Mason Jars, Salad & Texas Roadhouse

When I find a restaurant I like…or more specifically a meal at a restaurant I like…I’m always on the hunt for a copycat recipe I can make at home. That’s why I can enjoy Chi-chi’s beef and cheese enchiladas with green chili sauce, something I’d despaired of ever having again when the chain closed its doors. I can also chow down on a rice that is very similar to what they served. Add to that meal their corn cake mix, which I can purchase at a local grocery store, add some creamed corn and a little butter…and I’m pretty much in Chi-chi’s heaven.

Salad is another meal (or side dish) I enjoy…if I have a dressing I love. And I love the Texas Roadhouse salad with thousand island dressing. In fact, I love it so much I’ve ordered an extra one – to go – so I can take it home to eat later.

Of course this was when I could have gluten, too, so there isn’t much point in going there anymore. Their steak seasoning has wheat, and even ordering it without, they still cook it on the same grill. I also can’t have their rolls…which are totally wonderful.

So what’s a girl to do? I can live without the steak and roll, but that dressing? I had to have it again.

Thank goodness for Google, and people who experiment in the kitchen. I found a recipe at Eat, Cook, Share (website is gone now) that’s very close. I don’t make it exactly the same though:

2 cups Hellmann’s mayo, and 1/2 cup each chili sauce, catsup, sweet pickle relish

Mix well in a quart canning jar and refrigerate. Heaven on earth!

Thanks to Jennifer L. Oliver and an old article about salads in Mason jars, I wound up buying a case of pint jars – to go along with the quart jars I purchased to store gluten free flours in.

I also wound up doing things just a little different, using the pint jars to store chopped veggies and squashed boiled eggs.

Squashed boiled eggs? Yup. I don disposable food service gloves and squash the heck right of of those suckers. I do it for potato salad, too. Why? Because usually by the time I get to the eggs, I’m weary of chopping, dicing, and slicing – and squishing them up is quicker. It also pretty much pulverizes the whites, which I’ve never been terribly fond of.

So this is what you’ll find on the second shelf of my refrigerator now.

Kristy K. James salad fixingsYeah, the picture kind of sucks. I used my cell phone, then had to text it to my daughter, who then Facebook’d it to me. Still, I can hardly wait to have a salad later.

All I’ll need to add is a bit of aged cheddar cheese…and a few crumbled, gluten-free croutons. Gluten-free now that I’ve figured out I was using the other ones, and that’s what was contributing to some extreme exhaustion. It’s just too bad that the other ones actually taste good.

So if you want your own personal salad bar on a refrigerator shelf, and a pretty one at that, get yourself some canning jars and go to town. I figure I’ve got about four days before I have to wash everything and replenish my supplies. Except for the dressing, that should last a week or two.

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