Twice a year our group meets together for weekend writing retreats. Sharing food and recipes together has become a bonus of these gatherings. Food for the body, food for the heart. We rarely run out of food. Enjoy some of our favorites. 

Chocolate Supreme for Ten People  – Recipe from Chef Anne Villedey at Chateau du Pin (A dessert enjoyed by our group in September while staying at Chateau du Pin. Anne, a local resident and chef supreme, provided dinners for the group each evening. We cannot say enough about Anne’s wonderful provisions.)

300 grams of milk chocolate (10.6 oz. or 0.66 lbs.)

100 grams of dark chocolate (3.53 oz. or 0.22 lbs.)

400 grams of softened butter (14.1 oz. or 0.88 lbs.)

8 eggs (I’d go with regular grade in lieu of extra large. I remember the eggs in France as being a little smaller than the ones we get in the U.S.)

1. Melt the chocolate in a nonstick saucepan with 2 Tbsp of water. Remove from heat.

2. Break apart the butter and gradually incorporate it into the chocolate/water mixture, followed by the egg yolks added one at a time.

3. Whip the egg whites into peaks, then mix it into the saucepan.

4. Butter a mold, pour the mixture into it, then place in the freezer until frozen solid.

5. Remove from freezer 15 minutes before serving.

Monica’s nephew, Brian Fleming, provided the French to English recipe interpretation. Here is Anne’s version in French:

Anne and PegAnne and Peg at the chateau

Supreme au chocolat pour dix Personnes

300 gr de choclat au lait

100 gr de chocolat noir

400 gr de beurre mou

8 oeufs

Faire fondre le chocolat dans une casserole avec 2 cuillers a soupe. Decoller hors du feu. Incorporer le beurre par petits morceaux puis les jaunes d’oeufs un a un. Battre les blancs en neige bien ferme.  Puis melange le tout. Beurrer un moule et mettre au congelateur. Sortir le supreme du congelateur un quart d’heure avant de servir.

-Anne Villedey at Chateau du Pin, Champtoce sur Loire, France


Tarragon & Walnut Chicken Salad Recipe

Yield: 8 servings.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and coarsely chopped (about 4 cups)
1 cup Duke’s mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

Place cooked chicken in a large mixing bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together mayonnaise, lemon juice, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Pour dressing over chicken and toss until dressing is incorporated. Stir in tarragon and walnuts. Refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour before serving.

~Contributed by Beverly Burton at the July 2017 mini retreat

~Contributed by Julie Hester, Spring 2017 retreat

Honey Garlic Tenderloin

3/4 cup lemon juice

3/4 cup honey

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons dry sherry

6 garlic gloves, pressed

3/4-1lb. pork tenderloin (double pack will be more)

Stir together first 5 ingredients in a shallow dish or heavy-duty Ziploc bag keeping . cup mixture set aside. Prick pork several times with a fork, and place in dish or Ziploc bag. Cover or seal; chill 1 hour.

Remove pork, discarding marinade.

Grill, covered with grill lid over medium heat (300-350 degrees) 11-13 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 160 degrees, basting with reserved . cup mixture.

This recipe is for a double pork tenderloin package.

~Contributed by Beverly Burton, Spring 2017 retreat

Marinated Veggie Salad

1 can whole kernel corn

1 can French style green beans

1 can green peas

1 can lima beans

1 medium sized jar of pimentos

1 fresh chopped onion


1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

½ cup canola oil

½ cup Splenda or sugar

½ cup apple cider vinegar




~Contributed by Beth Baldwin, Spring 2017 retreat

Creamy Parmesan Mushroom and Spinach Tortellini Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 40 minutes Servings: 4 (2 cup servings) A hearty and tasty bowl of creamy mushroom and spinach soup with tortellini that is pure comfort food; perfect for cold winter days!

2 tablespoons butter or oil 8 ounces mushrooms, quartered or sliced 1 onion, diced 2 cloves garlic, chopped 1 teaspoon thyme, chopped 1/4 cup flour (rice flour for gluten free) 1/2 cup white wine (or broth) 6 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth 8 ounces cheese tortellini (gluten free for gluten free) 1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano (parmesan), grated 10 ounces baby spinach, coarsely chopped 1/2 cup cream or milk salt and pepper to taste 1. Melt the butter in a pan over medium­high heat, add the mushrooms and onion and cook until the mushrooms have released their liquids and the liquid has evaporated, about 10­15 minutes. 2. Mix in the garlic, thyme and flour and cook, stirring, until the flour starts to turn a light golden brown, about 2­3 minutes. 3. Add the wine and deglaze the pan. 4. Add the broth and tortellini, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the tortellini is tender, about 10 minutes. 5. Add the parmesan, let it melt, add the spinach, let it wilt, add the cream, season with salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat.

