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Monday, February 13, 2012

Hot and Creamy Spinach Artichoke Dip

This is not my normal eating habit, but last night I just wanted to sit on the couch and munch while watching the Grammy Awards.  I'm not an advocate for this type of mindless munching, but very occasionally, it can be nice. One of my favorite appetizers is spinach artichoke dip. It has color, texture, flavor, creaminess, and complexity - many of the elements I prize in a dish.  That said, sometimes when you order it, it can be bland and unexciting.  

What is really nice about cooking for yourself, is that you get to push the limits of the "norm" and make the dish a little more "razzle dazzle" than you've had it before.  What distinguishes this recipe from others I've tasted is a little more garlic and heat than some, and the addition of some chopped sun dried tomatoes - which give it not only more color, but the unexpected tangy sweetness that compliments the velvety creaminess that you are used to.

It's an extremely easy recipe - just combine and bake, and could easily be made ahead of time and popped into the oven just before you need it.  The other thing I kept thinking of while I was eating it, is how great this would be as a filling for stuffed chicken breasts.  Mmmm..

                                                    Click for Printable Recipe
Ingredients:                        
8 oz reduced fat cream cheese
1/4 cup reduced fat mayo
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 can drained artichoke hearts in water, chopped
1 package of frozen spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed 
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 Tbsp sun dried tomatoes, chopped
kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste
crushed red pepper to taste (about 1 tsp)

Step-by-Step:
Thaw frozen spinach in the microwave (3 - 4 minutes) and drain... you'll still have to squeeze the liquid out, but this will give it a head start.
1 pkg of thawed frozen spinach
Combine softened cream cheese and mayo in a large bowl.
8 oz reduced fat cream cheese; 1/4 cup reduced fat mayo.
Add the freshly grated Parmesan.  Please do not use that fake stuff in the can. You must start with great ingredients if you are going to have a great product!
3/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
Add the grated mozzarella.
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese.
Chop and add the garlic.
4 cloves, chopped garlic.
Season with salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper.
kosher salt
black pepper
crushed red pepper flakes
Chop and add the sun dried tomatoes.
3 Tbsp chopped sun dried tomatoes
Wrap the spinach in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze all the liquid out of it that you possibly can.  Yes, it will end up looking like the cud of a cow... which looks pretty gross, but it will taste great - and you do not want all that liquid in the dip.  Break up the spinach and add it to the mix.
squeezed out spinach
Drain the artichokes.
1 can artichoke hearts
Chop them as fine or coarse as you would like them.  This will determine the final texture.
chopped artichoke hearts
Round out the dip with the sour cream.
1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
Combine... taste.... taste... taste.. And while you still have some, add the dip to a casserole dish that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray/
mix and adjust seasonings
add to casserole dish
Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.  It will be lightly browned and bubbly around the edges.  
 

I served this with pita chips, but feel free to use whatever - bread chunks, crackers, chips, snow peas, pepper strips, etc.
Eat!
Delicious! - now hurry up and share with your neighbors.  This is my personal strategy for not sitting here and eating the whole casserole dish full!

Method:
Thaw frozen spinach in the microwave (3 - 4 minutes) and drain... you'll still have to squeeze the liquid out, but this will give it a head start.  Combine softened cream cheese and mayo in a large bowl.  Add the freshly grated Parmesan. Add the grated mozzarella.  Chop and add the garlic. Season with salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper. Chop and add the sun dried tomatoes.

Wrap the spinach in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze all the liquid out of it that you possibly can.  Break up the spinach and add it to the mix. Drain the artichokes. Chop them as fine or coarse as you would like them.  This will determine the final texture. Round out the dip with the sour cream.

Combine, adjust seasonings, then add the dip to a casserole dish that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.  It will be lightly browned and bubbly around the edges.  


Looking for more recipes?
Please visit my Recipe Index for tons of great recipes to cook for/with your family!  Some things are made from leftovers to stretch your budget, others are totally from scratch, while others make use of convenience items for a semi-homemade meal.  I also have a wide array of ethnic recipes represented.  Here are a few to pique your curiosity:

1 comment:

  1. This is delicious! I made to do the stuffed chicken breast recipe. I actually liked the dip better on its own rather than in the chicken but it may have been because I was stuffing my face the entire time I was prepping dinner :) Definitely will make again and again!

    ReplyDelete

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