Best Damn Macaroni Salad EVER!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, a Happy New Year and is surviving the abysmal return to work. I’m hanging on by the skin of my teeth. I need to be independently wealthy so that every week is like Christmas! 😉 Ah…to dream.

Anyway, I digress.shock kitty

So, believe it or not, I actually cooked stuff this Christmas. I know. SHOCKING!

I made my mom’s famous mac salad (even people who don’t usually like mac salad like this!) and cheesy taters. Yum!

While the cheesy taters are, health-wise, just this side of a heart attack, the macaroni salad isn’t so bad. Especially if you use the Kraft Olive Oil mayo. Way less calories and fat than regular mayo and I can’t tell the difference. Also, I use less than one cup of mayo (mom uses way more), so my suggestion is to start with less and work your way up if you want it creamier. I think too much mayo is pukey, but you do what makes you happy. 🙂

Anyway, I thought I’d share the mac salad recipe for those of you who want to eat something as fresh and delicious as watermelon on a hot summer day. Especially since it’s cold as a witch’s tit out there and we could all use a little bit of summer right now. Except me. I live in AZ and had my air conditioning on the other day. Yes. I’m a wretched bitch. 🙂

Here’s the recipe straight from the cookbook. Enjoy!

Mom’s Macaroni Salad

I think maybe twice in my life I’ve had good macaroni salad at a restaurant or deli. It’s either got too much mayonnaise (yuck!) or some weird spice or a gross tang that makes me want to retch. I keep trying, but I rarely find one that is palatable. What is my solution to this problem? Make my own.

To be quite frank, that solution almost never occurs to me. It does not occur to a furry little blind mole to buy reading glasses. Why would it occur to ME to cook something voluntarily? It usually doesn’t. But this is super easy and is incredibly light tasting and refreshing. It has very few ingredients (whew…) and is almost impossible to make wrong. To me, that is the perfect recipe.

Stuff you’ll need:

  • 1 one-pound box of elbow macaroni
  • 1 green pepper
  • 4 good-sized tomatoes
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1 medium-sized, sweet onion (don’t use a yellow or red, they are way too potent—look on the label of the onion for the word “sweet”)
  • 1 cup of mayonnaise* (maybe more)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

*I use Kraft Mayo with Olive Oil™ as I can’t tell the difference between it and regular mayo, but it has way fewer calories and less fat than the regular kind.

Putting it all together:

  1. Cook the macaroni according to the directions on the box.
  2. Once it’s cooked (don’t overcook it) dump it into a colander and thoroughly rinse it with cool water.
  3. Empty the macaroni into a large bowl.
  4. Cut the tomatoes into bite-sized pieces and add to the bowl.
  5. Peel the cucumber and cut into bite-sized pieces and add to the bowl.
  6. Cut the green pepper into large pieces (I do this because I don’t want to bite down on a piece of green pepper, but it does add a nice flavor to the salad—you can cut it any way you want) and add to the bowl.
  7. Dice the onion into small pieces (you don’t want any big bites of onion either, but you do actually want onion in your mouth) and add to the bowl.
  8. Add about 1/2 the mayonnaise and stir. Continue to add the mayo until it’s got enough for you. Some people like tons of it, some people don’t.
  9. Add salt and pepper. Taste it. Add more salt and pepper as necessary.
  10. Refrigerate for at least a couple of hours so everything has time to chill. If you can, refrigerate it overnight. It is at its absolute best on the second day.
  11. Before serving, make sure to stir and taste-test it one more time to make sure it has enough salt. It will be bland if it doesn’t have enough salt.

One of my favorite things about this salad is that it doesn’t have a bunch of weird junk in it. I think sometimes people get so obsessed with making food all fancy and complicated that they lose sight of what makes it taste so good—simplicity. This salad has a clean, crisp, summer taste to it. It is one of my all-time favorite things to eat while sitting in the backyard and watching the chickens play as the sun goes down.


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PS: Go easy with the onion at first and add more a little bit at a time. I love tons of onion, but just in case you don’t you can always leave it out or just use a little. 🙂

Ma! Hey Ma! Lookit me! I made a new page!

Yeah, I’m a dork.

But I made a new page and wanted to let you guys know.

It’s the Fun Videos page and has my WGN-TV cooking segment and a promo video for each book.

