Thursday, December 26, 2013

Artichoke Spinach Dip

I've always loved this dip, but I have learned to be careful when ordering it in a restaurant.  It's so yummy and tempting when they deliver it to your table - bubbling hot with a wonderful aroma.  That's what gets me into trouble - I dive right in and end up burning my mouth.  Ever done that?  You'll never forget to wait a while the next time around.  

I made this for Christmas Eve dinner, and then served the leftovers the next day.  The second time around, we loved it even more when it was cold.  Somehow, the flavors intensify when it is not so hot.  See what you think...

This couldn't be easier to throw together in a hurry.  Canned/bottled artichokes are a breeze to chop, and you can substitute frozen chopped spinach if you wish.  I used fresh spinach because I was fortunate enough to have it in my refrigerator.  I never bother with fresh garlic - it takes a lot of time, and I think dehydrated minced garlic is just as tasty.  10 minutes is all it took to get it ready for the oven.  

Artichoke Spinach Dip  
(recipe source:

4 cups loosely packed fresh baby spinach (about 1/2 of a 10-oz package frozen spinach - thawed and drained)
2/3 cups drained & coarsely chopped artichoke hearts (marinated or water packed - doesn't matter)
4 oz cream cheese (1/2 of an 8-oz block) softened.
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced (or use 1/4 tsp dried minced garlic)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp hot sauce (I used Tabasco)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (not the 'green can' variety)
1/4 to 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded + more for topping
Salt & pepper

Coarsely chop drained artichoke hearts, placing in fine mesh strainer.  

If using frozen spinach, cook as per package directions in microwave.  Add to the artichoke hearts in strainer to drain and cool. 

If using fresh spinach, sauté' in a non-stick pan until wilted.  When cool, chop well. 

Meanwhile, beat cream cheese until smooth.  Add sour cream and mayonnaise.  Season with hot sauce and salt & pepper to taste.  

Add drained/cooled artichoke hearts & spinach to creamed mixture.  Fold in gently. 

Add parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, folding in until well combined.

Add mixture to a round, flat baking dish (a pie plate, or similar works well)

Sprinkle with a generous layer of additional grated mozzarella (I use a 3-cheese blend of mozzarella, provolone, and cheddar).

Bake at 350-375° until mixture is hot and bubbling.  This typically takes 20 minutes when dip is at room temperature - adjust accordingly if previously refrigerated.

Serve with crackers, baguette bread, or similar edible "utensils".

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