So excited to have fellow Lighthouse author, Kelli Hughett, with me today…along with the main character of her debut, Red Zone. We had the opportunity to meet last year at ACFW and it was such a delight. (Check out her pic right here. She’s GORGEOUS with amazing hair) You can learn more about her at her website – http://www.kellihughett.com/.
You can check out her book here, http://tinyurl.com/on8wzyn. And because she’s SO sweet, she’s added a yummy recipe at the bottom of the post. Now….let’s get cookin’ 😉
“Hey, Girl!” Marcy licks batter from a finger and wipes her hands on a striped dish towel as she welcomes me into her kitchen. “Come on in.”
As a sport’s reporter, being in a kitchen for an interview feels way foreign. I like the change.
I can’t help grinning at mess on the counters. There’s a yellow bowl with remnants of spaghetti sauce, a cutting board with an array of chopped vegetables in the corner, a bag of chocolate chips, green food coloring, and flour smoothed out across a two foot surface where a rolling pin awaits. A framed picture of Marcy’s kids, Brant and Haley, hangs over the kitchen table in the corner.
I inhale. “Mmm. Smells heavenly.” I get out my camera and snap a candid picture as she closes a drawer with her right hip. “What’s on the menu today?”
Her eyes light up and she tucks a strand of dark hair behind her ear. “Rigatoni and Cheese, Caesar Salad, French bread, and Triple Layer Mint Brownies.” She tosses her dishrag toward the sink. “Sorry about the mess. I should clean up as I go, but I get so into the food that I forget.” She shrugs and pulls a chair out for me.
I pull my notebook from my messenger bag, eager to learn her secrets. And maybe if she’s comfortable, she’ll dish about her relationship with former NFL great, Jack Briggs the NFL’s Gentleman Linebacker. (and one of People’s sexiest men alive) I’d done stories on him in his glory days, but the man evaded interviews with the press like a ghost.
A stream of bright Colorado sunlight warms the wooden table where I rest my hands. “I want to get to know you a little better, so let’s start with you. Tell me about yourself.”
“Now there’s a grand subject.” She smirks in self-depreciation. “I’m a homemaker for now.” She sweeps her hand around the room. “As you can see, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen.”
Do I detect a dream or two in for now? The smells coming from the oven make my mouth water. I smile. “I can tell. So, let’s get down to the food. What are you teaching me today?”
She pops up. “Let’s get started.”
She tosses me a pale green apron made of well-worn cotton. It smells of flour and Downy.
“I’ve done all the prep work and you’ll be putting it together.” Marcy hands me a crisp piece of paper. “I copied the recipe.” Her eyes twinkle. “Print it with the interview or make it for someone special.”
I see my opening. “So, have you made this meal for anyone special lately?” The look in her eyes and the blush on her cheek says she doesn’t miss my meaning.
“There are a few special people in my life who love this dish.”
Rats, she’s Fort Knox when it comes to Jack, just as I suspected. I don the apron and sit back in the chair at the table while she pulls bowls out of the fridge. All the while, I get the distinct feeling she’s reading my thoughts as plain as if I’d spoken aloud.
She cocks her head and chews her bottom lip as if deciding whether to trust me. “You’re sitting in Jack’s chair, you know.”
I can’t hide my grin as I kick off my shoes, tuck my feet up under me and ready my pen. “I’m assuming you’re talking about Jack Briggs…”
Marcy’s Rigatoni and Cheese recipe.
8 oz Ground Beef
½ C Chopped white or yellow onion
1 Clove chopped garlic
1 Jar favorite spaghetti sauce
1/8 tsp Pepper
16 oz Cottage Cheese (not non-fat)
½ C Milk
½ tsp Salt
8-10 oz Rigatoni Noodles (Cooked 8 minutes and drained)
1 C Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (More if desired)
2 TBS Shredded Parmesan Cheese
Brown meat, onion and garlic until cooked through. Add spaghetti sauce and pepper. Simmer on low 10 minutes.
While that’s simmering, mix cottage cheese, milk, salt and noodles in a large bowl.
Layer in a glass baking dish: Noodle mix:Meat Mix: Cheese
(should have enough for 2 layers)
Sprinkle with Parm and bake for 20 minutes at 350.