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I’ve probably never been more excited about an ALDI Meal Plan before. I’ve seen so many Mason Jar Salad recipes over the years on Pinterest and wondered if they really work. Do they really stay fresh? Can you really eat out of the jar? Is it really that simple to mix them up? And so I set out to make a salad meal plan. I realize this deviates from my typical family of 4 primarily dinner plans. Although if your kiddos love salad they might go for this too. In the end, I was able to get about 19 salads out of what I purchased and I had some leftovers, too. Not too bad for $49.99 in groceries
If you’re new here, there are 9 other ALDI Meal Plans on my site – all where you spend $50 or less! As always, I don’t account for things like spices or kitchen staples (salad dressing, flour, eggs, milk, butter, oil, rice, syrup etc.). Although I did buy a few of those items this time. You may have other items on hand to punch up a dish and add some pizazz. I’ll make suggestions when I can. There are some allergen sensitive items that you might have to replace or alter. I will add gluten free suggestions, too. Ok deep breath. Here we go.
Without further ado, here’s what I bought:
Large Eggs $0.49: What in the world? Eggs were back down to $0.49 again. I wanted the option to add boiled egg to any of the salads when we wanted. I read conflicting posts on whether or not to put them in the jars or simple wait and add later so I boiled and peeled them, placing a bag full in the fridge to add to a salad whenever with any of the combinations.
Turkey Pepperoni $2.19: Who wouldn’t want to eat a salad that tasted like pizza?! I bought Turkey Pepperoni to make 3 jars of pizza salad. To make the salad easier to eat, I cut each pepperoni slice into bite sized quarters with my kitchen scissors. I had some leftover, too.
Frozen Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts $5.49: One of my favorite quick mealtime tricks is to marinade an entire bag of chicken with a bottle of salad dressing for about a day and a half and then grill it all. After it’s cooled, chop it into small pieces to assemble salads.
Never Any! Black Forest Ham $2.99: We really like the Never Any! ALDI Brand. It features products that don’t have preservatives or nitrates. I don’t always buy all meat this way but I like having an affordable way to choose this. I used the ham to make 4 chef salads.
Never Any! Oven Roasted Turkey $2.99: I used a little less of the turkey in each of the chef salads and also put together 3 Turkey Bacon BBQ Ranch jar. It’s probably my favorite.
Center Cut Bacon $3.49: Turkey, bacon, cheddar, ranch, a bit of BBQ sauce and corn make your Mason Jar salad feel like a backyard moment in the middle of the day anywhere. I pre-cooked the bacon in the oven (not too crispy) and then again used kitchen scissors to cut it into bite sized pieces.
Cheddar Shredded Cheese $2.99: Oh how I love cheese! I used not quite all of this rather large 4 cup bag of cheese. If you’re cheesier, you could always add more.
Mozzarella Shredded Cheese $2.99: Same song second verse: big ‘ole bag of cheese + many salads = still plenty of leftover cheese.
Feta Crumbles $1.69: You’ll notice on the receipt that these rang up as $1.79. This totally threw my whole mojo off. I caught a second $0.40 mistake, too. While this rarely happens at ALDI, it’s still good to have a close eye on things so you don’t get overcharged.
Croutons $0.89 (2): We aren’t usually too much of a crouton buying family but I thought it would be fun to toss some in for this plan. Plus, I wanted to see if they would really stay crunchy for a week’s time in the jar.
Frozen Sweet Corn $0.95: I used some corn in both the Turkey Bacon BBQ Ranch Salad and the Sweet Heat Chicken Fajita Salad.
Black Beans $0.59: You’ll just need one can of black beans for this plan. We’ll use them in the Sweet Heat Chicken Fajita Salad. Drain and rinse them before adding to the layers.
Fit & Light Raspberry Vinaigrette $0.89: So I actually found this on clearance for $0.89 and it rang up $1.29 which nearly made me go cray cray until I fully inspected the receipt. You many not be able to find it since it’s a rotational item. There is a higher end dressing in the salad area. You could definitely sub it out for a $1.19 more. Or you could even reserve just a small part of it for the salads. This bottle I poured straight into my bag of boneless skinless chicken breasts as soon as I got home and let them marinade in the refrigerator for a day and a half before grilling them.
