toaster oven recipes// baked spinach artichoke dip

welcome to the first installation [of what I hope will be many] of: toaster oven recipes.

many of you know that in a previous life I was an avid baker, and even had a blog full of sweets + recipes. then a few things hapened: I became gluten intolerant and I moved to Taiwan, without all my kitchen gadgets.

so what is a toaster oven recipe? these recipes will include things that I bake - yes - in my toaster oven. but also things you can make with a simply equipped kitchen. the tools I have at my disposal will be all that are needed. namely: gas burners, a microwave, a crock pot, and of course the toaster oven. no fancy gadgets and no rare ingredients.

most of the measurements won't be precise. I do own a measuring cup, but not measuring spoons. I use literal teaspoons and tablespoons. if something is too dry, I add more liquid. if I'm short an egg, I improvise. one time I made pie crust using a cheese grater to cut the butter and a wine bottle as a rolling pin. [100% serious] this may not be the best way to communicate a recipe... but this is what life in my expat kitchen is like.

I hope that you will be able to enjoy these recipes in your own home, though they may require some experimentation on your part. but that, my friends, is the true joy of cooking.

ok, let's talk spinach artichoke dip. there are 456,874 other recipes out there on the internet. but once upon a time I had the. best. recipe. given to me as a christmas gift. it was a handwritten copy and if it still exists at all, it's taped inside the cover of one of my cookbooks packed away with the rest of my kitchen back in the states. I could NOT find this recipe online anywhere, so I did my best to recreate it from memory.

8oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded mozzerella
1 cup shredded parmesan
1/2 cup mayonaise
16 oz can artichoke hearts, chopped
12 oz frozen spinach, defrosted
2 cloves fresh garlic
paprika, nutmeg
salt + pepper to taste

let me state loud and clear that this is NOT a healthy version of this recipe. I found plenty that called for greek yogurt or even pureed white beans, but if I'm going to eat spinach dip it's going to be the good [aka the really bad for you] stuff.

start by mixing together your cream cheese, mayo, minced garlic and spices. I never measure spices, but I would guess about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of paprika and nutmeg each. you could also use garlic powder if you don't have fresh on hand. then mix in your shredded cheeses.

we actually buy our spinach fresh here and freeze it ourselves... so I'm guessing I used about the same as your standard box of frozen spinach. if you want more spinach, just add more. I like to crunch up the spinach while it's still frozen to break it into smaller pieces. defrost your spinach in the microwave, squeeze it dry between paper towel, and add to the mixture.

chop your artichoke hearts into bits as big or small as you like and add to the mixture as well. canned or marinated in a jar will both work. spread the dip into a glass baking dish. the dip will melt best if it's about 1 inch thick, so use a larger dish or split into two smaller dishes if you need to. you can cover the dip at this point and keep in the fridge overnight, just let it sit at room temp for a while before popping in the oven.

bake the dip at 350F/175C until the cheese is melted and it's nice and bubbly. mine took 20-30 minutes in the toaster oven. if the top starts to get too brown you can cover it with foil for a bit.

I made this dip for our superbowl brunch and even my friend's cat, Blanca, couldn't resist.

[and I couldn't resist sharing this beautiful fuzzball. can you tell I miss my cats? anyway...]

spinach artichoke dip is one of my favorites, and this recipe is full of creamy melty and garlicky goodness. serve the dip with tortilla chips or pita crisps and watch it disappear. leftovers can be reheated in the microwave... if you have any, that is.


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