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Monday, September 10, 2012

Cooking with Banshee: Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

The NFL season is underway.  Nothing goes better with football than good dips.  Well, except for maybe beer.  But, this is a Wild Banshee standby from way back in the day.

In the interest of full disclosure, I originally got this recipe from an Olive Garden copycat website.  I have made a few minor adjustments over the years, but it is basically the OG's recipe.  You can get some form of the dip at pretty much any chain restaurant now, but the Olive Garden is the first place I ever tasted spinach and artichoke dip.  And, this version continues to be my favorite.

Dip Ingredients:
8 oz package of cream cheese (light works just fine)
1 can of artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup frozen spinach
1/4 cup mayonaise (you can use light but do not use Miracle Whip)
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese (do not use the powdery kind in the can)
1/4 cup shredded romano cheese (you can use all parmesan if you don't want to buy two types)
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Dip Directions:
Bring the cream cheese to room temperature and thaw the spinach.  Grease a 1.5 quart baking dish.

When the spinach is thawed, drain it well.  You will probably need to squeeze it with a paper towel to get out all the excess water.  Chop the artichoke hearts.  Set aside the artichokes and spinach.

Mix together the cream cheese, mayo and all the other ingredients besides the mozzarella.  Once those ingredients are mixed well, fold in the spinach and artichokes.  Spoon the mixture into the baking dish.  Top with the mozzarella.  Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until the cheese on top is melted.

Serve warm with tortilla chips or toasted bread.  This recipe can also be done entirely in a crockpot.

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