This was always one of my favorite things my mom made (w/o the chicken) as I was growing up but I started to make my own about 15 years ago and I've changed a few things. Once I added chicken by request of an old boyfriend and I usually make it this way now.
1Boil water in a large pot, add a little salt and pour in box of salad macaroni. These noodles are not as long or curved like elbow macaroni, I usually only see one brand in the store so look around if you don't see them right away. I have always prefered this type of pasta for this salad.
2Stir occasionally for about 10 minutes while the pasta is in boiling water. It tends to stick to the bottom so check it about every 2 minutes.
3While the pasta is cooking, boil 4 eggs.
4While the eggs and pasta are cooking, chop 2-3 sticks of celery in small pieces. Place the celery in a large mixing bowl.
5Dice 1/2 to 1 small onion, I prefer tiny pieces as I love the taste of onion, just not big chunks of it. I usually do 1/2 of an onion but some may prefer more. Put the onion in the bowl and mix with the celery.
6Try a noodle before turning off the stove, the noodle should be soft and not too gummy. Usually about 10 minutes of boiling gets it to a good doneness. Drain the noodles and return to pot and let cool.
7Cool down the eggs (I usually dump the hot water, add more and stick the pot in the freezer for a few minutes).
8Add the macaroni to the mixing bowl. Sprinkle in some salt and pepper to taste, while it's warm. Mix everything together getting the celery and onion from the bottom of the bowl.
9Add about a cup of Miracle Whip and mix with the pasta. I grew up on Miracle Whip but some don't like it, regular mayonaise tastes just as great in the salad, I have used both. You will probably need more mayo so just add a little more as needed, to personal preference. Keep in mind, the pasta tends to dry up a little when kept in the fridge, so I usually add a bit of mayo to each serving if we take a few days to get through a big bowl.
10Add chicken - I prefer to buy a whole cooked chicken (at the grocery store near our house sometimes on Fridays they are just $5). You can also cook any type of chicken you want ahead of time and use that for your chicken addition. I've used dark and white meat, and I've used half or whole chicken. It really depends on whether or not you want your chicken to be the star of the show, or the pasta. You can dice it up small or have big chunks, both ways are yummy.
11Peel your eggs, dice 3 of them and mix into the pasta. Take the last egg, cut it lengthwise into 4 slices and lay down on top of the pasta in sort of a flower design. Sprinkle paprika on top.