@sprightlyamyanne Instagram photos

@sprightlyamyanne Instagram photos

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Pasta e Fagioli. Amy Style. With Chicken. Unauthentic But Delicious.

This is about as unauthentic as you can get and still call this dish Pasta e Fagioli. True Pasta e Fagioli is a meatless "pasta & beans" dish. What I've concocted here is what happens when I stand in my kitchen at 6:00 pm and realize that I don't have enough of anything to really make a meal and I'm too tired to haul my cookies to the store. Enjoy! :)


Makes 6 servings

* 1 can organic kidney beans (**The 'real' recipe calls for dried dried great northern beans abt. 1 1/4 cups)
* 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
* 2 ribs celery, chopped thin
* 1 yellow onion, diced
* 2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 large cloves)
* 2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary
* 4 ounces fusilli or other medium sized pasta
* 1 can organic chopped tomatoes
* 3/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 3 1/2 cups Homemade Chicken Stock, or canned low-sodium chicken broth, skimmed of fat
* 1 lb roasted chicken (or whatever cooked chicken you've got 'laying' around
* 1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves
* 1/4 cup fresh packed parsley leaves
* 5 large fresh sage leaves
* Freshly grated Parmesan cheese


1. In a stockpot over med-low heat, melt the butter. Then add celery, onion, and 1 1/4 teaspoons garlic; saute until translucent. Add beans, rosemary, sage, stock, tomatoes, pepper, and 3 1/2 cups water. Bring to a simmer for 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions until it is just underdone and set aside.

3. After the soup has simmered for 15 minutes then add the salt and chicken. Heat through.

4. Finely chop the fresh basil and parsley. Stir into soup just before serving. Serve soup with a
garnish of fresh grated Parmesan.

Crusty bread is a great addition to this fine meal.

**if you're using dried beans rather than canned - follow these instructions:
1. Rinse beans, cover with cold water, and soak overnight. Drain beans; set aside.
2. After you've cooked the veggies until translucent, add beans, rosemary, chicken stock, tomatoes, pepper, and 3 1/2 cups water. Bring soup to a boil at high heat. Turn heat to medium low; simmering for 1 1/4 hours (or until beans are tender).
3. Then follow step 3 and beyond.

(photo credit: rachelray.com)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip & Oatmeal Ecstasy Cookies

My daughter and I made these last night - I forgot how good they are. Mmmmm. And. So. Easy. These cookies are a drop cookie and contain NO flour. So if you're on a gluten-free diet these might work for you.


1 1/2 cup Peanut butter (either creamy or chunky work well. Choose chunky if you like a little extra crunch in your cookie)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 stick butter
3 eggs
2 teaspoons of vanilla
2 teaspoons of baking soda
4 cups oats (regular or thick cut are best. Don't use instant oatmeal)
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I like to mix semi-sweet and bittersweet chips together)

Cream together the first 6 ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer (or by hand). Blend in three eggs until well combined. Mix in the oats. Then mix in the chocolate chips.

Drop dough in rounded tablespoons (2-3 tablespoons) 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 (or 325 if using a convection oven) for 10 minutes. Take cookies out and bang on counter then bake for 2-3 minutes longer. The cooking time will depend on the size of your cookies. Cooking longer will give you a dryer cookie. We like them just undercooked.

Must eat warm with a glass of milk.

(photo credit: sparkpeople.com)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Find the Right Coach

As you may remember, I recently partnered up with Making Work at Home Work as a blogger.

Find the Right Coach
By Mary M. Byers

In my last post I talked about working with a coach. This time, we'll address how to find the right coach for you. I suggest the following:

Ask friends and colleagues if they can recommend anyone to you. Listen to conversations. If you hear someone mention that they work with a coach, ask if they'd be willing to share the name and contact information. Referrals are by far the best way to find a coach.

Identify specifically what you need help with.
Do you need help increasing your income? Decreasing your expenses? Someone to brainstorm marketing ideas with? Or, do you have plenty of ideas but lack the follow through to do them? In this latter case, you'll want someone who can use a little tough love to hold you accountable for getting things done. The more specific you are regarding where you need help, the more likely you'll be to find a coach that's a good fit for you.

