Written by Jeff Salter
I should probably explain that I’m not handy in the kitchen and I’m loathe to prepare dishes with multiple, complicated steps. My basic rule for meals is two steps: (1) open container and (2) nuke in microwave. I’m willing to stir contents or rotate the package – whatever – but no further ministrations.
So, with that explanation, you may well imagine a meal involving THREE containers and a total of FOUR steps ... is already stretching the limits of my skill-set.
I can’t claim to have invented the combination of macaroni and tuna fish ... in fact, it may be printed right on the box somewhere. But I know for a fact that I originated the addition of green peas to the mix. It was some time in the mid-1980s as best I can recall. [Note: I’ve since seen instructions for some sort of casserole which uses my primary ingredients – plus something else – and I’m certain they stole that idea from me.]
* 1 (12 oz.) box of Kraft macaroni shells with the cheese ‘sauce’ in a pouch [do NOT try to use the powered cheese substance — it’s nasty]
* 1 (12 oz.) can of white albacore tuna [I prefer StarKist, but any major brand will do as long as it’s packed in water and NOT in slimy oil] Note: you don’t really need 12 full ounces, but it needs to be quite a bit more than the standard 6 oz cans.
* 1 small (8.5 oz.) can of green peas [the peas are mainly for color ... and to keep my wife from eating it — ha]
* Boil water in medium-size pot
* Add macaroni
* Boil for 10-12 mins. (or whatever the box says)
* Drain off water
* Dump in tuna ... and mix well
If your spouse is willing to eat MacTuna but despises Peas ... this is the time to scoop out a bowlful and set that aside.
* At the very last minute, add the peas ... but do not mix-in too vigorously (because it breaks the peas open and they get mushy).
* Serve in a large bowl and enjoy.
Note: MacTunaPea also tastes very good the next day (assuming you properly refrigerate the leftovers). Just add a teeny bit of water to the leftovers before you nuke it.
* Nuke for about 45 seconds
* Stir and nuke again until it reaches desired temperature
CAUTION: bowl will be hot!
Book Title: The Overnighter's Secrets
Coming this April to Astraea Press...
When Beth left suddenly, it broke two hearts ... but she’d had no choice. Shane, a rugged, ex-Airborne biker, handled it badly ... but so had she. Three years later and 2000 miles away, she desperately needs her ex-lover’s protection from a violent menace with ‘bad history’ who’ll do anything to reclaim a mysterious suitcase Beth possesses.
Long before Shane acquired that overnighter, a ‘silent movie’ actress kept secrets there ... and now several lives are in jeopardy. An ambitious female state senate candidate hires a ruthless investigator to eliminate potential campaign ‘problems’ like her dark family secret — a bizarre 1889 murder.
Is Beth’s terrifying ordeal simply because she unwittingly possesses the overnighter’s secrets? Or is it due to the meth-fueled dumpster-diver’s ‘unfinished business’?
Shane will likely return to
The smell of freshly baked pizza entering is enough to make one’s mouth water...especially when the thoughtful individual added an order of succulent bread sticks, so warm that the steam was still rising.
Beth awkwardly hugged Shane as he clutched the boxes.
He put down the meal, then turned and embraced her properly. “I thought about you all day.”
It warmed her, but she couldn’t let down her guard. “I saw you less than two hours ago.”
“I forgot to tell you then.”
She eyed him narrowly. Something was different. “I thought you were focused on locating Ricks.”
“Trail went cold...and I was hungry.” He bit the end off a breadstick. “I feel like I’m real close most of the time, but he’s somehow able to stay one step ahead of me.”
Beth produced disposable plates. When she opened the box lid, she nearly swooned. Anybody who wanted to seduce her need only bring fresh, hot pizza. “What about that local contact. Was he any more help?”
“Couldn’t find him just now. Old barfly named Cratchit—busybody with a pretty good memory. All my solid leads came from him. Everything else is just instinct and looking at all the spots where skunks hide-out.” Shane scooped up two pizza pieces and looked around. “Table or couch?”
“Couch. I mean, table.” She caught a string of hot cheese on her chin. “Doesn’t matter. You get comfortable and I’ll join you.”
With the breadstick clamped in his mouth like a fat cigar, Shane carried his plate in one hand and the plastic cup of iced tea in his other. He placed both on the coffee table and sat on the sofa.
Beth watched briefly from the kitchen before she joined him.
“I’m going to try to find Cratchit again tomorrow and see if he’s learned anything new.” Shane sipped tea and took a big bite of the meal. It took a while to chew down sufficiently to speak.
She continued to watch him as she ate her own portion.
He noticed. “What, Bethany?”
“You’re staring. What’s up?”
“Oh, nothing.” She lied. “Well, yeah...noticing you’re different somehow.”
When Shane smiled, a morsel of crust fell onto his lap. He located it just below his buckle and plopped it back into his mouth. “Different...how?”
“Not sure.” Beth squinted. “The word that comes to mind is ‘calmer’...but that’s not exactly right.”
Shane chuckled. “Calmer?”
“Okay. Then maybe more mature...or something.”
“Well, I am a bit older than I was...”
“No, I don’t mean older.” Beth picked up another slice. “Never mind.” She bit off a sizeable chunk.
Shane watched her chew. In a moment, he reached way over, plucked a strand of errant cheese from the corner of her mouth and placed it on his own tongue.
Beth’s eyes widened. This was a new Shane. The old Shane might have just pointed and grunted.
“Maybe I have matured a bit,
Beth dabbed a pizza-stained paper napkin at her eyes. “I wasn’t lost, Shane. I had to move.”
Beth hurried to the bathroom sink to wash her face. She stared at the woman in the mirror and barely recognized the image. That person had aged six years in the past three...and another full year in the recent ten days. The woman in that looking glass had left her lover, lost her confidence, buried her brother, and now stayed constantly frightened. Who was she and what had she done with Bethany Muse?