Ranch-Style Macaroni Salad
Box Mix Style
One of my favorite salad dressings is Ranch and I like most recipes that call for Ranch Dressing. To my surprise, I tried a boxed salad similar to this one and found it to be totally lacking in what I call palatable flavor. Not only was the mix not pleasing to my palate but it also left me with extreme gastric distress.
Since then I have experimented with different ways of making this salad and came up with the following recipe which is smooth tasting but not overpowering with ranch dressing. The salad also did not leave me reaching for my Tums.
Home Style Recipe
Boil 1/2 pound of elbow macaroni until done to al dente. Drain the macaroni and put into a side dish. You can use any pasta such as the bow tie pasta shown above.
1 stalk of celery,
1 slice from a large onion and
3 pieces of cooked bacon.
You may use the precooked bacon and reheat for 15 seconds in the microwave or during Lent you can eliminate the bacon and use chopped green pepper in it's place.
The important part of this recipe is to mix all the ingredients together while the macaroni is still warm so that the macaroni takes on all the additional flavors.
Mix together in a small bowl about 1-1/2 cups of mayonnaise and an equal amount of your favorite bottled ranch dressing.
Mix all of the ingredients together; sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and then pour the dressing over the macaroni mixture. Continue to blend in the dressing until the macaroni is covered with the dressing.
I like to eat this salad while it is still slightly warm but it is also good the next day if you keep stirring the dressing so that it doesn't dry out.
Storage and added hints
Store in an airtight container so that you can turn the salad over in the refrigerator in order to keep the dressing from drying out on the top portion of the macaroni salad. You can store this salad in a zip lock bag and turn it over from side to side in the refrigerator.
If you get bored with this recipe, you can add grated cheddar cheese to the mix or even some peas for added flavor. Try it with different types of pasta such as shells or bow ties.
Favorite Ranch Dressing
I live in Pittsburgh and rather than make my ranch dressing I have started purchasing it by the quart from a local family restaurant. Eat 'N Park makes the best tasting ranch dressing and I use it on almost everything from fried zucchini to my home made salads. At the restaurant I have it instead of marinara with my zucchini planks. It can't be beat on their grilled chicken salad or along with their loaded fries appetizers.