Without messing too much with a good thing, this salad retains all the important parts of the oldfangled version (the cubes of ham and cheese, the peas, the celery) but with a lighter, snappier dressing.
4 cups good old elbow macaroni, (You want fancy fusilli? Go ahead - it's none of my business)
3/4 cup cubed cooked ham
3/4 cup cubed cheddar
3/4 cup frozen green peas, thawed
3/4 cup chopped celery
1 red sweet pepper, chopped
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp Dijon mustard, (or another type)
6 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Cook the macaroni in plenty of boiling water until tender but not mushy. Drain, rinse under cold running water, then drain again thoroughly. Dump into a large bowl. Have your child add the ham, cheese, peas, celery, red pepper, green onion and parsley. Let her toss to mix.In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add this to the macaroni mixture, stir, and refrigerate until serving time (at least an hour or up to six hours), tossing occasionally to keep the dressing from slinking to the bottom of the bowl.
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