Welp, happy to report in that, I think I’ve finally cracked the secret code to good, deli-style macaroni salad that doesn’t have me refreshing it the next day, (or even several hours later), with a gallon more of mayonnaise! This stays creamy and only requires a tablespoon more milk and more salt to taste the next day! Yay! No more scraping the bottom of the jar while the noodles keep sucking it up faster than I can add it. I don’t know how many times this used to frustrate me. I thought to try soaking the cooked noodles in a bath of milk, and though that worked “ok”, it took forever and lots of ocaisional stirring for the noodles to absorb the milk. So one day, while in a rush, I thought to add a little salad oil to the noodles creating a “blocker” of sorts to stop the mayonnaise from soaking into the noodles, and….drum role…. wah-lah! It worked beautifully! I could not have been more pleased with the results! Just like a good deli salad, but without the “unknown” preservatives and chemicals. You will need to add a tad of milk the next day to loosen the noodles, as well as add a little more salt. Noodles really absorb salt overnight, so much so, that it will taste like you forgot to add it. So don’t be shy with it. Add it and enjoy! If it doesn’t taste good, why bother, right? Also providing some fun add-ins to compliment whatever you’re serving. With yard work, spring planting and grilling season upon us, salads like this come in very handy!
CREAMY DELI-STYLE MACARONI SALAD
2 1/2 cups uncooked macaroni noodles, I prefer Barilla
1 – 1 1/2 Tbl. salad oil, canola or vegetable
2 cups heavy mayo, I always use Hellmann’s
1/3 cup sweet bread and butter chip pickles, finely chopped
3 Tbl. juice from jar of bread and butter pickles
3 Tbl. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. celery salt
1/4 tsp. celery seeds
2 tsp. regular yellow table mustard, I use French’s
1 Tbl. dried minced onion
1 Tbl. milk
tiny cubes of sharp cheddar cheese
grated sweet baby carrots
chopped hard-boiled eggs
sweet baby peas
ripe or green olives, sliced or chopped
chopped pimiento peppers, drained
thinly sliced celery
*finely chopped red onion instead of dried minced (2 Tbl. or to taste)
In medium mixing bowl, mix all sauce ingredients, stirring well, set aside. Cook macaroni according to package directions. (I cook mine until tender throughout for this salad, rather than al dente. Be sure not to overcook them, though. Just until tender through.) Drain, rinse with cold water to stop cooking, drain again extremely well, pour into large bowl and stir in salad oil well. Let sit a few minutes, stir again. Stir in sauce until well coated. Chill in fridge for 30 minutes to one hour or overnight. (Stir occasionally if you’d like.) Fold in any special “add-ins” you might desire and a tablespoon more milk if needed to loosen. Taste for saltiness, add accordingly. Pour into serving bowl, and garnish top if you’d like.
I like to lightly sprinkle the top with a little sweet smoked paprika, a little coarse ground pepper and sometimes sliced hard-boiled eggs overlapped like a flower in the center. Fresh chopped parsley is also nice. Remember, we eat with our eyes first! If decorated nicely on top, this salad will be the first to go on the picnic table!
*If adding a lot of “add-ins”, make a half-batch more sauce if needed.