Friday, October 3, 2014

The BEST Spinach Artichoke Dip!

I get really down in the dumps when I find a great looking recipe, go to the store and buy all of the ingredients, stand on my head to figure out how to actually make the silly thing, and then take my first bite and it is totally underwhelming!  This happens quite a bit actually... maybe because I'm overly critical of the things that come out of my kitchen or maybe because after the hours it takes to make the dish it just seems like it should taste better.  Who knows. :-)  If anyone out there tells you that everything they make is to die for then either I'm going to call their bluff OR I may just throw in the towel, go move in with them, and just let them cook for me everyday. Not a bad idea, huh?

The point is that I have TONS of kitchen flops, dishes that just don't taste as great as they sounded, and straight up kitchen disasters.

I've been searching for a spinach artichoke recipe for years and have made several in the past. Until now I would always make the recipe and then wish I would have bought the TGI Fridays frozen dip because it was cheaper, easier, and WAY BETTER.

When I found this recipe by Ree Drummond (aka. The Pioneer Woman and one of my all time kitchen/life heroes) I knew it would be good!   However, I was wrong.  It isn't good- it is TO DIE FOR! The recipe is easy, so worth it, and will leave your kitchen smelling heavenly.

In fact, I just ate spinach artichoke dip for breakfast. Don't judge me.

Spinach Artichoke Dip
6 Tablespoons butter
4 Tablespoons minced garlic
1 bag spinach
Salt and pepper (to taste)
2 cans artichoke hearts (rinsed and drained)
3 Tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cup whole milk
1 package (8oz) cream cheese
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
3/4 cup grated pepper jack cheese
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

extra grated pepper jack cheese
pita bread or roasted garlic triscuits

1. Open cans of artichoke hearts, rinse them, and set them aside in a strainer.

2. Over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons of butter.  Add 4 tablespoons of garlic and allow this to cook for 2-3 minutes.  Turn the heat up to HIGH and dump the bag of spinach into the skillet.  (It is going to look like it won't fit but it will wilt down really quickly). Sauté until the spinach is soft and turns dark green. Remove from skillet but leave as much of the garlic butter in the skillet as you can.

3. Turn heat back down to medium.  Add the artichoke hearts the same skillet with the remaining garlic butter from the spinach.  Let them simmer in the garlic butter until they start to turn golden brown. This will take 7-10 minutes. Stir them often.  At this point your kitchen will smell heavenly.  Once brown and once most of the water has evaporated, remove the artichoke hearts and set them on a plate.

4.  In a medium size sauce pan add the additional 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Allow butter to melt and then add 3 tablespoons of flour. This should form a paste. Stir continuously and allow this to cook for 1-2 minutes. Add 1 1/2 whole milk and stir until it thickens.  (This will take a few minutes but make sure you are stirring constantly and watching it.  It goes from very thin to very thick almost instantly).

5. Now add your cheese!  1 block cream cheese + 1/2 C feta + 1/2 C grated parm + 3/4 C pepper jack
Stir until all of the cheese is melted.  Add 1/4 teaspoon cayenne. Remove from heat and set aside.

6. Chop cooked spinach and artichoke into small pieces and add to cheese mixture.

7. Pour into oven safe baking dish. Top with a bit more pepper jack cheese. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.  I turned my oven to broil at the end to get a nice bubbly brown top.

Serve with toasted pita bread or garlic roasted triscuits.

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