Called ‘Jardiniere Salad’ by the nice folks at Kraft, it combines macaroni and cheese dinner, Catalina dressing, and mayonnaise with chopped veggies for an interesting change to the everyday macaroni salad; tho’ I can only wonder at the hubris involved with a Chicago company calling something ‘Jardiniere’ when it bears no resemblance to our local treasure giardiniera. Maybe that’s why I can find no trace of it (even using ‘da Google’) anywhere but my trusty, weathered old recipe card. Thanks mom!
If you look, you’ll notice that the original recipe calls for a package of cooked frozen garden vegetables. Well, a lot of recipes in those days thought adding a canned peach and a glop of mayonnaise on top of cottage cheese made for a charming lunch (trés élégant, no doubt, if you also added a sprig o’ parsley). I went with all fresh veggies – usually a mix of what I have in the crisper (this time onion, carrots, red, yellow, orange and green peppers) – and added some chick peas and peperoncini, just for fun. Also, you may notice that the mac and cheese isn’t your regular elbow pasta. Our market had a special on Kraft SPIRAL mac and cheese, so here I am livin’ life on the edge.
I really like this salad. Rich? Not so much – he doesn’t HATE it – he can usually just find other things he likes better. A little bit sweet, a little bit tangy, and a whole lot more orange than maybe most folk think macaroni salad should be, it’s still a fine summer salad side.
•1 pkg. Macaroni and Cheese Dinner
•1/3 cup Catalina Dressing (MY version is here, and it’s GOOD)
•1/3 cup mayonnaise
•Chopped veggies – your choice: onion, celery, English cucumber, carrots, peppers, radishes, plus or minus whatever else you may have to toss in or particularly like
•Salt and pepper
Prepare mac and cheese as directed, but stir in Catalina Dressing with the milk, butter and cheese. Cool.
Add mayonnaise and veggies, toss lightly and season to taste. Chill. YUM.
NOTE: I just saw that the Mac and Cheese package instructions now include a ‘lite’ prep method, using skim milk and less butter. I may try this option next time – not to save calories, but because I don’t really need the base to be all that creamy when I’m going to be adding the Catalina and mayonnaise anyway. Just a thought…