There is a little grocery store by me that makes the best pasta salad with ham, cheese and other goodies in it. The only problem is it is expensive...$4.99 a lb which in a family like mine you need about 2 lbs. of the salad for a dinner which is do the math $10 just for the salad??? I usually don't like purchased prepared salads (other than tossed salad) so I remember asking the manager along time ago what kind of dressing that is on there. She said it was mixed Miracle Whip & prepared ranch dressing.... I was like hmmm so I tried it and liked it...and decided that I can make this much, much cheaper if I actually make the salad myself. I do buy the american cheese from the deli (I tried using other types of cheese but the american from the deli is very creamy) and I do buy ham from the deli as well ( I usually tell them that I want 2 thick slices of both the ham & the cheese and I cube it up myself). Alot of times I wait until the cheese and the ham are on sale and save myself some money :)
Also there is a huge pasta debate in my house. At the deli they use the ruffled pasta. I usually use only Barilla pasta...Barilla doesn't make ruffled type pasta. So I have made this with various other shapes and I think that it tastes fine but my husband thinks that every shape pasta tastes different. I tried explaining that it's what you put with pasta that makes it taste different cause every pasta has the same dough it's the shape of the die (the thing that forms the pasta shape) that makes the pasta different... but he insists that this salad tastes better with ruffled pasta...LOL so to please him I broke down and bought ruffled pasta and made this salad. Use what you have. Add more vegetables if you like... It's up to you... enjoy
Riverside Pasta Salad
1 package, Ruffled Pasta
2 ribs, celery, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 thick slices each, American Cheese & Ham from the deli, cubed small
3/4 cup Miracle Whip
3/4 cup prepared ranch dressing
salt & pepper to taste
1 tsp sugar
2 T. milk
Cook pasta in salted water until al dente, drain and rinse well with cold water shaking colander to remove as much water as possible. In small bowl whisk together Miracle Whip, Ranch, milk, salt & pepper and sugar.
In large salad bowl, mix together pasta, celery, onion, ham & cheese. Pour over dressing and mix well. Cover and let sit to chill in the fridge for a couple of hours until cold. Keep leftovers in fridge. Sometimes the next day I add a little more ranch dressing cause the pasta has a tendancy to soak up the dressing and the salad is a little dry. It is up to you but I like a moist salad.