Simply Delicious Macaroni Salad
Summer is a busy time and I don't want to spend hours in the kitchen. My mother was such a great cook and she always made it look so easy. We weren't rich but Mom knew how to put a nutritious meal on the table, even on her limited budget. She taught me not to be afraid of trying new things and experimenting with whatever you have on hand.
Now that I'm on my own, I still love my Mom's recipes but I get tired of the same old summer salads, I like to change them up once in a while. Unless you get really wild, it's hard to mess one up. This is one of my favorites and I hope you will enjoy it too.
30 minutes from start to finish.
- 1 small box macaroni, I like the small shells.
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup celery, chopped
- 1 cucumber, chopped
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 oackage Dry Ranch Dressing Mix
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Boil a small box of macaroni in salted water per the package instructions. While it's cooking, you can chop your onions, peppers, and cucumber.
- In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise and Ranch Dressing mix until thoroughly blended.
- When the macaroni is done, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process and drain well.
- Add the chopped peppers, onion, and cucumbers and toss gently until mixed well.
- Drizzle the dressing over the pasta and veggies and toss lightly with a rubber spatula.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Refrigerate and enjoy.
Variety is the spice of life
As I said earlier, I like variety and this simply delicious macaroni salad can be modified in so many ways. Here are some changes I made from time to time. Give them a try.
- Add some chopped heirloom tomatoes right before serving.
- Throw in some small chunks of your favorite cheese (you can't go wrong with cheddar).
- Forget the mayonnaise and Ranch Dressing mix. Use 3/4 cup of bottled Ranch Dressing.
- Feeling a need for a little spice? Use Italian Dressing instead of Ranch.
- Like it hot? Toss in a a little chopped jalapeno or sweet banana pepper.
- Are you a carnivore at heart? Add some chopped ham.
- Black olives add color and depth of flavor too.
- Change the texture of the dish using spiral or bow-tie pasta.
Use a little imagination and make that summer salad one they will remember. .
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Buy local and buy organic
Before you throw your money into the bid food giants who don't care about your health, check out your local sources for the products you need. Buy from a local farmer or from a farmer's market. Family farms are being threatened with extinction and your support will help keep them alive.
Many small farmer's are turning to smaller crops grown organically without pesticides and other chemicals. As more of us become aware and concerned about the quality of our foods, they will be here long after we put the corporate giants out of business.
In a perfect world, we would all grow our own food but it's not a perfect world. That doesn't mean we can't eat healthier though. Check out the resources in your area. Many communities are starting community gardens where you help tend the garden and you get fresh food in exchange. And don't forget those organic co-ops. It's a great way to eat healthy and to get introduced to some things you've never tried before. You won't believe how much better vegetables taste when they go straight from the farm to your table.
Well it's lunch time here in the southeast and I have a bowl of simply delicious macaroni salad calling my name. I hope you will experiment with your summer veggies and give this a try.
© 2014 Linda Crist