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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Macaroni Salad

I know there are hundreds, if not thousands, of recipes for macaroni salad.  Here is how I make macaroni salad...which I learned from my Aunt Alice...who learned it from her Aunt Bunny (Bunny's real name was, unfortunately for her, Berniece.)

I make this about ten times each summer because my husband is in love with it.  He will take big containers of it to eat for breakfast and lunch.  It's not exactly healthy as a meal option, but then how much better is a doughnut, a hot dog, or pop-tarts?

Here is what the recipe card from Aunt Alice says--quoted--so the jokes are hers!  I had to find it because I haven't actually used the recipe card in ages!

1 cup macaroni
1 green pepper, chopped     ]        
1 cucumber, chopped         ]  put the amount that you
1 chopped onion to taste    ]  like for these
1 or two tomatoes, chopped  ]  ingredients   
Miracle Whip -- 2 or 3 heaping tablespoons (or more -- to taste)
Season Salt -- to taste (secret ingredient!)
You can put any number of items into your salad...shredded cheddar cheese, pieces of chopped ham, tuna, peas (fresh or frozen that have been thawed), bacon bits, chopped hard boiled eggs (would be hard to chop unboiled eggs--here's my sign!), olives, etc.

I do make my salad a little bit differently.  I use a one pound bag of large shell pasta; I've never seen Alice use anything other than elbow macaroni.  The first time I made macaroni salad for Trevor I used the shells because they were on sale, and I'm a cheapskate.  Now he thinks the salad "tastes funny" if I use anything other than shells.  I think it is all in his head! 

Also, I don't put any green pepper in it.  I put cucumber, white or yellow onion, tomatoes, and cheese.  My husband prefers Kraft Crumbles Cheese if I can find them, but they are hard to come by I either finely chop bulk cheese OR I use shredded. 

Lastly, I use Spin Blend instead of Miracle Whip. 
My husband is so in LOVE with Spin Blend that he had his Mama send it to him in care packages when he was stationed at Camp Pendleton in California and in Okinawa during his Marine Corps days...that's dedication to a salad dressing!  If they ever stop making it, he may have a mental breakdown.

Aunt Alice likes to chop everything up really small...I don't have that kind of patience, so my husband gets big chunks.  The cucumber, tomato, and onion are all from our garden!  That makes the salad taste even better!
Boil the pasta to al dente...still pretty tough.  Mushy pasta in a pasta salad is just icky!  As soon as you drain the pasta, rinse it with cold tap water until the heat is out of the pasta to stop the pasta from cooking further and to prevent the pasta from becoming one giant ball of goo!

When the salad is first made, it should seem pretty gooey.  The noodles will suck up a lot of the salad dressing.  If you don't make it kind of gooey, the salad will be dry when it is served.

It's best if a macaroni salad gets to sit in the fridge for a couple of hours and get good and cool.

Don't put too much season salt...if you accidentally dump a whole bottle of SeasonAll in the I did one time...don't try to save it...just throw it away and start can't wash that much salt off the noodles...just trust me!

This is how I measure things...2-3 "big glops" of Spin Blend and about that much SeasonAll...I know...real scientific!
What's your favorite summer salad?

Have a super Tuesday, and take care of you!

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