Mahalia’s Sweet Tea is known for serving the best soul food in Prince George’s County, Maryland. But owner Halia also likes to indulge in some à la carte detective work. Can she solve the murder of a former “mean girl” when a high school reunion takes a deadly turn in this second book in the Mahalia Watkins Mystery Series by A.L. Herbert?

Ingredients for 8 servings
1 Pound large elbow macaroni
8 Slices of bacon
1 Garlic clove, minced
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 Cup half-and-half
1 Teaspoon hot pepper sauce
½ Teaspoon salt
½ Teaspoon black pepper
4 Cups sharp cheddar cheese (grated)
1 Pound softened cream cheese
1 Cup panko (Japanese) bread crumbs
3 Tablespoons melted butter

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Boil pasta with a pinch of salt for 7 minutes, or according to package directions. Drain. Set aside.

Fry bacon in a large frying pan until crispy. Remove bacon from pan, blot with paper towels, and chop into thin strips. Set aside.

Add three tablespoons bacon grease to large saucepan. Add minced garlic and sauté over medium heat for 1 minute. Slowly add flour while constantly stirring mixture until a roux or paste forms.

Add milk, half-and-half, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Continue stirring until sauce thickens (8-10 minutes).

Remove pan from heat and drain sauce through sieve (to remove any lumps) into large glass or metal bowl. Add cheddar and cream cheese. Stir until sauce is smooth.

Add cooked pasta and blend. Transfer to well-greased 13-by-9-inch baking dish.

Mix bread crumbs with butter and chopped bacon and sprinkle over macaroni and cheese.

Bake until bread crumbs are crispy, about 30 minutes.

 

Mahalia’s Sweet Tea is known for serving the best soul food in Prince George’s County, Maryland. But owner Halia also likes to indulge in some à la carte detective work. Can she solve the murder of a former “mean girl” when a high school reunion takes a deadly turn?

When the organizing committee for her upcoming high school reunion desperately needs a caterer, Halia agrees to help out. Soon she’s serving up her signature macaroni and cheese and famous chicken wings to a host of appreciative ex-classmates. Some folks have blossomed since graduation. Others, like manipulative Raynell Rollins, currently married to a former football star, haven’t changed nearly enough.

When Raynell is found dead the morning after the reunion, the roll call of possible suspects could fill the school gymnasium. Extra-marital affairs, mega-church scandals and sports secrets…Raynell had her perfectly manicured hand in a lot of sticky situations. With her cousin Wavonne’s bungling assistance—and a helping of unwelcome dating advice from her mother, Celia—Halia is on course to track down the killer, before she becomes the alumna most likely to meet an untimely end…

Features delicious recipes from Mahalia’s Sweet Tea, including Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie and Chocolate Marshmallow Cake!

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