Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Party Dip

At this point, you may be in holiday overdrive. Perhaps you’re so overwhelmed with treats and sweets that even the thought of another piece of candy, cookie, cake, or even sweet piece of fruit is making you sick. If so, I just have one thing to say to you: I don’t understand you at all.

Nonetheless, there’s more to holiday party food than the sugary stuff. I’m partial to savory cheesy things with some green vegetables applied for a little WFQ*, like hot and melty spinach and artichoke dip.

The dip I’ve been making for years is made simple with canned artichoke hearts (you could use frozen) and frozen spinach. It gets flavor and gooiness from mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, then some tangy creaminess from both cream cheese and sour cream. Plenty of garlic adds even more great flavor.

About half an hour in the oven turns a dish of this mixture into a bubbly, hearty dip that’s best served with sturdy chips, like pita chips, or with crackers (although tortilla chips are good, too). It serves a bunch as an appetizer or part of a party buffet, but you can also make half the recipe for a smaller group. It can also be mixed up at least two days ahead, covered and kept in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake and serve. The leftovers are also fine re-heated in the microwave.

This dip should satisfy vegetable lovers and cheese lovers alike. And, if you’re only a cheese lover, I suggest trying this dip anyway, since the flavors and textures of the artichokes hearts and spinach are relatively mild and subtle. Besides, with all the cookies and candies and cakes and so on that you’ve already eaten, perhaps those vegetables will help the New Year’s resolutions go a little more smoothly. Hope you’re having a healthy and happy holiday season!

*WFQ: Whole Food Quotient

Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Adapted from a recipe in Cooking Light magazine

I use reduced-fat cream cheese and sour cream in this recipe. You can make a richer dip with full-fat products, but I do not recommend fat-free.

1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese, plus a little more for the top
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ tsp black pepper
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 (13-14 ounce) can artichoke hearts (or about 8 ounces frozen, thawed), drained and chopped
2 (8-ounce) blocks cream cheese, softened
½ (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine all ingredients (except the extra cheese for the top of the dip) in a large bowl. Stir to combine well. Spread the mixture into a baking dish (1 ½ quart is a good size.)

2. Sprinkle the top of the dip with a little more mozzarella. Resist the urge to really load up the top with cheese, since once it melts, it will form a formidable chip barrier. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Let stand for a few minutes before serving.

Makes about 5 ½ cups, probably serving 10 or more as an appetizer.

Other recipes like this one: Bean Dip with Sour Cream, Salsa and Cheese, Roasted Red Pepper, Garlic and Onion Dip

One year ago: Spicy Chicken Stir Fry

1 comment:

  1. Yum! Love spinach dips. This would be perfect for a Sunday football afternoon! Merry Christmas!