I Am Officially Addicted To This Dip
I am officially addicted to this new-found spinach dip recipe.
For me, the season really kicks off with Halloween (my favorite holiday). We had a few people over for a low-key trick or treat night, and I made this dip. Those few people devoured it over a relatively short period of time, which is always a good sign. I’ve prepared it for two more parties since, and always get rave reviews.
Aside from the cheesy goodness, I like the flexibility. The dip can be made a day or two in advance and refrigerated. Really, any round loaf of bread will do. You can bake the extra dip separately – or it is good uncooked as well. It is easy to pop in the oven an hour before your guests arrive, and because it’s baked in foil, it stays nice and toasty if you’re traveling to someone else’s party. Also, as it cools on a holiday table, it still tastes good, unlike the cheesy dips that turn into coagulated yuckiness after half an hour or so.
And the sky is really the limit as far as what you can serve with it. Veggies are always nice. I am particularly fond of red, yellow and orange bell peppers. Tortilla chips are another good choice, and the blue corn variety is especially pretty. Pita chips, pretzels, toasted bread cubes – whatever strikes your fancy. I made breakfast on the fly by wrapping some dip in a flour tortilla and heating it briefly in the microwave.
CALORIE DISCLAIMER: This is not a low-fat dish. The inspiration recipe specifically says NOT to use fat free cream cheese or mayonnaise, though I do plan to experiment with low-fat versions in the future. I personally dislike things that shouldn’t be fat free but somehow are. I sometimes buy Neufchatel cheese, which has 1/3 less fat than regular cream cheese. I see no reason why it wouldn’t work in this recipe.
But, to me, the holidays aren’t really about reducing calories in the sense of low-fat or fat-free cooking. They’re about moderation, not deprivation. This recipe does have a nice helping of spinach in it, so you can pat yourself on the back for eating your veggies.
So go ahead. Try the dip. Just don’t devour the entire bread bowl.
Spinach Dip (adapted from Taste of Home Best Holiday Recipes 2008)
Bring 16 oz cream cheese to room temperature. Thaw and squeeze dry a package of frozen chopped spinach (between 10 and 14 ounces).
In a large bowl, blend the softened cream cheese with 1 cup of mayonnaise. An electric hand mixer makes quick work of this, if you have one. Stir in the spinach, 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1 to 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 TB dill weed and 1 can water chestnuts, coarsely chopped.
Slice off the top of a round loaf (about 1 pound) of sourdough or Italian bread. Set the lid aside. Hollow out the bottom with a small sharp knife, leaving a shell of about ½ inch.
If you’d like, and if you were careful enough while hollowing out the bread bowl, you can cube the removed bread and broil on a baking sheet for a couple of minutes until golden brown. The cubes can then be used as dippers. If you’re not so careful, like me, you can save the removed bread to make your own breadcrumbs.
Fill the bread shell with the spinach dip. Put the top back on the bread bowl. Wrap the bread tightly and completely in foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour at 350 until the dip is heated through and bubbly.
Additional dip can be baked, covered, in a lightly greased casserole dish for about 45 minutes.
Enjoy! Also…check out an upcoming post for my first cookbook giveaway!
Until next time,