Wednesday, July 25, 2012

"the best macaroni salad ever"

At least that's what Ree, The Pioneer Woman said. I think she was right. Scratch that. I know she was right. 

It's been hot in Chicago this week month. And sometimes I want nothing to do with hot food. Because hot food and a hot body don't mix well.

Enter: the best macaroni salad ever.  

This hits just the spot when you're hungry and craving something cold. I made a huge tub the first time around and it was gone within days. How many batches since then? Four, I think. I have kind of lost count. And it's kind of been hot.

Here's the recipe (with a few tweaks by me):

The Best Macaroni Salad Ever

What You Need:
1/2 box of elbow macaroni: boiled, drained, and cooled
3 roasted red peppers, diced (you could roast red peppers yourself, but I went with jarred) 
1/2 a can of black olives, diced
3 kosher dill pickles, diced 
green onion (I have since omitted this after the first batch---I like green onion, but not this much)
For the sauce:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 
3 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup milk
extra pickle juice (for some tang)

You can check out Ree's version above, but here is how I did it.


Boil your elbow macaroni noodles in salted water in a pot on the stove according to the box directions.

While your noodles are boiling, you need to chop your goodies and make the sauce. It doesn't really matter in what order. 

I picked sauce first. 

For the sauce, take a small mixing bowl and combine the mayo, milk, red wine vinegar, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. You can adjust everything for the sauce, but the sauce needs to not be too thick----think a pourable consistency. Here is where you can toss in a bit of pickle juice for kick. Just a small spoonful or so. Give it a taste and see what you think. I was wondering about this addition, but I don't regret its place in this dish. It definitely adds a different element to the mix. 

Set the sauce aside and chop up the necessary ingredients.

If your noodles finish while you're still working, drain them, rinse them under cool water, and let them hang out.

Chop up the rest of your ingredients: the pickles, roasted red peppers, black olives, and green onions. As I said, you can alter the amounts as you go. Like one of these ingredients a lot? Add a bit more. I won't tell.

And as I mentioned earlier, I omitted using green onion. It just wasn't doing it for me. But since I included it the first time I made it, I figured I might as well show it here.

After everything is chopped, it's mixing time. I take a big storage container to do all the mixing in. First the noodles, then the sauce, then the rest of the ingredients. You should have a little bit of everything in every bite.

Put the bowl of "the best macaroni salad ever" in the fridge and let it hang out for a few hours. This allows the sauce the thicken, the flavors to meld, and the concoction to reach just the right chilly temperature. 

On numerous batches, I have ended up making more sauce than noted, as I do like my macaroni salad saucier. (Yes. Saucier.) This is easy of course, and I usually do it before I stick it all in the fridge to cool because I know my preferences. You could make extra sauce earlier anticipating this, or just see how it turns out after it cools.

Either way, you won't regret it. I promise. Now go---make this salad, fill up a bowl, and eat in peace.  

As Ree said, "it's the best macaroni salad ever!" She is still right. 


(My entry into Thursdays are YOUR Days at 52 Mantels is sponsored by Appliances Online and their Best Freezers!)

1 comment:

  1. This sounds really good! It's been super hot here in Minneapolis too, so I like finding cold foods to make.