Old Fashioned Lancaster County Macaroni Salad

July 4, 2011 at 10:28 am | Posted in Pasta Salad | 32 Comments
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A few weeks ago, our good friends Greg and Cauleen traveled back east to visit family in Lancaster, PA. They brought us back some great foodie souvenirs including the cookbook from which I prepared the above macaroni salad and an array of Kitchen Kettle Village goodies.

Kitchen Kettle website tells me that they’ve been preserving the bounty of Lancaster County PA for over 50 years and offer an assortment of jams, jellies, sauces, relishes and baked goods including a Shoofly pie that they’ll ship to your doorstep if you’d like. They also have a recipe section for their products, so I’ll be anxious to see what I can whip up with that jar of  pineapple jalapeno jam. 

Cauleen will notice that there are three jars missing. What went quick was the Chow Chow, the Strawberry Rhubarb Jam and those tiny little sweet Pickled Beets. So far everything has been delicious, a great and flavorful product line.

Also in the cache was a Lancaster County Cookbook. The book is a collection of recipes submitted by residents of Lancaster County many of whom are  famous for their Pennsylvania Dutch cooking. You’ll find Pepper Cabbage, Chicken Pot Pie, Creamed Celery, Apple Dumplings, Whoopie Pies, Funnel Cakes, and Shoofly Pie. Overflowing with old-time, traditional recipes, this book is right up my alley. A simple paperback no nonsense cookbook, the only glossy photos you’ll find are a collection showing us the villages and people of Lancaster County.  Complete with essays about the area, it’s a great addition to my cookbook collection.

One of the first recipes that caught my eye was a macaroni salad recipe. Something about it reminded me the old-fashioned recipe my mom used to serve up when I was a kid. It turned out to be incredibly flavorful. Creamy with mayonnaise, tangy and sweet from the mustard, sugar combination, adding in evaporated milk, the mixture was perfect for the al dente pasta to soak up for a creamy end result texture. And with the crunch of celery, carrot and onion, this pasta salad is packed with flavor.

I found it interesting that the recipe called for “dressing”. Growing up in Kansas and following any recipe, the word dressing always meant Miracle Whip. I actually grew up calling Miracle Whip “dressing”. We used it in ham salad sandwiches, in potato salads and cole slaw. The sweeter flavor seemed to compliment all of those dishes. With the sugar content in this recipe, I was afraid Miracle Whip would make it too sweet, so used half Miracle Whip and half Best Foods Mayo. Let’s take a look.

A simple recipe to put together, you can see ingredient measurements in the above recipe photo and procedure is easy:

  1. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain, rinse and cool. Stir celery, carrot and onion into macaroni.
  2. Dice whites of eggs into salad.
  3. To prepare dressing mash egg yolks with mustard and blend well. Add sugar, salad dressing, milk, vinegar and salt to egg and mustard mixture. Pour over macaroni and vegetables.  Mixture will appear soupy.  Chill well before serving. 

The salad was a perfect flavor-bold and perfect-partner to a piece of spicy barbecue sauce slathered grilled chicken.

Lancaster County Macaroni Salad…It’s What’s for a Summer Side Dish.



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  1. That looks great. Perfect for the fourth. We grew up in Md. Some pretty great stuff comes out of Lancaster.

    • I’ve never been. One of these days I’ll make a trip back east.

  2. There were a lot of Dutch near my hometown. It was always a contest between the Mennonites and them over who cooked the best.

    • Growing up a stone’s throw away from Yodor, and my mom being Dutch, I know exactly what you’re talking about. I’m voting for the Dutch. 🙂

  3. My grandma calls Miracle Whip and Mayo dressing. Ha! This sounds like a good pasta salad. Happy 4th, Lea Ann!

    • Your grandma and my mother are probably about the same age, maybe it’s a generational thing.

  4. Did I tell you I was born in Bethlehem? Been awhile since I saw some PA Dutch food!

    • I don’t know if you did or not … Man, we’ll have to talk about some of that good food next time we get together.

  5. looks irresistably hearty..
    chanced upon your space while blog hopping..
    amazing space you have…very interesting posts..
    Am your happy subscriber now..;)
    do stop by mine sometime..

    Tasty Appetite

  6. You sure have some nice friends to bring back goodies for you from their trip Lea Ann. Your macaroni salad sounds perfect with the BBQ chicken as you suggested. Hope you had a great Independence Day.

    • Sam, I kept their little dog while they were in PA. Even though she was no work or bother at all, they brought me these things as a thank you.

  7. This does look like the perfect accompanyment to some bbq. How nice of your friends to bring you back such a nice gift. Right up your alley.

  8. I love cookbooks like this Lea Ann; similar to the church cookbooks I’ve got in my collection. Nothing pretentious; really just good old fashioned barbecue, picnic, pot luck type food.

    LOVE the story about Miracle Whip…it could have been mine. I’m from Missouri; maybe it’s a Midwestern thing?

  9. Macaroni salad and barbecue chicken is such a great combo – like summer on a plate! This recipe sounds really good, too with the mustard and sweet. This sort of salad is such a great thing to keep in the fridge for a quick side. Love your photos, too – really colorful.

  10. It looks good LA and I can imagine anything from the Pa Dutch to be good.

    • Well being from Kansas Dutch, I agree. 🙂

  11. I adore cookbooks like this Lea Ann. My mother used to make a delicious macaroni salad…I’ll have to look it up and compare. I haven’t made one in ages. My, this brought back some happy picnic memories from Michigan days!

  12. So comforting. …and love those swirly noodles!

  13. this is so easy n really nice recipe..
    Tasty Appetite

  14. I’ve definitely never heard of mashed egg yolks mixed into dressings! Sounds tasty!

    • I don’t think I’ve ever heard of mashing egg yolks, or condensed milk in a pasta salad.

  15. Love this, Lea Ann. My mom used to make macaroni salad and it was always one of my summertime favorites. She used to put mashed egg yolks into thousand island dressing and we thought it was great. I bet that fig jam is delicious.

    • Cathy, I would have liked to have made this with traditional elbow macaroni. When hubs walked in with this curly version, I asked him if that looked like his elbow??? 🙂

  16. Pennsylvania Dutch cooking is stick to your ribs, comfort food. I love it. I have not made macaroni salad in years. I am thinking that the next bbq, I need to offer to bring a side dish.

    Awesome post.


    • I agree Velva. My mom is Dutch.

  17. I have been craving macaroni salad! This recipe looks like a classic! Nice of your friends to have brought back the book!

    • It’s packed full of flavor. You might need to adjust abit.

  18. I can imagine so many things that you can do with the pepper jam. I know Southern Living had a great pork chops w/ pepper jelly recipe that was excellent.

    • I love that idea Chris.

  19. There is nothing better than friends sharing gifts! Especially food gifts. My aunt used to make macaroni salad. I haven’t seen it in years! This is fun. I’ll have to recreate those happy memories of her salad.

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