Wednesday, March 23, 2011

March 23, 2011: Two Versions of Macaroni Salad Recipes

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One of the best side dishes for spring is macaroni salad. It’s cool and fresh and light and goes perfectly with an Easter ham or leg of lamb. It’s also great for picnics and luncheons with hamburgers or hot dogs.

When I think of macaroni salad, the first thought that comes to mind is of my mother’s version. I inherited all of her cookbooks and I ran across an old recipe from the 50s that I think she loosely based hers on because I’ve never found another formula quite like hers that anyone else makes. Back in those days, Spam wasn’t email junk, it was that good old combination of pork shoulder and ham in a can with a little metal key that was touted as an affordable way to feed your family. And that’s when mom created her macaroni salad recipe with Spam. If you don’t particularly care for Spam (like my DH), don’t worry. I’ve included an alternate recipe that my husband prefers.

Do keep in mind that the measurements I’ve provided here are just approximate. Mom never wrote down her recipe and since I’ve been making it for decades, I just throw the ingredients together as Mom taught me. So always taste the sauce and be sure it is palatable to you!

Macaroni Salad Version 1

12 - 16 ounce package elbow macaroni (it always used to come in a one-pound package but I’ve noticed that you now only get 12 ounces!)
1 ½ cups mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip)
2 t. lemon juice, fresh or bottled
2 t. sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
½ white or yellow onion, finely minced
1 can peas
1 can Spam, cut into medium dice
3 – 4 hard boiled eggs
Paprika

Cook the macaroni according to the package directions. Drain, rinse, and set aside to cool.

In the meantime, prepare the sauce. In a large bowl, mix together the mayo, lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper. Taste it and adjust accordingly; it should be slightly sweet-tart. Add the onion, peas, and Spam. Slice the hard boiled eggs and lay across the top of the salad. Sprinkle lightly with paprika.

Macaroni Salad Version 2

12 – 16 oz. salad macaroni
1 ½ cups mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip)
2 t. lemon juice, fresh or bottled
2 t. sugar
2 t. dill weed
Salt and pepper to taste
½ red, white or yellow onion, finely minced (can also substitute scallions)
About 1 cup sliced green, pimiento-stuffed olives
3 hard boiled eggs

Cook the macaroni according to the package directions. Drain, rinse, and set aside to cool.

In the meantime, prepare the sauce. In a large bowl, mix together the mayo, lemon juice, sugar, dill weed, salt and pepper. Taste it and adjust accordingly; it should be slightly sweet-tart. Add the onion, olives, and chopped hard boiled eggs.

Tip: Easily turn this into potato salad by substituting 6 to 7 peeled, boiled potatoes, chopped, for the macaroni. You may have to add a bit more dressing since potatoes will absorb more. 
To freshen the macaroni salad the next day, add another dollop of mayo.

So which do you prefer? Mom’s recipe or my updated one?

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