Greetings from quarantine! We’ve been in the house for five days now. I find myself longing for things I took for granted. Specifically, spinach artichoke dip served as an appetizer at restaurants.
I’ve been watching Instagram stories a lot more than usual, and three separate people were making fresh artichokes. Three. Personally, I’ve never eaten a fresh artichoke and the idea of it looks rather frightening.
Seeing those people who know and appreciate vegetables way more than me reminded me I had two cans of artichokes collecting dust in my pantry, so I immediately set out to make spinach artichoke dip.
Life in quarantine
Like all of you are experiencing, life in quarantine is kind of boring, sometimes anxiety-inducing, and a little stressful. I’ve learned that no matter how much I clean, my kids are monsters and I’m pretty much giving up hope at this point.
I spent four days in sweatpants, and truthfully I’m on outfit 3 since Friday night. Like Planet Fitness, this is a judgment-free zone here.
I spent the past couple days eating junk food, avoiding the news, and realizing there is no new TV I actually want to watch. I spent the first few days of quarantine without a stove, and I cooked all my meals on the grill, in an air fryer, or in my new Instant Pot.
I finally got the stove installed, and I celebrated by making frozen pizza last night and watching a terrible movie in my kids’ messy playroom. Today I decided to finally get a shower, put on non-sweat pants, and cook something real.
You don’t need a party to enjoy party food
I am a firm believer that you don’t need an actual party to eat party food. My favorite ways to meal prep are just making batches of party food like buffalo chicken dip or sweet chili meatballs and eating it throughout the week while avoiding party situations altogether. Spinach and artichoke dip is the same way–plus, it’s vegetables so it’s pretty healthy in my book.
Did you not stockpile chips?
Don’t worry. I didn’t either. Back when I foolishly forgot I handle stress by eating my weight in salty foods, I did not pick up any chips. Probably for the best, but I wasn’t letting that stop me when I decided to make spinach and artichoke dip for a mid-afternoon snack.
All you need are some corn tortillas, kosher salt, and cooking spray. Cut your corn tortillas into six or eight pieces, spray both sides with cooking spray, sprinkle with kosher salt, and bake at 400 for 10-ish minutes. Keep an eye on them and look for bubbles to form in the chips.
Around 8ish minutes, give the pan a shake and listen to see if they are hardened. This one is less about time and more about using your eyes and ears to check doneness.
I’m sure there is an air fryer way of doing it, but let’s be real… I’m eating more chips than my air fryer is prepared for. If you like these oven-baked chips, you’ll love my tostadas. They’re basically a giant nacho chip.
Prepare the ingredients
This recipe is actually really easy and can be assembled in one pan. You start by draining and rinsing your canned artichokes. After you’ve given them a good rinse, coarsely chop the artichokes. You can mince your garlic while you’re at it.
Heat up a big pan, and saute the artichokes on medium heat with a little bit of cooking spray. Next, you’re going to want to add your spinach. Remember that spinach shrinks a lot.
I did this all in my 12-inch nonstick pan and the spinach was practically overflowing when I first put it in. After carefully tossing the spinach and allowing it to wilt, the mixture took up half the pan before the next step.
You’re waiting to add the garlic because garlic can get bitter after about 30 seconds. Never trust a recipe if it tells you to add garlic at the beginning with the onions. Never. While the garlic cooks, add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.
The good stuff
I tasted the mixture once the garlic was in there, and honestly, it’s pretty good. I thought, “Wow, do I like vegetables now?” Once I was done admiring how healthy I now am for appreciating vegetables, I added a bunch of cheese. Specifically, a brick of cream cheese, parmesan, and mozzarella.
The cream cheese melts really well, and I laughed at my past self who thought the vegetables sans-cheese tasted good because it tasted a million times better.
I shredded parmesan because I am not a heathen, and I prefer my parmesan freshly grated instead of from the shelf-stable shaker. Just adding the parmesan really made this awesome, but I wanted that cheese pull–that unnecessary but comforting mozzarella cheese pull.
You’ll see in the recipe that if you decide to broil the top, you should save half the mozzarella for the top. It is optional, but it does give you those golden brown bubbles that look great on the gram.
The real reason to party
This dip, which is a total winner, is surprisingly not bad for WW points. Cheese be damned, this recipe is only 1sp an ounce on all the plans, and the recipe makes 30 ounces.
Once you get to 5 oz, the math gets wonky, but a point an ounce is pretty good. Don’t worry, I did the math and measurements–¼ cup is 2.5 ounces so don’t feel the need to bust out a food scale every time.
These times are a little scary. Like many, it’s the uncertainty that scares me the most. Strange as it sounds, hearing from people I’ve never met in real life through Instagram has been a huge part of my sanity over the past few days.
I appreciate everyone’s DMs, comments, and tags on Instagram so much. Thank you all for continuing to reach out and follow along. I hope you and your family are safe, happy, and have plenty of TP and Netflix.
- 2 14 oz canned artichoke hearts in brine
- 10 oz fresh spinach
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 8 oz ⅓ fat Neufchatel cream cheese
- 1 oz freshly grated parmesan
- 2 oz part-skim mozzarella
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt and pepper
- Drain and rinse artichoke hearts. Roughly chop the artichokes.
- Saute spinach and artichokes in a nonstick pan sprayed with your preferred cooking spray. Cook until spinach is wilted and mixture is reduced to about half the pan size (about 5 minutes).
- Saute minced garlic for about 30 seconds in the vegetable mixture.
- Add a pinch of red pepper flakes and cream cheese. Mix cream cheese until fully melted.
- Add shredded parmesan and mozzarella. If you are finishing in the oven, reserve half of the mozzarella for the top. If you are serving as is or putting it in the crockpot, mix in all the cheese now. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed--I added a little more salt because I like how restaurants have good, salty spinach and artichoke dip.
- If you are finishing in the oven, pour the mixture into an oven-safe dish. Top with remaining cheese. If you are finishing with a broil, broil on high until the top gets golden. If you are heating another day, cover and refrigerate up to three days in advance; heat at 350 for about 20 minutes.