Some nights your dinner plans just sound a bit dull. Every Sunday I make my menu plan for the week, and then make my shopping list off of that. I try very hard to stick to the plan (after all it is written in very permanent chalk on the menu board in my kitchen). I enjoy planning ahead like this because it takes a bit of stress off of each day, I already know what's in store, and I can shop more efficiently. I normally stick pretty strictly to my menu, but sometimes, I wake up, and that chalkboard stares me in the face, and I am just not in the mood for whatever it tells me I am having for dinner. Last night was one of those nights. Luckily, I didn't really have much purchased for the "planned" dinner, since it involved taking meat out of the freezer, which I hadn't yet done, and soup which I had already made, so changing the direction this time didn't throw me too off.
I was wandering around Trader Joes yesterday (as I often do), just looking at everything, and my eye got caught on a jar of artichokes. I actually don't love artichokes, but I know my husband does, and for some reason these little guys inspired me. So, I decided to make a cheesy, dairy, spinach & artichoke dip to go with the soup that I already had. Boy am I glad I did! The dip definitely took the stage, (sorry, sad soup!) And it brought me back to childhood. It was rich, creamy, heartwarming and absolutely delicious! This dish seriously took minutes to prepare, and works as a low carb or keto meal or dish, but could also be adapted as a low fat dish (by simply replacing the cream cheese with fat free, and the sour cream with fat free).
I ate my portion with baby carrots, (if you are trying to do the low carb thing), it would have also been great with sliced cucumbers, celery, a spoon... really anything. And for my husband, I made mini crostinis using the Trader Joe's baguette. When I was younger I would eat a dip just like this with corn tortilla chips, and that worked pretty well as well. We definitely ate way too much of it, but this is something you are going to want to try, and try again... and again.
BAKED CREAMY SPINACH & ARTICHOKE DIP
8 oz cream cheese (not whipped)
3/4 C shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 C sour cream
1/8 C freshly shredded parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp crushed garlic
1 12oz jar marinated artichokes (drained) -- I used Trader Joes
14 oz frozen chopped spinach (again, I used Trader Joes)
salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 300F
Place cream cheese and mozzarella cheese in a microwave safe bowl, or pot, and heat until melted
(Remove from heat)
Add in sour cream
Add in parmesan cheese
Add in garlic
Drain artichokes and slice (not finely chopped, but more to separate the pieces)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Mix until all ingredients are combined
Scoop into a baking dish, using a spatula
Grate a bit more parmesan cheese on top
Bake for about 45 minutes - until bubbly
Once hot and bubbling through, turn the oven up to 400 and allow the top to brown a little
Serve warm with whatever dipping devices you desire, and enjoy!