Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Interview with Leland McCaslin and his secret recipe for Pasta Lee!

I am so excited to introduce you all to Leland C McCaslin. Lee has been a good friend of mine way back in my querying days. We met about four years ago on one of my favorite websites, Query Tracker. And a nicer guy you couldn't hope to meet. Here's his bio:

 Leland graduated from Mississippi State University in 1969 where he majored in communications, studied Military Science (and received some airborne training) and obtained his Army commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Intelligence Corps. On active duty in 1969, he attended the combat arms tanker's Armored Officers' Basic Course; the Counterintelligence Special Agent's Course and served at various locations in the US. Upon leaving active duty, he joined the US Civil Service and began working for the military in various intelligence jobs, starting as a GS-9 in 1973.

He served at our nation's Military Headquarters, The Pentagon from 1973 to 1976. In 1979, he arrived in Heidelberg, Germany, and served 16 years at US Army Europe where he actively participated in the Cold War. To thwart espionage, he appeared on several live and recorded segments of the European Armed Forces Network TV and Radio to discuss counterespionage strategies, both past and present.
He then retired as a GM-14 in 1995. At that time, he was the most senior Security Specialist in Europe. While overseas, he acquired a M. Ed. from Boston University.

After he retired from civil service, he taught speech at several local colleges. With his background in Security and Intelligence, he worked as a contract investigator for ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) with 9/11 related duties.

He is now fully retired and resides with his wife, Charlotte, and rescued greyhound, Keener, in Alabama.

Lee wrote a fantastic nonfiction book about the cold war called, SECRETS OF THE COLD WAR: US Army Europe's Intelligence and Counterintelligence Activities Against the Soviets During the Cold War.

Secrets of the Cold War: US Army Europe's Intelligence and Counterintelligence Activities Against the Soviets During the Cold War

You can pick up your very own copy at Amazon.   
Not only has Lee agreed to sit down with us and answer a few questions, but he's also agreed to share his super secret recipe for PASTA LEE.
PNP: What was the military food like when you served as a security specialist for the US Army?

Lee: Regular American food like we have but very tasty and LOTS OF IT! Served steak frequently! Loved the SOS for breakfast!!

PNP: Was there a particular food or meal that you missed while overseas?

Lee: Fried Okra!

PNP: While you served our country with the military, you visited many countries and sampled many cuisines. Is there one meal that stands out in your memory above the rest?

Lee: I'll have to give you two: Coquilles St. Jacques and Steak au Poivre, both French! 

PNP: When you were working on your book, SECRETS OF THE COLD WAR, did you have a favorite writing/editing snack? 

Lee: Crystal Light Lemonade and LAY'S® Kettle Cooked Jalapeno Flavored Potato Chips.

PNP: You’re sharing with us your world famous recipe, PASTA LEE. How did you develop such a delicious pasta?

Lee: I made it up. Really! Before I was married to my wonderful wife Charlotte, I needed a nice meal I could make for my dates in Germany!! :) Now she fixes it!! I can't count a time when we weren't asked for 2nds (or 3rds).


Chopped onions, garlic, mushrooms, red bell peppers, salt, pepper, garlic powder, brown chili powder, 2 Jars of Prego or whatever, EVO, 1 pound hamburger, sliced Italian hot sausage, some red dry wine, 3 packages of fresh tortellini and sugar.

Get a big, deep skillet or pot, put in the EVO, med-high heat, sauté all the vegetables, scoot them over when almost done and add the chopped up hamburger, as it cooks add salt-pepper-chili powder-garlic powder.
When pretty much done, mix vegetables and meat back in together, add 2 jars of Prego (and clean out jars with a little red wine in bottom of jar to pour in mixture (put cap back on and shake jar mixture) and cut up sausage (previously cooked separately) and add fresh tortellini and let cook in mixture (not water). Add a pinch of sugar now.  Turn down heat and let cook down and simmer.
Later, transfer to a pasta serving dish, add whatever shredded cheese you like over top and nuke or bake on low, low heat, until cheese melts. Drink lots of red wine as you cook!!  Lee


  1. Excellent recipe. I sometimes try to make everything from scratch. This is a very nice compromise. YUM!
    (my dad used to work in intelligence too, Lee!)

  2. Lee is very familiar to those who frequent the Query Tracker forum. He seems like a genuinely nice man, and I'm glad his book is doing well. Pasta is my weak spot, so I'm going to be printing off this recipe and giving it a go very soon!

  3. Great interview! Lee, I'm so excited and happy for you to be making the blog rounds. Sounds like you're having a lot of success with your book.

    And the pasta sounds FABULOUS. I'm gonna have to try that sometime.

  4. Great interview, Lee and Cole. Pasta Lee! Yum!