Raspberry Vinaigrette $1.99: I splurged on this higher end dressing because it sounded so good for the Berry Chicken Spinach Salad. I didn’t even use 1/3 of the bottle though.
Fit & Light Ranch Dressing $1.29: You can certainly use whatever dressings you like best, but I thought a ranch would be good for the Chef Salad, the Sweet Heat Chicken Fajita Salad, and Turkey Bacon BBQ Ranch Salad. If you already have dressing on hand, you won’t even need to pick this one up.
Strawberries $1.99: True story: I put these toward the back of the fridge and they were a little frozen when I cut them. They pop in the Berry Chicken Spinach Salad and did just fine even though they got a little stiff in my fridge. Hey, there were lots of fruits and veggies in there!
Seedless Cucumber $0.99: I’m not going to make salads without my favorite veggie. I’ll always choose Larry over Bob.
3 Large Multi-Colored Peppers $2.99: After making 18 salads with most of them having peppers, Brian reminded me he does not like peppers, nor do they like him. I won’t be putting in as many next time. As least they were chopped in big enough pieces he can dig them out. #oops
Baby Bella Mushrooms $0.99: I like a mushroom in a salad and I thought they’d do particularly well in the Turkey Pepperoni Pizza Salad. I did add them to a couple of the others, too.
Grape Tomatoes $0.99 (2): To keep the overall moisture down in the jar, I decided to use grape tomatoes. This was great because they’re already bite sized and I didn’t have chop them.
Baby Carrots $0.49: I couldn’t even believe how cheap these were! I did some extra time chopping them into small round pieces so that they would be easier to pack and eat.
Artisan Baby Lettuce $1.99: I wanted to do something a little different for the Turkey Pepperoni Pizza Salad so I went with these little heads of lettuce. They basically look like a mixed greens bagged salad when you are done.
Flat Leaf Spinach $1.79: I had more than enough spinach for the Berry Chicken Spinach Salad with Feta Cheese. My only complaint is that the leaves are a little large. Next time, I’d probably cut them smaller.
Romaine Hearts $1.99 (2): No shocker, you’re going to need a whole lot of lettuce for this meal plan. I wanted to buy more than enough. I was intentional about washing it thoroughly and then blotting it down with a paper towel so there wasn’t a lot of extra moisture. I also used this knife because I feel like it does a better job of keeping the lettuce from turning brown over time. I also chopped the lettuce smaller than I normally would for a salad to get more in the jar and to make sure it would be easier to eat.
Here’s my receipt proof! We were a little stumped when we got to the register and we had gone over (the original total was $50.49 and I was all like, “Whaaaa?! I’m cuckoo with my calculator.”). I did a little detective work and realized the Feta rang up $0.10 more than it should have and the clearance salad dressing was $0.40 more and we were back in business after a quick conversation with the more than helpful cashier who I am sure thought both Brian and I were absolutely INSANE. But I didn’t want to let you guys down and it’s a $50 meal plan, not a $50.49 meal plan after all for goodness sake.
What I did first:
As soon as I got home, I marinaded the frozen chicken. The next day when I was fixing dinner, I prepared the bacon and boiled and peeled the eggs. The next morning, I grilled the chicken and chopped everything. I’m not going to lie. This was a two episode Netflix endeavor. There were many things to be cut. But after I had it all done, the assembly didn’t take much time. I read How to Pack the Perfect Salad Jar, The Ultimate Mason Jar Salad Tutorial, and How to Make a Mason Jar Salad. Research helps, my friends.
Print the entire ALDI $50 Mason Jar Salad Meal Plan Grocery Shopping List.
