Heart Warming

By Angela Denstad Stigeler

 

For a short month, February is full of heartwarming holidays and observances – from Groundhog Day and the first thoughts of spring to Random Acts of Kindness Week and Valentines Day. But since winter weather is still likely to give us the chills, its good to keep some cool weather food on hand to warm you up on the inside. For me, fewer things could be better right now–after those valentine sweets – than a warm, hearty and savory spread. This one is an old favorite, chock full of artichokes and creamy spinach that gets slathered atop crispy bread. More of a luxurious side dish than a dip, I cut back on some of the richer ingredients and often double up on the artichokes, the real heart of the matter. To make a full meal of it, you could even bake it atop a round of pizza dough. And though fresh spring spinach and baby artichokes are still far away, you can take heart that this recipe is reliant on canned and frozen vegetables, nevertheless perfect together. Once you warm some hearts, find some friends to share the meal for a truely heartwarming experience.

 

Spinach Artichoke Dip

 

1/2  cup  mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup  freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese

14 ounces drained artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped

10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed to drain

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

salt to taste

toasted baguette slices or assorted crackers for serving

 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl combine the mayonnaise and sour cream. Stir in the cheeses, the artichokes, spinach, pepper and salt to taste. Stir until well combined. Turn the mixture out into a one-quart casserole dish and bake until spotty golden and bubbling, 35-45 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving with the toasted bread and crackers.

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