Sunday, December 30, 2007

Extra-Special Spinach and Artichoke Dip

I can almost file this recipe under "failure," but it went okay the 2nd time around. Let me start at the beginning...

My original intent was to find Outback Steakhouse's Artichoke Dip recipe. Even though the internet is wonderful, it let me down big time and I couldn't find the recipe online anywhere.

I looked around for awhile and eventually found a recipe that sounded pretty amazing, mostly because it (1) contained Alfredo sauce and (2) did NOT contain copious amounts of mayonnaise. Don't get me wrong, I love mayonnaise under the right circumstances, but if I'm making a dip I really don't want to think about how when I'm eating it, I'm really just swallowing a gigantic blob of mayo on a chip.

In reading the reviews of the recipe I found, I noticed that some people said it was fun to use fresh spinach and also that if you followed the exact directions of the recipe, which said to "spread" ingredients in an 8x8 pan, the dip wouldn't turn out correctly. One reviewer said it was NECESSARY to put this dip into a food processor or a blender. So I chopped up a bunch of fresh spinach and threw the whole shebang into my food processor. As it blended, I started to get a very uneasy feeling. When the cream cheese had finally been blended, I was horrified to see that the dip looked alarmingly like that green jell-o fluff you can buy in the grocery store deli and I find to be absolutely disgusting. Or something pistachio-flavored. And I am supposed to bring this dip to a New Year's Eve party tomorrow night!

So my only choice was to drive to the grocery store at 9:20PM and pray that they weren't totally out of artichoke hearts so that I could have a re-do. THANKFULLY it turned out well the 2nd time. At least I think so, because I haven't baked it yet, but it's already better than the 1st time because it's a normal spinach/artichoke dip-y color. And it tastes good. The green one did too, but since people would be expecting it to taste like that green fluffy stuff...yeah. It's just better to make it again!

From with modifications by Kira


4 cloves garlic (I used 5)
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 (10 ounce) container Alfredo-style pasta sauce (Bertolli's is best)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (6-cheese Italian blend)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened (I used the entire package)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Place garlic in a small baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven 20 to 30 minutes, until soft. Remove from heat. When cool enough to touch, squeeze softened garlic from skins.

In an 8x8 inch baking dish, spread the roasted garlic, spinach, artichoke hearts, Alfredo-style pasta sauce, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese and cream cheese.

Cover and bake in the preheated oven 30 minutes, or until cheeses are melted and bubbly. Serve warm.

Kira's directions for step 3: Mix the cream cheese, the Alfredo sauce, and the roasted garlic until it's mostly blended. Squish the roasted garlic until it's fairly well blended with the rest. Add the shredded cheese and the Parmesan. Mix well. Then, add the artichoke hearts and the spinach and take care not to overmix. Place in baking dish and top with a little bit of grated Parmesan.

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