Search online.
Do a search for coaches online. You'll find plenty! Pick a few sites to go to, read about each coach and his or her philosophy, and watch the videos. You'll get a sense of who you might feel comfortable working with. Narrow the list to these possibilities.

Request a complimentary introductory session. This is THE most important step. I "met" by phone with several coaches before finding mine. One coach spent the whole conversation talking about herself. Another spent the entire time saying, "If you decide to work with me, then..." And a third was not at all focused during our conversation, which led me to believe our coaching sessions would be the same way--frustrating for me.

Make the decision. Know that your coaching relationship won't last forever. This makes it easier to decide who you will work with. Pick the coach you are most interested in. Then, ask if you can sign up for a limited number of sessions (a minimum of three). You'll have a good sense of how the relationship is working after several sessions.

Be willing to do the work. When you enter a coaching relationship, you're making a commitment to help your coach help you. And you're making a commitment to doing homework between sessions as well as to do the heavy thinking required to help take your business to the next level. Coaches see lots of people who are willing to pay for help, but fewer who are willing to roll up their sleeves and get to work. Your work with a coach only pays off if you're invested and willing to sweat along with your coach.

Good luck!

Mary Byers is the author of Making Work at Home Work: Successfully Growing a Business and a Family Under One Roof. You can learn more about making work at home work by subscribing to Mary’s free blog at www.makingworkathomework.com. Interested in more articles like this? Join the blog ring here.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Meeting of the Waters

"Basic reading not only for all Christians involved in global missions but also for any believers trying to reach out to their own city."
~~Tim Keller

Fritz Kling's The Meeting of the Waters by David C. Cook Publishers is a fascinating insiders look into the ins/outs of the global Church. Are we changing how we do church to be effective? Read this from the back cover:

A young Christian from Ireland moves to India—not to evangelize but to help girls escape prostitution. A retiring missionary in Brazil who long ago left all remnants of home encounters a thirty-year-old, laptop-carrying family man who rarely stops texting friends in the States. A Kenyan pastor struggles to connect with a congregation that watches a mega church pastor on the Internet every Sunday morning.

The community of Christians around the world—also known as the Global Church—is stunning in its scope and spiritual impact. But what is happening to the Church as technology, generational transitions, and cultural shifts make their mark?

In The Meeting of the Waters, Fritz Kling identifies seven trends—such as migration, machines, and the growing Mercy Generation—having an impact on today’s Global Church. Equal parts travelogue, character study, and global documentary, this breakthrough book is for anyone eager to make a difference in a changing world.

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, of The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


Fritz Kling has spent the past decade in the heart of the global Church, traveling through villages and cities in every corner of the world. In preparation to writing The Meeting of the Waters, Kling spent a year conducting one hour interviews with more than 150 Christian leaders from 19 developing countries. As a foundation executive, he has worked alongside both high-level leaders and grass-roots workers and has an insider’s story to tell. Fritz and his family live in Richmond, VA.

Visit the author's website.

The Meeting of the Waters, by Fritz Kling from David C. Cook on Vimeo.

Product Details:

List Price: $16.99

Paperback: 240 pages

Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (March 1, 2010)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1434764842

ISBN-13: 978-1434764843


The 7 Global Currents

All Bets Are Off

“The expectations are unreasonable! I am but one small pastor in a tiny church in Africa, but the challenges are getting greater and greater!” the Kenyan pastor vented during a tea break at a leadership conference in East Africa.

As a pastor’s kid, I thought I recognized those post-sermon insecurities and doubts. They had been my father’s constant carp. Today, friends of mine who are pastors admit to being tormented by the very same gremlins. But this was not a case of my father’s sermon angst.

“You see,” the pastor continued, “what has happened is that quite a few of my parishioners have told me that they prefer the sermons of the televangelist whom they watch on TV before church every Sunday. Perhaps you have heard of the fellow, he’s an American … T. D. Jakes?”