~Contributed by Julie Hester to the fall writing retreat, 2016


Southern Chicken Pie

Cook 4 bone-in or 6 boneless chicken breasts in chicken broth, reserving 1 cup of broth.

Shred cooked chicken breasts in bottom of 9×9 casserole dish (I think…my recipe doesn’t say what size pan, could be 9×13 but I’m thinking 9×9 makes more sense).

Combine 1 cup of reserved broth with 1 can of cream of celery or mushroom soup in saucepan and pour over chicken.

Crust:  Combine 1 cup buttermilk and 1 stick of melted butter. Slowly add 1 cup of self rising flour, mixing until smooth. Spoon over casserole; it will be hard to spread.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes until golden brown.

~Contributed by Beth and Devon Baldwin. Chicken pie has been “comfort food” for us at many retreats.

Hearty Sausage Tortellini Soup – 8 servings
2 cans stewed tomatoes (Italian style)
3 c. water
2 c. frozen Italian green beans
1 can French onion soup
8 oz.  smoked sausage, cut in bite size pieces – I used polish but turkey can be used
2 c. coleslaw
9 oz. cheese tortellini
In a large pot, add stewed tomatoes, water, green beans, onion soup and sausage. Bring to a boil then turn down heat to a simmer and cook until the sausage plumps up. Add the coleslaw and tortellini;, cook 15 minutes more. Serve topped with shaved fresh Parmesan cheese.
~Compliments of Joe and Donna Sleap 3/8/12

Mexican Soup – Easy to make and tasty too

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 can each of black, white and kidney beans – drained and rinsed
1 jar of Salsa
1 small can chicken broth
2 c. water
1 can whole kernel corn – drained
2 tsp. of cumin
In a 4 quart pot, brown ground beef then drain. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer on low for 15 minutes. Serve with sour cream.

~Compliments of Joe and Donna Sleap, 2/26/12

Handmade by Jenny Sleap Carter

Best Cherry Pie

1 ¼ cups sugar

1 ½ tbsp butter

1 tbsp. lemon juice

2 cans water packed cherries (drained)

Pastry for 2-crust pie

¼ tsp. almond extract

2 2/3 tbsp. quick cooking tapioca

Line a 9” pie pan with ½ pastry. Toss cherries thoroughly with tapioca, sugar, lemon juice and almond extract. Let stand 10 minutes. Pour into unbaked pie shell, dot with butter, cover with top crust. Seal edges. Bake in a preheated oven 10 minutes at 450 degrees, then reduce heat to 350 degrees for 40 minutes more.

~Recommended by Monica Sleap


Be creative; see alternative* suggestions. The basic recipe is the same for all variations:

1  18.25 ounce package cake mix

1  3.9 ounce package instant pudding mix

4 eggs

1 cup sour cream

½ cup vegetable oil

½ cup water (or other liquid)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan.  Have all ingredients at room temperature. In a large bowl, stir together cake mix and pudding mix. Make a well in the center and pour in eggs, sour cream, oil and water (or other liquid). Beat on low speed until blended. Scrape bowl, and beat 4 minutes on medium speed. Stir in optional, additional ingredients. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.

Servings: 12

*Consider the following substitutions when making this recipe:

  1. Substitute all or part of the water with coffee, chocolate milk, or any liqueur (Franjelico, Amaretto, Bailey’s, Kahlua, Chambord, etc.)
  2. Add a little extract for an added taste, such as peppermint, almond, raspberry, or coconut
  3. Top the cake with powdered sugar, frosting, glaze, or melted chocolate.
  4. Use a different cake mix or pudding mix. Some combinations I have tried: orange cake mix with lemon pudding; cover with lemon glaze; spice cake with butterscotch pudding and chopped apples and nuts; use yellow cake mix with vanilla pudding and chocolate frosting.

Recipe adaptations from Double Chocolate Brownie Cake –

~Recommended by Dottye Currin


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