Tomato Sweet Onion Macaroni Salad

I was hired to cater a workshop event recently and wanted to make macaroni salad that would not spoil sitting out in a warm room. After a lot of researching, I decided to come up with something of my own using different ideas from recipes. I found this tomato relish on Recipezaar and just made minor adjustments to it. I added the tomato relish to the cooked elbow macaroni. It came out fantastic, I was surprised. I have become encouraged to come up with my own recipes because it shows I have really improved as an experimental/healthy/simple home cook in the last year or two. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. Enjoy!

Tomato Sweet Onion Macaroni Salad
Serves 14 to 16 people ½ cup servings
Created on October 5, 2011

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1 Box of Whole Grain Elbow Macaroni
3 Stalks of Celery, chopped
1 quart of mini Heirloom Tomatoes, chopped (I used ¼ yellow, ¼ orange and ½ red tomatoes)
½ of a red onion finely minced
3 green onions, minced fine
½ cup of Fage Greek yogurt or Hellman’s mayonnaise (both ways is delicious)
2 tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar
2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
½ cup of freshly minced parsley
Salt/Pepper to taste

Prepare the tomato relish in the morning if you can. This way the tomatoes have time to marinate with all the other seasonings. Trust me it is worth the wait.

Cut the mini Heirloom tomatoes into quarters and put in a glass bowl. Finely mince the red onion. You can use green onions or shallots if you want a milder taste. Add the Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil and season with salt and pepper. Mix well. Cover and marinate for about 3 to 4 hours. The juices from the tomatoes will develop and this will really flavor the macaroni salad.

Cook the elbow macaroni per the package directions. Rinse well and put in a bowl and set aside. Chop 3 stalks of celery and mince the green onions and parsley. Add to the cooked elbow macaroni. Add the tomato relish. Combine all the ingredients before adding the Greek yogurt or mayonnaise. Stir well. Serve with sandwiches or a fresh green salad.

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Dill Sauce

I make this sauce a lot to top over tuna burgers, sandwiches, any kind of fish recipes. I think if I remember correctly I saw this recipe in one of my “Eating Well” magazines. I just tweaked the flavors of the sauce to whatever ingredients I had on hand. The flavors from the sour cream or Greek Yogurt, dill, and lemon are fresh, appealing and compliments the prepared dishes very well. Enjoy!

Creamy Dill Sauce
Created on 09/25/11

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This makes about ½ cup of sauce

 ¼ cup of sour cream

2 tablespoons of mayonnaise or Greek Yogurt

Juice of a ½ lemon

1 teaspoon of lemon zest

1 tablespoon of dried or fresh dill

2 shakes (about 1/8 teaspoon) of Tabasco sauce

Scant of salt

Cracked pepper

 Mix all the ingredients well in a small bowl and refrigerate for an hour. Top sauce on your favorite fish recipe, salads, or use as a dressing in a sandwich.

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7 Layer Salad Squares

A friend asked me for some appetizer ideas for a family get-together for the New Year holiday. I used to be a Pampered Chef kitchen consultant so I thought I would check out some of the cookbooks and see what I could come up with. I found this recipe that I demonstrated at a kitchen show but really wanted to change the recipe to a more healthier version for my parties. Due to the travel time, there were some ingredients in the recipe that could become spoiled I had to figure out a way to make the recipe travel friendly.

7 Layer Salad Squares
Modified recipe from Pampered Chef on 01/02/2010

2 packages (8 ounces each) low-fat refrigerated crescent rolls
1 package (8 ounces) Neufchatel cheese
1 garlic clove minced
6 slices bacon, crisply cooked, crumbled (put bacon on paper towel to drain grease)
1 cup thawed frozen baby petite peas
3 plum tomatoes or ½ pint of cherry tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 cups thinly sliced Roman lettuce
½ cup (2 ounces) 2% milk fat shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup thinly sliced red onion

Salad Dressing (need ½ cup of this)
½ cup 2% Fago Greek Yogurt
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 12×15 tray with a lip or a 12 x 15 stone with a lip. Unroll the crescent rolls with the longest side of the rolls to the shortest side of the tray.  Seams of the crescent roll need to be pressed together tightly using your fingers or a mini roller. Bake 12 minutes until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

In a bowl, combine the Neufchatel cheese, ½ cup of the homemade salad dressing, and garlic, mix until completely smooth. I found using a spoon first and then a whisk later helped gets rid of all the lumps. Add half of the crumbled bacon with half the peas in the salad dressing and spread mixture over the baked cooled crescent roll square.

Spread the seeded chopped tomatoes evenly over the salad dressing. Spread the thinly sliced lettuce over the tomatoes. Sprinkle the shredded cheddar cheese over the lettuce and the thinly sliced onion.  Cut the appetizer into 24 even squares.

Eat Healthy!

Cook’s Note
The Greek yogurt… I am just hooked on this. I am using the Greek yogurt for recipes that require mayonnaise and sometimes sour cream. It is a perfect match and much healthier for you with really no difference in texture or flavor.

Another Pam’s Tip
Always remember to remove the seeds from tomatoes when using it for appetizers because the seeds cause juice and it could make the recipe very soggy.

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