“Oh my,” I said. Of course I knew of Jakes, who graced the cover of Time magazine in 2001 with the title “Is This Man the Next Billy Graham?” Jakes is a Dallas-based, African-American pastor who draws 30,000 worshipers to his church, has written several best-seller books, is
pastor to the Dallas Cowboys and other celebrities, and runs anti-poverty programs in both Dallas and Kenya. He preached at a private church service for President-elect Obama on the morning of his inauguration and has prayed with the President on numerous phone calls.

That Kenyan pastor, who lacked formal training, a library, an assistant, or compensation, had pushed himself to work harder and harder to deliver sermons that were biblically truthful and culturally relevant. Suddenly, though, he found himself in a classic twenty-first-century bind. He was a Kenyan ministering to Kenyans in Kenya, but he had been unwittingly thrust into a global, cross-cultural dilemma. He had not gone to another country as a missionary. Rather, another country (America, in this case) had come into his church—and his church would never be the same. America was not the problem: His parishioners could just as easily tune in to televised preachers from South Korea, Australia, or Germany.

The challenge facing the pastor was that global media seamlessly and invisibly infiltrated his Kenyan culture. Further, I believe that this “cultural creep” is not the exception, but rather the rule in most countries around the world.

As I met more leaders like my Kenyan friend, I grew increasingly curious to know just which trends were on the loose, in which countries, and what changes they were causing. The answers were important to me as a foundation executive, as I directed grants around the world, but I felt that something much bigger was also at stake: whether the global church could unlearn old irrelevancies and learn new realities as it steered into the next era.

A mission scholar said, “If you really want to understand the future of Christianity, go and see what is happening in Asia, Africa, Latin America … that’s where the action is.” So, my colleagues and I decided to do just that.

Between June 2006 and June 2007, we conducted 151 one-hour interviews with church leaders in nineteen countries. We called it the Global Church Listening Tour.

We interviewed indigenous seminarians, pastors, missionaries, and laypeople. We met them in churches, offices, schools, restaurants, tea shops, hotel rooms, trains, planes, cars, and boats throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America. We asked all interviewees the following fifteen questions and transcribed their answers—about the state of the indigenous church in their country; the impact and effectiveness of Western missionaries and aid workers in their country; and the ways in which globalization is affecting local ministry in their country.
• With which denomination or church are you most closely affiliated?
• What are the three most urgent needs of the church in your country?
• What is the state of the church in your country?
• What are your dreams for the church in your country?
• What are the greatest strengths and weaknesses of people in your country, not just Christians?
• Which of the following are appropriate ways for the Western church to support the church in your country: short-term missions? Money? Evangelism? Church planting? Leadership development? Humanitarian aid?
• Describe the good and bad effects of missionaries in your country.
• Which country has sent the most missionaries to your country?
• What would you wish for foreign missionaries to know about your culture and society?
• As an American, I am curious to know what you think are the best and worst personal characteristics of American missionaries.
• Has the nature of relationships between foreign missionaries and local Christians changed in the past ten years?
• How are younger Christians different than their parents, and do they practice their faith differently?
• How has your country changed, for better or worse, in terms of culture, economics, politics, and religion because of other countries’ influence?
• Are there ministry approaches that are no longer as effective as they used to be because of changing times?
• Which countries have affected your country the most?

In conducting the Listening Tour, my colleagues and I consistently met with a telling response—surprise that Americans would travel to poorer countries, ask questions, and listen. An American foundation with large amounts of money seeking the insights of indigenous church leaders in the developing world? At first, this caused suspicion, but ultimately it spread profound encouragement.

Deeply appreciative of being asked, the survey participants were remarkably forthcoming and thoughtful. I felt honored as they shared with me their indigenous perspectives, reminding me of long-simmering issues and also opening my eyes to new on-the-ground realities.

As the Listening Tour data came in, seven prevalent trends began to emerge. These 7 Global Currents flow invisibly and powerfully, under and around the global church. As identified in the Listening Tour, they are:

1. Mercy: Social justice has become a global imperative, especially among youth and young adults. For Christians, this will lead to an increasing emphasis on meeting physical needs in addition to continuing the long-standing emphasis on evangelism.

2. Mutuality: Leaders from traditionally poor countries increasingly have education, access, technology, and growing economies … and they will demand to be heard. Global church leaders from traditionally powerful countries will need to account for these new perspectives and voices.

