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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Creamy Macaroni Salad

Cool and creamy, this Macaroni Salad lends itself to holiday
cooking and experimentation!
Although Summer is done, the holidays are just around the corner and with them various family dinners and potluck suppers. A great standby for such events is Macaroni Salad. It works well with nearly any entree (especially holiday favorites like poultry and ham) and is easy to make and carry.

I adapted a Macaroni Salad recipe from Cook's Country recently using what I had available in the kitchen. Michael was bringing home fried chicken for supper and I needed something as a side. I had most of the ingredients called for in the original recipe but found I'd need to substitute a few things to put my own "spin" on this one. The results were very good. Michael really enjoyed this dish. It has a great creamy texture as a base for whatever other add-ins you want to try. So, get creative! Pick flavors you and your family enjoy and experiment.

Salt and Pepper
2 tbs. good olive oil
1 pound elbow macaroni
1/4 cup red onion, minced
1 celery rib, minced
4 tbs. red bell pepper, minced
1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
2 tbs. fresh chives, chopped
1 tbs. Dijon Mustard
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in a large pot. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add pasta and cook to al dente, about 6-8 minutes. Drain in collander and rinse with cold water to stop cooking and prevent pasta from clumping. Drain again briefly - you want the pasta slightly wet so it doesn't soak up the dressing completely. Transfer to a large bowl.

For the dressing, stir in onion, celery, bell pepper, parsley, lemon juice, mustard, chives, garlic powder and cayenne. Let sit until flavors are absorbed, about 2-3 minutes. Add mayonnaise and stir. Let sit until salad is no longer watery - about 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve. (Salad may be refrigerated covered for up to 2 days.)

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