If there is one thing you should know about me and my guilty pleasures, it’s that I could honestly eat appetizers all day.  I’m not talking tapas; I mean bar. food. appetizers.  All day.   Some of my favorite are as follows:

  • spinach and artichoke dip
  • nachos
  • wings
  • quesadillas
  • potato skins

 

Ok.  I’ll just go ahead and stop myself there.  I freaking love all SORTS of bar food!  I worked at an extremely popular chain restaurant during my first two years of college.  Prior to moving to my shiny, new college town, I was a pretty simple girl when it came to flavors:  meat and cheese only on EVERYTHING, and the occasional chicken strip basket made its way into my repertoire of meals.  Sooo boring, I know.  I am actually slightly ashamed to admit that, but I am only doing so because it’s kind of fun to think of how far I’ve come … not that confessing my undying love for terrible bar food is gaining me much credibility, but it is what it is.

Anyway, after starting at that chain restaurant in college, I found myself being introduced to a few new menu items that were extremely popular for said restaurant.  Spinach dip was something I was totally unwilling to try for quite some time, but the second I did I was hooked on it.  Ever since, I am notorious for ordering it as an app, sometimes an entrée, and I’ve always made it for football Sundays and holiday gatherings.  My mom continues to tell me how good my spinach dip is when I make it at Christmas, so I appreciate the support and bring back the glory every year. 🙂

spinac dip 3So now that we are really getting to know each other, I have another confession:  I can totally respect the wave of popular, healthy recipes with Greek yogurt as a substitute for, like, everything … but I am going to be real here.  I love FLAVOR.  I get that the-Greek-yogurt-thing can be a valid substitute for texture, but I am not willing to give up the flavor of cream cheese, mayo, and sour cream. 

That being said, I have always relied upon Alton Brown’s Spinach and Artichoke Recipe from foodnetwork.com as my go-to for my spinach dip, and it has yet to fail me.  I still would like to go a tad bit lighter on some things just to keep it slightly less caloric, so  I cut IMG_3417the amount of cream cheese down, and I also fully support using a lower fat sour cream to lighten it a little more.  (I did not personally do that for this recipe though.) 

Last note!  PLEASE be aware that I used twice as much crushed red pepper for this recipe!  For your notes:  if you love some heat, use what the recipes reads.  If you would prefer a tamer version, cut the amount listed in half, and add more as you go along if you so wish.

 


[my additional tips!]:

Actual Prep / cook time:  30 minutes

Clean-up difficulty:  2 [easy stuff.]

Overall difficulty to make:  2.5 [super quick and simple.]

Overall satisfaction:  10 [there. I did it.  I gave myself a 10 rating and I mean it.]

What I would change next time?  I would change nothing. 

For your own version, I recommend:

  • I highly suggest boiling the spinach and the artichokes before using them – this is the first time I tried this method, and it makes a WORLD of difference and leaves out any harsh flavors you may typically encounter in the end product!
  • PLEASE USE HALF THE AMOUNT OF CRUSHED RED PEPPER TO START! I don’t want you to go through the entire recipe and then hate it at the end because it’s too spicy. 🙁
  • be sure to really add each ingredient individually, and stir in completely before going on to the next. 
  • topping the dish with mozzarella before baking it will give it more of a brownish, crusty topping which is also delicious!
  • do not skip on the tomato topping – it is such a delicious attribute to this dish, and I don’t even like raw tomatoes.
  • this goes well with pita bread, pita chips, tortilla chips, you name it.  Pick as you wish!

© 2015 : a flavor journal : by sara Alvord
perfect spinach artichoke dip
Serves 2
The perfect appetizer to share with a rich, creamy texture and flavor to spare.
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  2. 1 small jar marinated quartered artichokes, chopped
  3. 4 oz. cream cheese
  4. 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan (finely grated)
  5. 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  6. 1/3 cup sour cream
  7. 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
  8. 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  9. 1/4 tsp. salt
  10. 1/2 cup shredded cheddar or mozzarella
  11. 1/2 tsp. seasoned salt (garnish)
  12. 6 grape tomatoes, chopped or thinly sliced
Instructions
  1. Add thawed spinach and chopped artichokes to 1 cup boiling water. Boil five minutes, remove from heat, and drain thoroughly.
  2. Add spinach and artichokes to medium sized mixing bowl, and add cream cheese. Mix well. Add sour cream, mix well again, and then add mayo and finish combining until all ingredients are evenly distributed.
  3. Stir in seasonings until completely absorbed. Spoon entire mixture into a small, oven-safe baking dish. Top with shredded cheese and seasoned salt. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and top with chopped or sliced tomatoes. Serve warm!
Notes
  1. Tomatoes are optional, but really enhance the flavor of this dip. This app can also be served with pita bread, pita chips, tortilla chips, veggies, or really with any vessel of your liking. Enjoy!
Adapted from Alton Brown's Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip
a flavor journal. http://aflavorjournal.com/