Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Spinach, Artichoke, and White Bean Dip

I don't think you can have too many dip recipes. This is especially true when it comes to the time of the year you spend bouncing from party to party, appetizer plate to appetizer plate, cocktail glass to cocktail glass, calorie. to. calorie. That's why I clipped this recipe from a recent issue of Cooking Light, my favorite magazine for food that tastes great without expanding my waistline. I'm not saying this is a perfect substitution for typical spinach and artichoke dip, but I am saying you can nosh on it while still fitting in those cocktail dresses you're depending on to get you through the party season.

(Displayed in Mini Baker from the Stoneware Collection)

Spinach, Artichoke, and White Bean Dip

1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh pecorino Romano cheese
1/4 cup canola mayonnaise
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (15-ounce) can white beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14-ounce) can baby artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 (9-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, and squeezed dry
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350°

2. Place Romano cheese, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, salt, black pepper, red pepper, minced garlic, and white beans in a food processor, and process until smooth. Spoon into a medium bowl. Stir in the artichokes and spinach. Spoon the mixture into a prepared baking dish, and sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzarella.

3. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until bubbly and brown

This recipe seems pretty straightforward from the directions, but there's actually a lot going on. Start by organizing your spices into a Pinch Bowl, and get that Garlic Press pressing. No peeling the garlic! Here I'm using my Measuring Spoons and the Bamboo Pepper Grinder full of Pampered Pantry Peppercorn Medley.

Frozen spinach annoys me, but it's a lot less annoying when I take care of it with a Stainless Mesh Colander. The mesh in here is fine enough to keep the spinach from getting all over the sink. The rundown here includes the Measure-All Cup for mayonnaise and all other sticky, gross, don't-want-to-touch-that things, the Can Strainer, a 3 1/2" Paring Knife from the Forged Cutlery Collection, Measuring Cups, and the Large Cutting Board.

Can I just say Smooth-Edge Can Opener for the win? Take a look at how this removes the entire lid from the top of the can... no sharp edges, no mess, no lid getting inside the beans... perfection.

The Microplane Adjustable Coarse Grater is the answer to shredded cheese of any kind. By grating your own cheese, you save a lot of money, and you don't have to worry about all that powdery stuff pre-shredded cheese contains to keep it from sticking together.

Artichokes go in the Manual Food Processor for quick chopping before being added to the Classic Batter Bowl where everything's coming together. Did you know the batter bowls go in the oven?

Artichokes, spinach, white bean concoction after being processed. Stir this with the Mix 'n Scraper, top it with cheese, and you're good to go!

The Mini Baker from the Stoneware Collection is the perfect size for this and other dip recipes, and it makes a beautiful presentation right out of the oven.

Enjoy all the parties you're about to hit without the "how much am I gaining?" mentality. Eat what you want, but have small portions. Substitute low-cal items such as this dip when possible, and avoid hanging out near the buffet. Nothing you don't already know, but put it into practice this year. I'll try to do the same.

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