Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Slow Cooker Spinach Artichoke Dip

This classic party dip takes minimal effort to make thanks to the slow cooker.

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Slow Cooker Spinach Artichoke Dip

In the last couple of weeks, I started noticing a change in my energy level and my appetite and had hoped I was finally saying goodbye to the lethargy I felt during my first trimester. I started planning meals around seasonal ingredients again (rather than around which take-out menu happened to be on the top of the pile) and made goals to start developing some new recipes for Taste As You Go.

It felt great to be back in the kitchen again. Especially since Stephen has been willing to help with the prep and clean-up every night. But, out of nowhere, my energy has plummeted, my nausea is back, and it has taken some major internal pep talks to convince myself that cooking the dinners I planned was a good idea.

My current state of meh made me realize that I'm going to have to rethink the way I plan our meals each week. It's important to me that Stephen and I are eating healthy, from-scratch meals as much as possible, but I have to face facts -- I'm not always going to have the energy for complicated multi-step dishes. That's when it occurred to me that I can create the meals I want with minimal effort by doing one simple thing -- using our slow cooker on a more regular basis.

Slow-Cooker-Spinach-Artichoke-Dip-tasteasyougo.com
Slow Cooker Spinach Artichoke Dip

While I still have a bunch of recipes in the to-blog queue, you should probably expect to see more slow cooker recipes from me in the coming months... fitting since, to me, the cooler weather of fall and the bitter cold of winter just scream for slow cooker dishes. To kick things off, I'm sharing my recipe for Slow Cooker Spinach Artichoke Dip that I made months ago.

The dip only requires a handful of ingredients and two hours of cooking, mostly unattended, in the slow cooker... which means that this classic party dip can just simmer away until you're ready to serve it. And, come to think of it, the dip would make a fabulous addition to your menu of fingers foods to snack on while you watch the big game on TV this weekend.

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Shredded Whole Milk Mozzarella

Start with 1 cup of shredded mozzarella. While I used whole milk mozzarella, you can absolutely use part-skim if you prefer.

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Grated Parmesan

Next, you'll want 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan. Freshly grated, if at all possible.

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Cubed Cream Cheese

After you add the grated Parmesan, add an 8-ounce block of cream cheese that has been cubed. The chunks can be of decent size since they'll be cooking down for 2 hours. You just want the pieces to be small enough to help the process along.

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Minced Garlic

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Spinach

Next, add 1 minced garlic clove and 1 box of frozen spinach that has been thawed and drained really well.

Kitchen Tip: I have discovered that our potato ricer comes in extra handy when it's time to squeeze the excess water out of the spinach. Especially if I decided to thaw the spinach in the microwave. Using the potato ricer means I don't have to dirty a dish towel or risk burning my hands.

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Marinated Artichoke Hearts

Then you'll want to add an 8-ounce jar of marinated artichoke hearts that have been drained. If you don't want such large chunks of artichoke in your dip, then feel free to cut the hearts into smaller pieces. And be sure to save the liquid from the jar... You may want to use it throughout the cooking process to help thin out the dip a bit.

Finally, add some salt and pepper to taste and mix everything together. Place the cover on the slow cooker and allow the dip to cook on high for 2 hours. Keep on eye on it, though... the dip has a tendency to dry out while cooking, so you want to check it every now and then to give it a stir and, if desired, to add some of the reserved artichoke liquid.

Slow-Cooker-Spinach-Artichoke-Dip-tasteasyougo.com
Slow Cooker Spinach Artichoke Dip

And voila! In no time at all, your Slow Cooker Spinach Artichoke Dip will be ready to serve with tortilla chips, warm pita bread, crunchy pita chips, thin slices of pumpernickel bread, or even baby carrots! If you're a fan of ordering spinach artichoke dip when you're dining out, then I promise you'll love this version. You'll love it so much, you may never order it out again. ;-)


Slow Cooker Spinach Artichoke Dip

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes | Cook Time: 2 hours | Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes - 2 hours 10 minutes | Printable Recipe

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup shredded whole milk mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, cubed
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 10-ounce box frozen spinach, thawed and drained well
  • 1 8-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained with liquid reserved
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Mix all of the ingredients in your slow cooker's insert until well combined.
  2. Cover the slow cooker and allow the dip mixture to cook on high for 2 hours, checking the mixture periodically to make sure it hasn't started to dry out.
  3. If desired, add some of the reserved artichoke heart marinade liquid to thin the dip to your preferred consistency and texture.
  4. Serve with your choice of accompaniments, including tortilla or pita chips, warm pita bread, thin slices of pumpernickel bread, and baby carrots.
Recipe by Michelle Rittler | Taste As You Go

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