It’s hard to believe Memorial Day is already here. It seems like spring just flew by, but I’m thrilled to celebrate the start of summer. Even though it looks like it will be a little cold, the weekend looks great. I’ll be spending the weekend with family and friends at the shore. Whether you’re staying at home or heading out-of-town, I’m sure for many the weekend will include a barbecue. This macaroni salad is a great addition to any barbecue or picnic. The recipe is easy, and the addition of seafood means you’re not just bringing the same old macaroni salad. It’s a sweet, crunchy, delicious side for your next barbecue.
To start, chop 2 bell peppers (I used a yellow and red but any will do), 1 small sweet onion, and 2 ribs of celery. Set them aside.For the seafood, you’ll need 3 small cans of small shrimp and 3 small cans of lump white crab meat. Drain the seafood well and set aside.Next, make the dressing. Combine a 15 oz jar of mayonnaise, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon white vinegar, salt, and pepper. If the dressing is too thick, you can always add a little milk to thin it out.For the pasta, I like to use elbow. It just seems like macaroni salad should always include elbow macaroni. Cook 2 lbs elbow macaroni according to package directions. Drain, then add back to the pot with cold tap water and drain again. Normally, I never suggest “rinsing” the pasta, but for macaroni salad, it works to cool the pasta down. Finally, mix everything together in the pot you boiled the pasta (no need to dirty something else). Add the pasta, veggies, seafood, and dressing, and stir thoroughly to combine. Give it a taste for seasoning, then refrigerate until cool. It’s best if you can make the salad a day before serving so the flavors can meld, but if you’re in a pinch, just make sure everything is cold.I hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend full of family and friends, and maybe some sun! Enjoy!
I’m always playing with recipes, trying new things in the kitchen, and looking for different things to make for dinner. I especially like to try seasonal things, tying the food to the weather. When spring and summer hit, I start to think about some of my favorite foods, like seafood, especially shrimp. Recently, I had played around with some ingredients and came up with a delicious dinner, shrimp and orzo with spinach and tomatoes.
For this recipe, cook 1 1/2 cups orzo according to the package directions. While it is cooking, you can prepare the rest. Saute 1 large shallot, minced, in 2 tablespoons olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. You want the shallots to be soft and have a bit of color. It only takes a few minutes. Add to the shallots 4 garlic cloves, chopped. Cook those for a few minutes to get a little bit of color, but make sure they don’t get too dark. Add 1/2 cup white wine, and deglaze the pan (scrape up any cooked bits from the pan).
To the saute pan, add 1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp. Cook the shrimp until they start to turn pink. They only take maybe 2 minutes on each side. Add 8 oz spinach to the pan. Stir carefully…I always seem to toss the spinach everywhere. But it will start to wilt and become part of the dish. Add 1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes that have been cut in half. You just want the tomatoes to heat through, so it will only take a minute or two. They don’t need to cook. Add 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves, then stir everything with the cooked orzo.
Leave everything for about 15 minutes while the flavors come together and the orzo absorbs some of the sauce. Grate 4 oz Asiago cheese into the dish and serve.
This makes a great, light dinner, especially on a warm night. I like it almost at room temperature, but if you prefer it hot, you can just dig in sooner.