“I could make this” … famous words

I’m sure that I’m not the only one that says this.  Let me set the scene, you’re out at a restaurant, eating a great meal and you say to (yourself) or the people that you’re with “I could make this”.  My kids are so used to me saying this that they now offer up the suggestion.  Often starting a conversation with ” hey mom, you could make this into a salad jar right?”  Well, challenge accepted. I SUPER love East Side Mario’s (ESM) Garden Salad.  We don’t have an ESM near us (but hey, we have four, count’em – Mary Browns, Swiss Chalet, KFC and Popeye’s, chicken restaurants in town).  Here is a picture of my most favourite restaurant salad.

East Side Mario’s Garden Salad

I did not set out to make a copy cat recipe, but rather to mirror it enough to enjoy, but still crave for the “real” thing.  I researched the salad.  This part is pretty easy, there are plenty of sites that will break down restaurant favourites so that you can make them at home.  The sites I found really focused on re-creating the salad dressing, which I understand is key, but since I wasn’t about to spend a ton of time putting together this dressing, I made use of Kraft.  I know that I’ve taken hits for using Kraft with comments about how un-healthy it can be as well as how “easy” it is to make my own.  But, let me stop here, because while I do make my own balsamic vinaigrette for my roasted vegetable salad, I am limited on time.  Making salads, in mason jars, is meant to be a time saver.  I make my salads.  I save time.  

Here is what I put together last week:

Garden Mason Jar Salad

How is this different from ESM’s?  Well, for starters it has chicken and cucumber, I need the protein of the roasted chicken and I like the added crunch of cucumbers.  What is missing?  Croutons.  I know, they are delicious but for many reasons, I chose not to add them.  This is how I put it all together:

I ate that salad Tuesday thru to Friday and it was just as awesome on the first day as it was on Friday.  I even got the chance to share a salad with a co-worker, while she doesn’t like onions (she’s still a really great person, honestly) she said “it was very good”.   Her words, I copied them from Facebook 🙂  This week I’m going to make just a couple of them plus maybe a BLT with Egg salad.  That’s a favourite here too.  Bacon, egg, lettuce, tomato …. yummy.

How am I doing?  I’m good.  My husband and I are planning our “impromptu” trip to the East coast.  I’ve never been east of Quebec City, so next weekend, after a visit with Sebastien at the Connaught Cadet Training Centre we will be heading to the East Coast.  New Brunswick, PEI and Nova Scotia.  Very exciting!


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