3. Migration: Relocation among nations and regions is on the rise and will be rampant—especially to cities—whether for jobs, war, schooling, tourism, or politics. All future Christian outreaches will need to adapt their message for radically diverse audiences.

4. Monoculture: The cultures of all countries will become more and more similar, thanks to the spread of worldwide images, ideals, celebrities, and ad campaigns. Christians seeking to communicate with global neighbors will need to be aware that marketing from outside their borders now shapes many of their deepest values.

5. Machines: Cell phones, GPS, television, and the Internet are transforming lifestyles worldwide. The future global church must recognize how newfound abilities to communicate, travel, and consume are changing individuals’ lives and values, too.

6. Mediation: While there is much talk of the world’s flattening, partisan rifts are actually proliferating. Splinter groups now have more communication avenues for inciting discord and attracting sympathizers than ever, and the global church must find a mediating role amid increasing polarization of all kinds.

7. Memory: Even as globalization reshapes the world, every nation and region has distinct histories that have profoundly shaped their society. Visitors must understand how yesterday affects today, in ways potentially undermining because they are invisible and unstated.

These Currents do not respect national or ethnic boundaries. Their invisibility makes them doubly potent, because they are relentless and dominant—but often overlooked. These Currents will powerfully alter the global church’s future direction—for good or evil—depending on how
quickly and wisely the church reacts.


My job as executive director of a private foundation has afforded me an enviable string of private tutoring sessions from great leaders in the global church. One day I might meet with a publisher from Moscow, the next day a politician from Sierra Leone, and then a substance-abuse counselor from Mexico, a summer camp director from Romania, a seminary president from Egypt, a researcher from China, and a church planter from Ghana. I have also met American ministry greats: the urban ministry leader from Pasadena, the megachurch pastor from Manhattan, the substance-abuse counselor from Richmond, and the missions expert from Berkeley. It has all been part of the job.

My tutors come from more than one hundred nations, and not just the powerful ones. Although incredibly diverse, these men and women are consistent in how they describe their societies back home as modernizing and changing, rendering old stereotypes counterproductive. They do not characterize any single Global Current as totally negative or positive, but recognize that each of them could be harnessed for good or ill. The Currents are reliable tools for those who would help lead the global church into a bold and relevant future—to skate to where the puck is going to be.

I have been asked why today’s followers of Christ—in New Delhi or Lima or Sydney—should care about the 7 Global Currents. My best answer is that the Currents will help people to reconcile their faith with their world—to connect Sundays with the rest of the week and provide a perspective on religion’s centrality in the world today. The church’s mission is to represent Jesus Christ to the people of the world, and I believe that the Currents will help the church understand what those people are like and how they are changing.

The practice of watching the changing world and constantly adjusting approaches accordingly is second nature in so many fields, but not in the worldwide Christian church. Mission practitioners and scholars have traditionally focused on specific people, cultures, or countries—a noble undertaking as missionaries engaged with distant, remote locations that had seen few outsiders and where there was little or no written record.

But global church leaders today can no longer merely be specialists; they must also be generalists. In an age when trends spread “virally,” significant events in the military, academic, media, economic, marketing, and financial worlds have profound impact on the global church’s efforts. One global church scholar notes that “there used to be a global community of binary culture brokers: people who understood American culture and Singaporean culture from extensive, direct experience. Now there is an expanding global community of global culture brokers: people who understand many cultures from extensive, direct experience.” In the future, global church experts and practitioners must learn to navigate the 7 Global Currents in our all-bets-are-off world.

Just what do I mean by an all-bets-are-off world? Even in the most provincial or remote venue, global forces are now at play. Nothing seems to remain the same from year to year, week to week. Change is the norm. Once again, rivers provide a helpful metaphor. In a classic passage, American author Mark Twain describes the harrowing task of piloting riverboats on the Mississippi River over the course of days, seasons, and years when seemingly nothing remains the same. As I reflected on the challenge of adjusting to changing mission environments in the globalizing world, I thought back to Twain’s wonderful description:

One cannot easily realize what a tremendous thing it is to know every detail of twelve hundred miles of river and know it with absolute exactness. If you will take the longest street in New York, and travel up and down it, conning its features patiently until you know every house and window and lamppost and big and little sign by heart … [a]nd then, if you will go on until you know every street–crossing, the character, size, and position of the crossing-stones.… Next, if you will take half of the signs in that long street, and change their places once a month, and still manage to know their new positions accurately on dark nights, and keep up with these repeated changes without making any mistakes, you will understand what is required of a pilot’s peerless memory by the fickle Mississippi.

