Saturday, July 28, 2012

Ultimate Spinach and Artichoke Dip

I've given you a few recipes in homage to this spinach and artichoke dip (three-ingredient creamed spinach, spinach and artichoke pasta, but until now, I've withheld the recipe for the original dish! Wait no longer, here is the ultimate (somewhat healthy) spinach dip!

If you search for spinach and artichoke dip recipes, most call for a cup or more of mayo, some full-fat cheese, and a tiny bit of spinach. The idea of consuming so much warm mayo, tucked in with healthy spinach, seemed so conflicted. When I was introduced to Glutenless Goddess's friend Jane's recipe, I immediately wanted to try it. It was different from all the others I had seen. No mayo. Cream cheese forms the base, and anyone who has tried my creamed spinach knows that cream cheese and spinach are a natural combo. I've tweaked the recipe a bit to increase the spinach-to-dairy ratio and to use the lowest fat dairy possible. This spinach dip is now a respectably (somewhat) healthy dish, and it doesn't undo all the goodness of the spinach inside.

This makes a double batch, because whenever I take this to a party, I'm going to want to save some at home for myself.

Ultimate Spinach and Artichoke Dip
2 lbs frozen chopped spinach
1 8 or 12 oz can of quartered artichoke hearts (I have forgotten artichokes before and the recipe still comes out delicious)
8 oz block 1/3 less fat cream cheese (Neufchatel)
2/3 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 oz (1 cup) shredded mozzarella or Italian blend cheese
1 t Tony Chachere's seasoning or other seasoning salt
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t Italian seasoning (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

In a medium or large casserole dish, microwave frozen spinach until thawed, about 7 minutes. Drain the excess water. Add remaining ingredients and stir until combined. If you have trouble mixing it, pop it back in the microwave for a minute or two until the ingredients are softened, and try again. You have three options for how to finish the dip: 1) Pop it in the oven at 350 and bake, uncovered, for about 15 minutes to get a nice browned crust. 2) Microwave it, covered, another 4 minutes or so until it's heated through and the cheese is melty. This is what I usually do. 3) Pop it in a slow cooker and heat for 2.5 hours on high, stir, then switch it to warm for serving. This method is great for keeping the dip warm when serving at a party.

There are endless ways to enjoy this. My favorite is with thinly sliced and toasted baguettes. Melba toast gets you the same effect if you're in a hurry. Also try: tortilla chips, pita chips, veggies, and Triscuits. For breakfast the next day, I have made baked eggs by scooping a spoonful of leftover dip into a ramekin, topping with an egg, and baking for 7-10 minutes at 350. It would also be fantastic mixed into scrambled eggs. I have also topped chicken breasts with this and baked them.