Thursday, April 4, 2013

Kitchen Traditions - Peggy's Macaroni Salad

This is the most loved dish in my Husband’s family; it is present at every holiday and family gathering.  When we got married, Hubby told his mother that he wasn't coming if she didn't make macaroni salad for the reception. When my husband and I moved away from home so he could finish his degree, I simply had to get this recipe from my mother in law.  I'd helped her make it several times (When you cook for large family gatherings, sometimes it takes extra hands - and this can get kind of messy when you do it yourself) and of course, like most cherished family recipes, this one was never written down. The first time I made this, the family was skeptical that I could pull it off… but of course it turned out perfect.  And this year for Easter, I took over the helm and made the macaroni salad, with roaring success and compliments from the family.

My Mother in Law and Best Friend, Peggy

This recipe is for what I would consider a double batch, believe it or not, it is not even the full recipe we used to make for family gatherings when I first learned the recipe.

This is one recipe that I don’t recommend omitting or changing ingredients; the flavors meld perfectly. Even people in our family who don’t care for celery don’t mind it in this recipe, same with the green pepper. We prefer shell macaroni, all the yummy goodness fills the shells, it just doesn’t seem the same with different macaroni, you definitely need miracle whip here not mayonnaise. 

 Boil your macaroni in heavily salted water (taste your water as it warms,  you need to be able to taste the salt) Boil it until soft, you don’t want any “bite” in the macaroni as undercooked macaroni will absorb more dressing and make the salad too dry (although, we do have a step to remedy that). While the macaroni is cooking, chop your onion, celery and green pepper and dice your hard boiled eggs.  If you don’t have an egg slicer, I highly recommend one.  As a lover of egg salad, and of course this dish, I find it irreplaceable, I also use it to slice strawberries and mushrooms. Another tip, slice the egg one way then turn it 90 degrees and slice the other way to get a diced egg.  Way back when, we use to hand chop the onion, celery and green pepper, then Peggy decided to start using a food processor, it saves so much time, especially when making a triple or quadruple batch, which is what she typically makes. When she first did it, I thought it would have awful results on the end product, but it didn’t make much, if any difference that I can recall; we’ve been doing it this way for so long now that I honestly don’t remember. LOL.

 You will need a very large bowl, pan or bucket depending on the amount you are making… yes, we have made this in a 5 gallon bucket before! Put your veggies in your bowl of choice.  Drain your macaroni and rinse with cool water. Put the macaroni, diced veggies and diced hardboiled eggs in the bowl of choice. Take a minute and salt your eggs. Mix them together.

Add the miracle whip.  For the double batch you are going to want one full jar to start with, for a half batch start with ½ a jar and add more if you think it’s needed. Mix it in. You are definitely going to need to use your hands for this. (I highly recommend removing rings and bracelets first).

Mix well, taste, add more salt to taste, mix again, cover and refrigerate overnight. The next morning, taste again, you will more than likely need to add more Miracle Whip, this is a real moist salad. In my 20+ years of helping Peggy make this salad, and making it on my own, I've only ever seen one time when we didn't have to add more Miracle Whip the next day. In this case I added another half of a jar of Miracle whip. (Total used was 1 1/2 30 oz jars) Taste it again and add more salt if needed.

I hope you enjoy this recipe... Please be sure to comment and let me know what you think and/or if you try it!

Love and God's peace to you,

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