Improv Cooking Challenge ~ Ham and Cheese Macaroni Salad

 The April 2016 Improv Cooking Challenge is Ham and Cheese and I had a fair amount of ham leftover after Easter and had been searching various recipes for good ways to use it besides just along side some macaroni and cheese or stuffed between two pieces of bread as a sandwich! I love pasta salads, and was happy to give this one a try. Since the sauce was primarily mayonnaise based, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to use some of my Spicy Mayo for extra flavor. I did like the extra "oomph" the spicy mayonnaise gave the dish, but still thought it needed "something" more but couldn't really put my finger on it. You could do more add ins and play with the flavor until you get it to your personal preference. It's a great canvas to work with.

Use your favorite small pasta in this dish - I like macaroni because I keep it stocked in my pantry, but I think seashell pasta would be nice as well, or rotini (another favorite of mine for pasta salad).

Creamy pasta blended with a mildly spicy mayo based sauce and loaded up with your favorite cheese, veggies (I wanted to use a mix of peas and carrots, but didn't have any left in my freezer, so stuck with just the peas), and some diced ham and you have an easy meal for any time of day that is easily portable for a work lunch, or a quick dinner. 

Ham and Cheese Macaroni Salad adapted from Fake Ginger


1 pound uncooked small pasta (macaroni, shells, rotini, etc.)

1/4 cup sour cream

2 TBS apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste (if desired)
1 1/2 cups ham, cut into small cubes
1 cup cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes (I used a white Irish cheddar)
1 1/2 cups frozen green peas, thawed

  1. Prepare macaroni to al dente according to package directions. After macaroni is cooked, drain and rinse in cold water. Once macaroni has cooled down, drain well.
  2. Combine cooled pasta with the spicy mayo, sour cream, apple cider vinegar and salt and pepper to taste, if desired (I didn't use salt and pepper). Gently stir in the ham, cheese, and peas until combined.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit overnight.
  4. If the salad seems a little dry after setting up overnight add a little bit of milk and stir it in until the pasta reaches the creamy consistency you're looking for before serving.


  1. Oh yum. I love pasta salad with ham and cheese.

  2. This looks great! I always end up with those too small for a sandwich pieces of Easter ham and this would be the perfect use for them.

  3. oooooooh! White cheddar! Your salad looks quite yummy.


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