Once upon a time, I used to throw dinner parties that involved at least four courses, complete with menu cards at each place setting. Candlelight and soft jazz playing in the background set the mood for the evening. And it wasn’t unusual that I’d spent hours creating those meals. If there were sauces involved, we’re talking DAYS ahead of time. Thank God I’m over it…
I’ve casualled-up over the years, now focusing on easy entertaining so I can really enjoy the evening with my guests. Of course, my guests these days are mainly family, and the entrée is usually something I can throw together quickly, so we’re talking soups, casseroles, or one skillet meals.
This is one of my niece’s faves:
Skillet Beef and Macaroni
- 1-1/2 pounds ground beef
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
- 1 cup water
- 1 package (7 ounces) macaroni
- 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook beef and onion until the meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, until macaroni is tender, stirring occasionally, 20-25 minutes. Add more water if needed.
I’ve topped this with cheese and thrown it into a 350-degree Fahrenheit oven long enough to melt and brown the cheese a little. It’s so gooey good!
So what am I reading at the moment? It’s a wonderful romcom by the amazingly talented Tawna Fenske titled AT THE HEART OF IT. Yes, my TBR pile is deep so I’m just now getting to this book. It’s an awesome read!
Here’s the back cover copy:
TV producer Kate Geary is in unscripted heaven. She’s piloting a reality series featuring her favorite self-help guru, Dr. Vivienne Brandt. The Dr. Viv—whose nuggets of wisdom helped Kate get through some of her toughest times. Thanks to Dr. Viv, Kate is almost on the verge of figuring everything out. That is, until Jonah Porter, the superhot book nerd Kate just spent an amazing date with, appears at the show’s first meeting.
Jonah did not want to get reeled into a world filled with invasive crews, pushy network execs, and over-the-top drama, but a connection to the story leaves him no choice. Fortunately, Kate—hot, smart, and funny—helps make it bearable. Now they’re both on the verge of violating their contracts as they find themselves sneaking around off set. But the cameras have a way of finding out everyone’s secrets…especially the ones that can break hearts.
Check out Melia’s new release Seduced by the Soldier, out now!
Zandra York just got her big break, photographing a major project for a travel magazine. So what if she’s never traveled out of the country before? Or that she’s more adept at deciphering fraudulent financial statements than reading German train schedules? Her brother Jackson is on his way to act as her guide, and she can’t wait to experience Europe with him.
But when Jackson’s overprotective best friend gets off the plane instead, Zandra knows this will not end well.
There isn’t a damned thing Special Forces instructor Blake Monroe wouldn’t do for his best friend, but babysit Zandra when Jackson is unexpectedly called away on a mission? Nope. Not on the list. Especially not when she proves to be more trouble than he can handle—and far too tempting.
Between accidentally hiring a hearse as their rideshare, an unprovoked goat attack, and photographing erotic-shaped chocolates, Blake and Zandra can’t keep their hands off each other. But Zandra’s new career is about to send her all over the world and Blake is finally ready to settle down after his next deployment.
He’ll never ask her to give up her dreams. And she’ll never ask him to give up his.
Melia Alexander is the author of sassy, sexy, fun contemporary romances, but is also fortunate to spend her week days at The Male Observation Lab (a.k.a. her job at a construction company) where she gets to observe guys in their natural habitat. Though they often behave like typical alpha males, she’s often seen through their personas to the heart of who they really are – the heroes of their own stories. A native of Guam, Melia traded in warm, tropical breezes for the rainy Pacific Northwest. She’s an avid reader who also loves romantic comedies – preferably with a glass of Cab Sauv and a box of dark chocolates nearby. In her free time, she’s busy conquering her CrossFit fears: ring dips, power cleans, and the dreaded 800 meter run.