Well my niece and nephew have been here for a week and are returning home to Kearney, Missouri. I haven’t got one complaint, only an observation: ‘I have to return to my style of dining, asap!’ I wanted to please their palates all week so it’s been burgers, tacos, pizza, ice cream, you get the picture. I am very ready for my steamed vegetables and grilled meats to return. Oh yeah, we eat all those fun foods, but not all at once, a bit scattered out.
Ervin and I have done all kinds of fun things these past five days and enjoyed every one of them! The biggest thing I noticed is that 20 years back it was no big deal jumping off the pontoon into the lake. Now it feels like I’m looking at a ‘high dive’ as I plummet myself into Table Rock Lake. I am a bit sad to say the water hasn’t been too refreshing as of late. It feels like a warm tub bath. Our temperatures have been soaring over the past 10 days with no rain in sight. And the next 10 days to follow are supposed to be the same. Which brings me to a simple salad for the refrigerator.
I enjoy pasta salads of all kinds, and a Macaroni salad can be cool, refreshing and pleasing on any day. Personally, I enjoy watching the different versions that appear at church dinners and carry-in suppers. There are sooo…many limitless ideas. For example, tonight as I journal my salad ideas I’m thinking how delicious it would be to do mandarin oranges, sugar snap peas, turkey or chicken chunks, grapes, pineapple, cheese and pecans. Dried fruits could even make their way into your creations.
I suppose one of the things I appreciate about any macaroni salad is the versatility. Great to serve for a family gathering on Sunday and perfect for the lunch box the next couple of days. I know how some are already thinking: “I just can’t allow myself to eat all those carbs.” Well, you aren’t! Once those pastas are cooked and cooled you have transitioned them into the ‘resistance’ stage. I will allow you to look this up, because I have covered resistance starches many times in this column. I will however, tell you about two culinary guests several years ago who decided to thoroughly test this philosophy. The husband was diabetic and they prepared a pasta dinner. An hour after eating the meal he checked his sugar, poof up it went. The next week they prepared the exact meal over again. This time they cooled the pasta and re-heated it. An hour later they checked the sugar and it was stable, there was no spike.
Dressings on these salads can be a vinaigrette or a cream concoction. I favor creams, but I’m also changing over to more vinegar and oils. The dressing doesn’t have to be homemade. Pick up salad dressings when they go on sale, so you’re ready to go. Also think about some fresh herbs. With tomato season upon us, fresh basil, mozzarella balls, grape tomatoes, Italian meats and pasta are a huge hit.
Well I’m going to miss the giggles and grins of the young set this week. Truth be known I would love to have them around much more often. Prepare something cool that will take you through a few meals this week. Keep the stove off and the AC running. Simply Yours, The Covered Dish. www.thecovereddish.com.
8 ounces cooked elbow macaroni
1 pound diced/chunked ham
½ pound diced American cheese
7 ounces thawed, drained frozen peas
Chopped green onion to taste
1 ¼ cups mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
3 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon honey mustard
4 tablespoons half & half
½ teaspoon ground white pepper
½ teaspoon *Black Kettle seasoning
1 tablespoon sugar
Celery, pimento, sweet peppers, olives, hard boiled eggs, pepperoni, cooked chicken, tomato, sweet pickles.
Prepare macaroni and all salad ingredients and place in a large bowl.
Mix all the dressing ingredients together until smooth and blend into the salad. Refrigerate and serve as a main entrée or side dish.
Serves 6-8 persons