And here’s what I made:
with Ranch Dressing, Carrots, Cucumber, Peppers, Grape Tomatoes
Ham, Turkey, Cheese, Cheddar Cheese
Romaine, Croutons, Egg
I was able to get 3 of these salads from my ingredients. I chopped all of the ingredients into smaller than I usually would bite sized pieces. This was a piece of wisdom from a smart friend of mine who had done this before. I also was sure to keep the ingredients as dry as possible. I read a few different online pieces about how to best layer the ingredients. All seemed to agree that you put the dressing on the very bottom. Most recommend 2-3 Tablespoons. I would probably use a little less since I’m not a super dressing sort of girl. I think if you cover the bottom you’ll have more than enough. After that you layer the solid, thicker veggies. Think: carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, peppers, and grapes. Then I layered the protein sources – in this case ham and turkey. Since I needed the turkey for another salad I went ham heavy on these three. Remember to cut it smaller, too. The internet wisdom was split on where cheese goes. Some said this layer. Some said on the very top. I tried both just to compare. It’s only been a couple of days so I’ll come back and update with my opinion later. Next comes your lettuce. Pack it in tightly. The less air between your layers, the better. A lot of sites were again divided on whether or not to include croutons and eggs or add them later so I tried out both for croutons. For the eggs, I boiled and peeled them and put them in the fridge. This is my favorite of all of the salads, by the way. And I think the easiest to prepare, too.
Sweet Heat Fajita Chicken Salad
Ranch Dressing, Salsa, Tomatoes, Peppers
Black Beans, Corn, Chicken
Romaine Lettuce, Cheese
I didn’t include salsa in the grocery list because it only takes a spoonful or two, but if you have some use it on this salad. I able to get 4 of these salads made. Use the same strategy as the first salad, placing the dressing in the bottom, followed by larger veggies, smaller veggies, protein, and then the lettuce. The chicken will have a slightly sweet flavor because of the raspberry vinaigrette marinade. So if you use a spicier salsa, that will make a fantastic combo. A lot of sites mentioned you can even put avocados in these. You just need to sprinkle them with lime juice to keep them from turning brown. If you had cilantro, it would be a great addition to this. Or some tortilla strips would be a yummy addition, too.
Turkey Pepperoni Pizza Salad
Balsamic Vinaigrette, Carrots, Tomatoes, Mushroom
Turkey Pepperoni, Mozzarella Cheese
Baby Lettuce Mix, Croutons
Yes, pizza flavor without the regret. I made a quick homemade vinaigrette with olive oil, a teeny bit of brown sugar, garlic, and balsamic vinegar. I poured a bit in the bottom, followed by carrots and mushrooms. Then, I placed in that bite sized pepperoni and mozzarella cheese. I mixed all of the baby lettuces together and packed it in tight. I finished by placing some croutons on top. You could add some Italian herbs or spices (mmmm basil). Or other preferred pizza ingredients in this one. I made 4 of these, too.
Turkey Bacon BBQ Ranch
Ranch Dressing with a drizzle of BBQ Sauce, Carrots, Peppers, Tomatoes, Cucumber
Corn, Turkey, Bacon, Cheddar Cheese
Romaine Lettuce, Croutons
This salad is super yummy! After covering the bottom of the jar with Ranch, I drizzled just a little Kansas City BBQ Sauce into it. After that I layered larger veggies, followed by corn, then turkey, bacon, and cheddar cheese. Finally I packed in that romaine. You could put croutons and even egg in this one, too. Like I said, I am just adding egg right before I eat it, but the croutons I packed in. I made 3 jars of this salad.
Berry Chicken Spinach Salad
Raspberry Vinaigrette, Carrots, Mushroom
Strawberries, Feta Cheese Crumbles
I had this one for lunch today and it has a light sweet flavor. I was worried that the strawberries would quickly get mushy so I decided to eat one of the 3 salads I made early on in the week. I’m holding one back for later in the week too. I think this one would be yummy with blueberries and a walnut or pecan. I might cut the spinach smaller next time or buy baby spinach. It was a little wild as I was trying to mix and eat it.
Grilled Chicken Veggie Heavy Salad
Balsamic Vinaigrette, Carrots, Mushroom, Cucumber, Peppers, Tomatoes
Corn, Grilled Chicken, Bacon, Cheddar, and Mozzarella Cheese
Romain Lettuce, Croutons, Egg
You guessed it, this was my catch all salad with as many leftover ingredients as I could squeeze into a jar. I actually had a half bag of spinach left. And Brian fixed himself a salad in a bowl while I was making everything too. So I’d think you might be able to even get 20 jars total if you worked things right. 🙂
Thanks for hanging in there with me on this post! It’s only been a couple of days but I have been eating many more veggies and I LOVE the ease of being able to reach into the refrigerator and grab a meal at the drop of a hat. And so far everything remains super crunchy.
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