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. 

Continue Reading Old Fashioned Lancaster County Macaroni Salad…

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Abbie’s Favorite Chicken Macaroni Salad Recipe

April 1, 2011 at 9:17 am | Posted in Chicken, Pasta, Pasta Salad | 26 Comments
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Last Saturday was our monthly Front Range Food Blogger Meetup over at Barb’s house. Barb writes Vino Luci Style, lives in a central Denver location and generously opens her doors to host our group of local food bloggers. I so  look forward to our gatherings. Not only is it the ultimate potluck event, but we also get down to business and spend time with discussions to better our blogs. Last month we had photography demonstrations and last week we focused on SEO optimization. So far there’s been about a dozen of us attend, and I’m personally loving every minute of  it.

Barb suggested that we blog about and post recipes for the dishes we bring so she can link to them on our Meetup page. I’m all for that since I spend half the social hour begging for recipes. Here’s my latest contribution to our meeting.

My Favorite Chicken Macaroni Salad. Although I’ve had this recipe for about 30 years, it’s not one I make often because I simply can’t be trusted around it. I’ll stand over the kitchen island and eat half the bowl in minutes. So while the “servings” portion of the recipe indicates eight, if I’m around it’s actually six for me and two for you…two if you’re lucky. 

Abbie, Macaroni Salad Afficianado

Well it seems I have a macaroni salad soul mate named Abbie. Here’s how the whole thing came down (so to speak). The meeting was winding down. We had all but packed up our leftovers. We had divvied up and Saran wrapped portions of cookies, pastries and assorted goodies to take home and were in the living room finishing conversations when we heard a big crash.

Kirsten over at My Kitchen in the Rockies promptly went to investigate and found Abbie, Barb’s adorable Cocker Spaniel (who although she doesn’t write a food blog is most certainly an important member of our group) with her head buried in my bowl of macaroni salad which she had wrestled to the floor, stripped off the foil covering and was taking those big gasping doggie bites…you know the ones…where they can hardly breath because they’re trying to inhale as much as possible before being caught.

To protect the innocent Kirsten quickly picked up the evidence but once the story leaked, we all had a good laugh.  Of course, Barb was unnecessarily horrified, and commented on my blog:  “Abbie and I are both sorry she showed little manners. I guess I need a sign, “As cute as she may look, she is a dog who takes advantage of any situation where food is involved”

Abbie, you’re a girl after my own heart!

How do I feel about the whole thing? High five paw Abbie.  A compliment that you loved my macaroni salad, but sorry Sistah…I can’t be trusted around the stuff either…but I bet I could have had that bowl emptied before Kirsten got there.  🙂  I mean c’mon there was still half of it left. 

My Abbie’s Favorite Chicken Macaroni Salad:

4 cups large shell macaroni — cooked
10 oz chicken breasts, cooked and cut into bite sized pieces. (I’ve used rotisserie, canned and breasts cooked and cubed – it all works)
8 oz frozen peas
1 cup celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup cider vinegar
3 Tbs sugar
Salt
Pepper
Dillweed

Servings: 8

As with my potato salad, I like to have all the ingredients in a large bowl and then add my hot drained starch on top, letting everything sit for a couple of minutes to steam the vegetables and seasonings before I mix together. After stirring, adjust flavors to suit your palate.  I usually start with 1 Tsp dried dill and also tweak salt, sugar and vinegar to get it just right for me. As always this is better if it sits overnight in the fridge.

Abbie’s Favorite Chicken Macaroni Salad Recipe…It’s What’s for Dinner.

One Year Ago:  Curried Egg Salad Sandwiches

The Best Pasta Salad EVER?

May 28, 2010 at 11:47 pm | Posted in Pasta Salad | 23 Comments
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Grilled burgers, pasta salads, hanging out on the back deck…get your flip-flops on, grab a cold glass of iced tea and Let The Summer Games Begin.

I honestly don’t have a really good pasta salad recipe. I used to. I don’t know what happened to it. I can’t remember what I thought was so darn good about it…I mean really, is there any magic to throwing together a good pasta salad? Do you really need a recipe? Well it seems I do, as nothing I “throw together” is impressing me.

So I decided to Google “best pasta salad recipe EVER”. After looking through a few of the results, this one caught my eye, so gave it a try. I think it showed up in the results because the first few reviewers exclaimed it to be the best pasta salad EVER.

I don’t know if it’s the “Best Pasta Salad EVER” but we really, really liked it.

Re-Googling, I can’t find the recipe to give credit where credit is due. It wasn’t from a food blogger, it was on a recipe site. And, by coincidence, just as I had finished preparation of my pasta salad, I headed to the computer to read a couple of food blogs last night before dinner and Buffalo Dick had just posted hisMacaroni Salad The Way A Guy Does It” pasta salad…so if you’re looking for a more “manly” version…

So here’s my recipe…it’s in my database sporting the title “Best Pasta Salad EVER”  and I suppose it can keep that title until something better comes along.

Before we go any further, I don’t want you looking at me like I have two heads when you see it calls for bottled Coleslaw Dressing. Finished product is quite tasty, and, as always, much better after sitting in the fridge overnight, gotta give those ingredients a chance to get to know each other better. Ok, you can proceed reading.

The Best Pasta Salad EVER?

1 19 ounce package of frozen three-cheese tortellini (Safeway had their five-cheese brand on sale, so that’s what I used)
1 lb bacon
4 cups chopped broccoli
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 cup bottled coleslaw dressing (I could only find one brand – Hidden Valley)

1. Cook the tortellini according to the package directions, drain, rinse with cold water, and refrigerate until cool, about 30 minutes.

2. Place the bacon in a large, deep skillet, and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain the bacon slices on a paper towel-lined plate. Chop the bacon into 1/2-inch pieces while still a little warm.

3. Place the tortellini, bacon, broccoli, grape tomatoes, and green onions into a salad bowl. Pour the dressing over the ingredients, and toss lightly to coat. Chill in refrigerator before serving.

Servings: 10

When standing in the frozen pasta section and seeing all the different tortellini flavors, I really think the possibilities are interesting. But for now, I somewhat followed directions.

Why is this so good?  Salty bacon and onions, always a winner, chewy cheese tortellini, fresh crunch of broccoli, colored with red tomatoes, with a creamy sweet and tangy vineager dressing.  Yum. 

Do you have a pasta salad recipe that you think is the best EVER? 

Pasta Salad

It’s What’s For Summer

Stick around for a couple of photos from our picnic today;

Our friend Lee, joined us on a picnic/birdwatching trip to Chatfield State Park today. Along with this pasta salad, I packed a ham sandwich wrapped in a plain white bag, tied off with some string with a sprig of fresh rosemary tucked beneath. I copy-catted this idea from my boss Sheri who was recently in a restaurant in Texas where they served a sandwich wrapped like this. She took a photo of it with her phone and sent it to me…that’s right, I now have people taking photos of food and sending them to me. 

The Riparian area along the South Platte River that flows into Chatfield Reservoir. This grove is lousy with birds.

A photo of  hills behind the lake. We’re kinda funny in Colorado, we call our mountains “hills” and our puny little reservoirs “lakes”. We’re at an angle and so close to the foothills that you can’t see those gorgeous 14,000 ft. snow-capped peaks looming behind.  With its close proximity to the Denver Metro Area, tomorrow this lake will be filled with boats. 

Have a great holiday weekend!

One Year Ago:  Cream Cheese Flan

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