Mom's Macaroni Salad

There's really nothing special about this macaroni salad but for some reason, my family, friends, relatives, anyone who tries it really likes it. (Jim says it's because it's made with love. Awww...) I consider this the basic recipe but I change it up depending on what I have to work with, what I feel like eating. At different times I've added diced raw zucchini, diced tomatoes, switched out the pickles for cucumbers, used mozzarella instead of cheddar, tried bleu cheese dressing instead of ranch, added various herbs and spices. Oh, and I've used penne pasta just about as often as I've used elbow macaroni. Try the basic or tweak it to your taste -- and be sure to let me know how it worked for you.

16 ounces elbow macaroni or similar pasta, cooked and rinsed with cold water

1 cup frozen peas, thawed but not cooked

1/2 cup diced dill pickles

3 green onions, sliced medium

6 hardboiled eggs, quartered then sliced

12 ounces cheddar cheese, diced

1-2 tablespoons parsley flakes

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup ranch dressing

1/3 cup mustard

1/4 cup juice from pickles

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients, mixing well but gently enough that eggs aren't mushed. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes before serving to allow flavors to mingle. If you prefer a more moist macaroni salad -- or if it dries out a bit upon refrigeration -- add a little more mayo or dressing or a splash or two of milk.

Makes a big ol' bowl of macaroni salad. (Maybe 12-15 servings. The bowl above is a half-recipe.)