Just wanted to get the word out so you could waste a few minutes of your life that no matter how hard you try you can never get back. 😉


PS: I’m quite certain this is the shortest post I’ve ever written or will ever write! Aren’t you lucky today!?

Here’s a cute picture for your viewing pleasure:

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Ominous title, right? Doom must be about to rain down upon your head! Yeah, it’s not. But, for those of you with delicate tummies, this may not be the post for you.

Okay, okay, I’ll give it up. I’m going to share with you a family secret. I’ve never shared this before with anyone as it was considered sacrilege.  I’m not even sure now that my mom won’t show up with a ruler and whack me on the knuckles for typing this.

I’m going to sneak to all of you…drum roll please…my mom’s famous spaghetti sauce recipe!  Yeah, I know–you thought something deep and dark and depraved was coming your way, but rest assured, if you are of the heartburn getting sort you do NOT want to do this. Step away from your computer. Change the channel now. This is some spicy stuff!

MOM’S FAMOUS SPAGHETTI SAUCE (with slight Jodi modifications)

  • 1 4-5 pack of hot Italian sausage (if you love sausage, feel free to use more)
  • 1 1/2 or 2 pounds of hamburger (doesn’t have to be lean–the more grease, the better)
  • 3/4 of a green pepper
  • 3/4 of a medium/large white or yellow onion
  • 3 huge cans (28 ounce I think) of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 huge can of tomato sauce
  • 1/2 of one of those tiny cans of tomato paste
  • 3 huge cans of petite diced tomatoes (none of that pre-spiced crap though)
  • Italian seasoning
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Salt
  • Between 8-12 cloves of garlic (or a ton of garlic salt)


  1. Peel the skin off the sausage, then slice into 1/2 inch slices. Brown until thoroughly cooked.
  2. Cut up the green pepper into large chunks (I always take these chunks out after the sauce has cooked for several hours as I don’t like eating chunks of green pepper–blech!)
  3. Dice the onion into fairly small pieces
  4. Combine the green pepper and onion in a frying pan with the hamburger and brown all together. Stir often as you don’t want the hamburger to get chunky and stick together. You want it to be pretty crumbly.
  5. While the meat is cooking, take some of the sausage grease and after mincing or cutting the garlic into to small pieces, let the garlic simmer in the grease until it starts to cook down. You can also cook the garlic in olive oil.
  6. Once the hamburger is thoroughly cooked (no pink) and the garlic is ready, dump everything into an enormous pot. You are going to be making enough for an army! Leftover sauce is the best thing on planet earth.
  7. Add all the tomato stuff.
  8. Stir.
  9. Then put a layer of Italian seasoning across the entire top of the sauce. I don’t have a specific measurement here, I just coat the top of the sauce and that usually works.
  10. Then add crushed red pepper to taste–I like it spicy so I probably usually put in a little less than a tablespoon.
  11. Add some salt. I crave salt in my sleep so I use a fair amount. If you are a normal person just chuck in a little salt and as it cooks add more in small amounts until it’s got enough.
  12. Cook on low, stirring frequently, for as many hours as you can take the yummy smell before attacking the pot.

I serve this on regular spaghetti noodles. Nothing fancy. No fettuccine as it doesn’t have the right texture. No angelhair as it’s too thin for the heavy sauce. Just normal spaghetti.

A little fresh Parmesan never hurt and if you like basil you can chuck a little of that in the sauce as it cooks. I usually don’t, but my hubby sneaks it in. Stinker! It’s that damn Chef part of him that just has to mess with my recipes! 🙂

Serve all of this with some yummy, butter-soaked garlic bread (mmmmm….garlic bread…) and you will have an AWESOME dinner that really is pretty dang easy to make. With that amount of sauce, a family of 4 could live off of it for days and days. Whatever is left over, just freeze. It’s just as good out of the freezer a month from now.

I hope you guys enjoy the spaghetti sauce! I despise cooking with a passion so deep that even seeing a kitchen usually causes me physical pain, BUT, this is easy to fix and lasts forever. Perfect recipe in my humble opinion.

One last thing, if you like a thicker sauce, don’t use a lid while the sauce simmers. You’ll get some splashed sauce bubbles on your stove, but it’ll evaporate any extra liquid. If you like a thinner sauce, leave a lid on the whole time but make sure you stir more often so it doesn’t burn on the bottom.

Oh shit! I think I hear my mom coming–that damn Mom Radar!! Gotta find a hiding place quick!