Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Ideal for a special occasion, this easy dip serves a big group. It tastes great the next day on toast, with potatoes or as an accompaniment with dinner. "I especially like that it can be made healthier by substituting low-fat ingredients without sacrificing taste," says Californian Fran Rifkin, who supplied the recipe.
- 2 lb. fresh spinach leaves, washed, stemmed and coarsely chopped
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 1 lb. low-fat cream cheese at room temperature
- Granulated garlic to taste
- 1 13.5-oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
- 1 8-oz. carton low-fat sour cream
- 8 oz. shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese
- 1 large round sourdough loaf (1- to 2-lb. size)
- Assorted vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, snow peas, and green and red sweet peppers for dipping
- Tortilla chips for dipping
1. Put the spinach into a large stockpot with water still clinging to the leaves. Cover, and steam over medium heat just until the spinach wilts. Remove from the heat.
2. Melt the butter in a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Squeeze excess moisture from the spinach, and add to the skillet.
3. Stir in the cream cheese and garlic, and continue stirring until the cream cheese has melted.
4. Fold in the artichoke hearts, sour cream and three-fourths of the mozzarella. Allow all of the cheeses to melt.
5. Meanwhile, cut the top off the bread loaf, and, using a sharp knife, cut out the interior. Slice it into cubes for dipping.
6. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
7. Pour the cheese mixture into the bread loaf, and put the loaf on a cookie sheet. Top with the remaining mozzarella, and cover with foil. Alternatively, refrigerate the loaf until ready to serve.
8. Bake the stuffed bread for 25 minutes covered. Remove the foil, and bake for about 10 minutes uncovered, or until the cheese is hot and bubbly.