cheap eats: macaroni salad

Posted by Dindrane on February 26, 2007 in food, frugal living |

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for easy, cheap food to make, since a lower grocery bill equals more money for paints, silver leaf, etc. So here’s what I made for lunch, and as it’s almost infinitely customizable, it should keep you fueled and ready to paint for a long time:

Note that all amounts are flexible. This won’t be cooked or baked, so amounts and dice size doesn’t matter a whit. If you don’t like something, leave it out entirely, or adjust the amounts for yourself. These are just approximate amounts to reflect what I like; you do what you like or what you happen to have on hand; buying produce special to put in here defeats the purpose.

It’s even relatively healthy, especially if you toss in enough different kinds of veggies. The cheese can be left out or reduced to control fat, and carbs aren’t supposed to scare us anymore.

Macaroni Salad

6 cups cooked elbow macaroni (whole wheat if you have it)
1/2 tsp. onion powder or 1/2 onion diced
1/2 tsp. garlic powder (fresh garlic doesn’t spread the flavor around the pot well enough)
1-2 Tbsp chopped dill pickle or pickle relish
3/4 c. mayonnaise
a couple of carrots, diced or peeled into pot
a rib of celery + leaves or so, chopped into pot
2-4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped/smooshed into pot
freshly ground black pepper
salt if you want

Stir well, chill if desired, and eat.

Optional additions if you have them on hand and like them:

  • Some people like to add some mustard. I don’t, but try a bit into a serving (NOT the whole pot, which you’d have to toss if you don’t like mustard in it).
  • edamame or limas
  • peas
  • diced bell pepper
  • fresh mushrooms
  • dash of olive oil
  • grated or cubed cheese (or uncheeze)
  • flax powder/seeds
  • dash of Italian dressing or Ranch (maybe cut back on the mayo if you do this, so it doesn’t get too soggy)
  • dash of vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • tofu pepperoni, chopped

Really, whatever you like raw, you’ll probably like in here. If you eat meat, you can even throw in some leftover cooked chicken from last night’s dinner, a can of salmon you were saving for the cats, some bacon bits, or whatever.


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