That is the kind of environment in which the Christian church finds itself today. Global trends and tools are being unleashed in one part of the globe and immediately transforming local environments half a world away—from Dallas to Nairobi and back again. As unfair or difficult as it may be, my Kenyan friend must now consider and harness the influence of television broadcasting and other forms of media from countries all around the world. No longer may he merely remove himself to a quiet place, immerse himself in the Bible, and emerge with a word for his flock. Now, he must also take into account what is happening around the world—including T. D. Jakes’ latest sermon playing every Sunday before church. And Jakes, too, as his parishioners grow more eager to serve the needs of others around the globe, must stay tuned to the cries of people as far away from Dallas as Kenya and Kampala and Kabul.

Thomas Friedman writes, “Today, more than ever, the traditional boundaries between politics, culture, technology, finance, national security, and ecology are disappearing. You often cannot explain one without referring to the others, and you cannot explain the whole without reference to them all.” This practice, which Friedman calls “information arbitrage,” is just what the global church needs today, and the 7 Global Currents are just the right tool.

But take heart. The task is an interesting one—quite fun, actually. The happy result will be that the global church’s efforts will be built upon a current, relevant, and indigenous base. For Christians seeking to be faithful and relevant in the changing world, the 7 Currents offer new ways to pray, think, give, send, and go. Most strategically, the Currents provide a starter kit for a new generation of globally minded Christians who want to see God’s kingdom come—in brothels and barrios, in statehouses and criminal courts, in movie theaters and boardrooms, and in rain forests and greenbelts.

©2010 Cook Communications Ministries. The Meeting of the Waters by Fritz Kling. Used with permission. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Get in my Belly! Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

Super Yum! Great with grilled chicken.


* 1 1/2 cups quinoa (small disk-shaped seeds)*
* 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, rinsed if canned
* 1 1/2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
* 1 1/2 cups cooked corn (cut from about 2 large ears)
* 3/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
* 2 pickled jalapeƱo chilies, seeded and minced (wear rubber gloves)
* 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh coriander

For dressing

* 5 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin, or to taste
* 1/3 cup olive oil

* *available at specialty foods shops and natural foods stores

print a shopping list for this recipe

In a bowl wash quinoa in at least 5 changes cold water, rubbing grains and letting them settle before pouring off most of water, until water runs clear and drain in a large fine sieve.

In a saucepan of salted boiling water cook quinoa 10 minutes. Drain quinoa in sieve and rinse under cold water. Set sieve over a saucepan of boiling water (quinoa should not touch water) and steam quinoa, covered with a kitchen towel and lid, until fluffy and dry, about 10 minutes (check water level in kettle occasionally, adding water if necessary).

While quinoa is cooking, in a small bowl toss beans with vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer quinoa to a large bowl and cool. Add beans, corn, bell pepper, jalapeƱos, and coriander and toss well.

Make dressing:
In a small bowl whisk together lime juice, salt, and cumin and add oil in a stream, whisking.

Drizzle dressing over salad and toss well with salt and pepper to taste. Salad may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring salad to room temperature before serving. Recipe from www.epicurious.com

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Chicken Stew with Biscuits

Chicken-y goodness! The ultimate comfort food - my family LOVES this. For fun I use heart, flower, or unique shaped cookie cutters for the biscuits.

