The Fresh Spinach and Artichoke Dip

At almost every gathering, here in Louisiana, you will find at least one dip or spread, and it will almost always be a cold or hot spinach dip. Spinach and Artichoke Dip can get kind of pricey, and contain lots of fat, because some recipes call for lots of butter, heavy cream, mayonnaise, and sour cream, but here, my recipe really s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-s your dollar if you love to serve this dip, and want to keep your cost down, at the same time as keeping it “oh so good”. This dip is best served warm, with your choice of crackers, fresh celery, or with tortilla chips, and it makes about 5 cups (1 1/4 quarts), which comes out to about 20 1/4 servings, or you can freeze it in smaller batches and defrost when you have a craving. Here we go…..

1 lb fresh spinach (that you will later cut into smaller pieces with shears)

1 large sweet onion, chopped (down South, we have an abundance of Vidalias, which is what I used in this recipe, however different parts of the country, have their own types of sweet onions, and you can choose whatever is available to you)

2 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

2 1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter

1 lb (two 8 oz blocks) cream cheese, cut into cubes for easy melting

1 can quartered artichoke hearts, trimmed of any hard pieces, and cut into smaller pieces

8 oz of Mexican 4 Cheese Blend (such as a mix of Monterrey Jack, Cheddar, Asadero, and Queso Quesadilla)

3 crushed garlic cloves (or about 1 1/2 teaspoons)

1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning 

1 teaspoon salt

fresh cracked black pepper

4 cups COLD water, mixed well with 4 heaping tablespoons of cornstarch (this will thicken your dip-and you only add this in the end because the thickening happens within a few seconds)

big pot (because the spinach needs a lot of room until it cooks down, and then you will see “magic” before you eyes at how much it shrinks)

kitchen shears (to cut the spinach into small pieces after it is cooked—long spinach is a choking hazard)

Saute’ onions in oil and butter over medium heat, until caramelized (lightly brown-this will make them even more sweeter). Add your fresh spinach, and mix well, until it is wilted, and shrunken in size. At this point, start cutting your spinach into very small pieces. Add the rest of your ingredients, EXCEPT THE WATER AND CORN STARCH, and mix well until everything is melted together, and smooth. Now, you can add the cornstarch mixture (that will look like milk). This will thicken your dip VERY quickly. If it is too thick, add about 1/4 cup of water a time to thin out. If it is too thin, add about 1/4 cup COLD water at a time, mixed with about 1 teaspoon of cornstarch. Once the desired thickness is reached, you are done !!! Remove from heat, let cool a bit, and enjoy, or freeze in small batches or one large one !!!

The Fresh Spinach and Artichoke Dip

The Fresh Spinach and Artichoke Dip

The Fresh Spinach and Artichoke Dip

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