Summertime Macaroni Salad

I’ll just start by saying I love The Pioneer Woman. Her website is usually the first I visit for a recipe. I was looking for something similar to my mom’s macaroni salad. Here’s a link to PW’s recipe. I basically followed her recipe, however, I made a few adjustments (more like Mom’s).  If you like a macaroni salad with some color and a bit of something extra in every bite, try this one out.

Macaroni Salad

Summertime Macaroni Salad

4 cups elbow macaroni
3/4 cup of black olives, chopped fine
1/2 red onion, chopped fine
2 celery ribs, chopped fine
3/4 cup sweet pickles, chopped fine
4 hard-boiled eggs, diced
3/4 cup mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
2 Tbs. distilled vinegar
4 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper, or more as needed
extra pickle juice from jar to taste

1. Cook the macaroni in lightly salted water according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool. Set aside.

2. Mix together mayo, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Set aside.

3. Place cooked macaroni in a large bowl and pour 3/4 of the dressing over the macaroni. Toss and add more dressing if needed. (Dressing will seem a little thin, but it will thicken up as salad chills.)

4. Stir in olives, onion, pickles and celery.

5. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Garnish with celery leaf.

Note: Just go with what you think as far as the ingredients to get the desired consistency you like. This recipe is just a guideline.


Arugula Shmugula

Okay, so I’m not a big fan of arugula. It’s just – strong and peppery. So, when I received a big bunch in my CSA farmstand box last week, I rinsed the bunch and put it in my fridge until the day arrives when I have to throw it out because it is no longer edible. And when I remove the slimy, no-longer-recognizable arugula from the fridge, I won’t feel bad because at least I compost kitchen waste.

Fast-forward to this morning when I was going through some old magazines before tossing them to the curb. Cooking Light One-Dish Meals. Oh ya, I wanted to make that yummy-looking pasta dish on the cover! Actually several of the recipes inside looked yummy. And then I came to page 94. Arugula, Grape and Sunflower Seed Salad. Well, I am hungry and I do have all of the ingredients. Why not?

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Guess what? I like arugula. I found a salad that is actually pretty darn tasty using arugula. The grapes and dressing add a little sweet to the peppery greens and the sunflower seeds give a little crunch. In fact, I liked it so much that I’m adding it to my recipe binder with a couple modifications.

Arugula, Grape and Sunflower Seed Salad

3 Tbs. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. maple syrup
1/2 tsp. stone-ground mustard
2 tsp. grape seed oil
baby arugula
2 1/2 cups red grapes, halved
2 Tbs. unsalted sunflower seed kernels
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl. Gradually add oil, stirring with a whisk.

2. Combine arugula, grapes, seeds, and thyme in a large bowl. Add dressing over salad and toss gently to coat. Use fresh ground pepper to taste.

*Side note on grape seed oil. If you don’t have any, add it right now to your shopping list. You won’t regret it. Grape seed oil is so much lighter and will really add something special to your salad dressings.