This is a recipe I created tonight, and we ate the whole bowl! We didn't eat anything else, just this salad. My husband had two big helpings, and he doesn't even like macaroni salad! So I would venture to say, it is a total keeper for us. I hope you enjoy it, my friends!
Cook the macaroni until it is done the way you like it, drain and rinse. When it is drained, put it in a stainless steel bowl if you have one. Stainless steel gets colder, and your salad will chill faster. Mix all of the ingredients except the bacon. Toss with the chilled ranch dressing--to your taste, and season with salt and cracked black pepper, cover with saran wrap and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
Fry the bacon until it is crisp, drain on paper towels, and crumble it. Refrigerate.
Just before serving, add the bacon and any optional ingredients. I store the crumbled bacon in a small baggie in the fridge. Then I add it to each individual serving of salad. This will keep the bacon crisp when serving, especially, the next day.
Cook's Tip: This salad can easily become a main meal by adding cold chopped fried chicken to the finished dish when you add the bacon. I fry chicken tenders to add to my salads. Add some crunchy bread, ice tea, and you have a great meal for hot weather eating. Enjoy!