Chicken Stew with Biscuits

Copyright 2002, Barefoot Contessa Family Style, All rights reserved

Serves 8


* 3 whole (6 split) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
* 3 tablespoons olive oil
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 5 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
* 2 chicken bouillon cubes
* 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
* 2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
* 3/4 cup flour
* 1/4 cup heavy cream
* 2 cups medium-diced carrots (4 carrots), blanched for 2 minutes
* 1 10-ounce package frozen peas (2 cups)
* 1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions
* 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley

For the biscuits:

* 2 cups flour
* 1 tablespoon baking powder
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* 1/4 pound (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
* 3/4 cup half-and-half
* 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
* 1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub them with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cooked through. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove the meat from the bones and discard the skin. Cut the chicken into large dice. You will have 4 to 6 cups of cubed chicken.

In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the bouillon cubes in the stock. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and the heavy cream. Add the cubed chicken, carrots, peas, onions, and parsley. Mix well. Place the stew in a 10 x 13 x 2-inch oval or rectangular baking dish. Place the baking dish on a sheet pan lined with parchment or wax paper. Bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the biscuits. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is the size of peas. Add the half-and-half and combine on low speed. Mix in the parsley. Dump the dough out on a well-floured board and, with a rolling pin, roll out to 3/8-inch thick. Cut out twelve circles with a 2 1/2-inch round cutter.

Remove the stew from the oven and arrange the biscuits on top of the filling. Brush them with egg wash, and return the dish to the oven. Bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, until the biscuits are brown and the stew is bubbly.

Note: To make in advance, refrigerate the chicken stew and biscuits separately. Bake the stew for 25 minutes, then place the biscuits on top, and bake for another 30 minutes, until done.

(photo credit)

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Get in my Belly! Spezzatino & Bruschetta

My husband and daughter saw Giada De Laurentiis make this on Food Network over the weekend. I was a bit skeptical - I had never heard of Spezzatino before (or even how to pronounce it) - but anything served with cheesy bruschetta can't be bad. So off to the store I went to pick up a few things I didn't have on hand (fontina, cannellini beans, frozen artichoke hearts, & ciabatta loaf). Thankfully we live super close to a fab gourmet (and over priced) market.

These recipes were Super easy and totally edible! Even my kids LOVED it. (Okay - Maddie picked the greens off her bruschetta). Will definitely add this to my repertoire! (hubby snapped a few pictures with his phone!)

Chicken, Artichoke and Cannellini Bean Spezzatino

4 to 6 servings


* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 (4-ounce) piece pancetta, diced into 1/4-inch pieces
* 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
* 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
* 1 onion, diced
* 3 cloves garlic, halved
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
* 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
* 2 (14-ounce) cans low-sodium chicken stock
* 1/2 packed cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
* 2 tablespoons tomato paste
* 2 teaspoons dried thyme
* 1 bay leaf
* 2 skinless chicken breasts with rib meat (about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds total)
* 12 ounces frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and chopped into 1-inch pieces
* 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained


In a heavy 5 or 6 quart saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring frequently, until brown and crispy, about 6 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta and drain on paper towels. Set aside. Add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper and cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken stock, basil, tomato paste, thyme, and bay leaf. Add the chicken and press down to submerge. Bring the liquid to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, turning the chicken over and stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Add the artichokes and the cannellini beans and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the liquid has reduced slightly, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove the chicken and let cool for 5 minutes. Discard the bones and cut the meat into bite-size pieces. Return the meat to the saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes until warmed through. Remove the bay leaf and discard. Season the spezzatino with salt and pepper, to taste.

Ladle the spezzatino into bowls and garnish with the cooked pancetta.

Bruschetta with Fontina and Greens

4 to 6 servings


* 1 (1-pound) loaf ciabatta bread, trimmed and cut into 14 (1/2-inch thick) slices
* Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
* 1 garlic clove, halved


* 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
* 12 ounces (12 cups) baby spinach
* Kosher salt
* 2 cups (4 ounces) shredded fontina cheese


For the toasts: Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Arrange the bread slices in a single layer on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake until light golden, about 10 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes. Rub the warm toasts with the cut side of the garlic. Set aside.

For the topping: In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add 1/2 of the spinach and stir until it begins to wilt, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the remaining spinach and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Season with salt, to taste. Using tongs, arrange the spinach on top of the toasts. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 5 to 8 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Season with salt and cool for 2 minutes.

Transfer the bruschetta to a platter and serve.