

    very cool

  17. Suzan McAllister
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 6:40 PM | Permalink

    I made the Mason Jar Stromboli today. Thank you so much for going to all the trouble to figure these recipes out!
    I ‘greased’ my jars with olive oil and sprinkled Italian Seasoning in them…the bread at the bottom was like it was fried in seasoned oil.
    Thanks again!

    • Robin Sue
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 6:41 PM | Permalink

      WHAT!!! Love that idea of the seasoning in the bottoms so it’s fried- great idea!! Thanks

  18. Cheryl
    Posted March 23, 2015 at 7:05 AM | Permalink

    Well DUH! Here it is March 2015 and I’m just seeing this — WHAT ROCK DO I LIVE UNDER?

    Genius idea, I am definitely printing recipes and posts!!!! Oh, and a trip to “W” for jars.


  19. Elizabeth Folk
    Posted July 28, 2015 at 3:41 PM | Permalink

    Has anyone tried adding frozen or semi frozen items such as seasonal fruits or veggies to a jar with good or bad results? Would I want to let the berry’s thaw or can I put them in the bottom of a jar, toss some carrots in between as a cold barrier then add the lettuce without damaging it? Also do you vacuum seal your jars? Do the jars that have meat, eggs, or onions have a shorter shelf life…less than five days?

    • Robin Sue
      Posted September 10, 2015 at 3:01 AM | Permalink

      I have not used frozen fruits or veg, but they may be soggy. I do not seal the jars in any way, I only place the lids on and store in the fridge or freezer. I do not let mine go past 5 days, plus we usually eat them too quickly. Some flavors may get stronger, like onions, and once I used broccoli slaw which was terrible by day five- to strong of an odor.

  20. Cathy
    Posted October 4, 2015 at 5:57 PM | Permalink

    This is all good an all but my sons school doesn’t have microwaves in classes & the ones that do have them, the children are not aloud to use them for their lunches.

    • Robin Sue
      Posted October 6, 2015 at 10:00 AM | Permalink

      Great for adults too! Love taking them to the office!

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