cheesy artichoke & spinach dip

Probably the most asked for and popular of my (semi) homemade dishes ever, thats right its Spinach Dip in a Bread Bowl baby!! I’ve made this appetizer over a dozen times and not once has there been leftovers or even tiny morsels of any aspect leftover to nibble on. Unless of course I make a specific second helping for post party purposes only. Why is this dip so delicious?? Well why don’t you ask my friends and family and I’m sure they’ll gladly tell you, it’s simply the best! Actually every time it gets a little better than the last most scrumptious, salty, yeah maybe not so healthy but who cares if you splurge every once in a while appetizer that is sure to please a crowd of 3 or 13!

This time I had made the dish for a small family get together along with another appetizer I am notorious for, my 7-layer dip, actually consisting of 7 layers by the way. I thought both apps would steadily be picked at but I was oh so wrong. Lets just say there was half of the 7-layer dip, which I will save for another post, left when all that remained on the other end of the table was an empty bread bowl with remnants of what looked to be some type of dip containing spinach and cheese.

My secret weapon for this awesomely savory concoction? 1 packet of Knorr’s Vegetable Soup Mix!! Pretty simple if you just follow the instructions on the back. Like I said, the dip gets better and better each time I make it and this time was no exception. I have most recently added artichokes, canned yes BUT through trial and error, I’ve learned to only use the artichoke bottoms as those are the most sold and flavorful parts of the artichoke anyways. I find that the hearts or other parts of the artichoke just become too stringy and get in the way of actually enjoying this dip.

To the recipe, I add LOTS of shredded parmesan cheese, Kraft Caesar dressing (because I think it’s the best tasting brand to date and cost friendly), a touch of garlic and Lawry salt and this time I decided to add a new ingredient too. I was aiming for cream cheese to help with the richness but noticed ricotta cheese instead. Now I’ve heard of ricotta used in stuffed shells and even in some sweet treats so I thought why not? Bottom line, you can never have too much cheese period.

My appetizer came out awesome as usual. I tend to buy a white round loaf because I’m only partial to sourdough bread bowls combined with some hearty clam chowda, also will save for another blog post, however any type of bread you prefer will work just fine. I combine all ingredients and let sit for a bit just so it won’t take as long in the oven. I hollow out the bread, still leaving a thick layer to securely hold all the dip. I like to use the top and inside of the bowl along with tortilla strips to serve with the dip. The first time I place the bread bowl in the oven to heat, I add a nice layer of parm cheese on top. Depending on time, size and oven temp, I usually give it about 20 mins or so then take out the bread, mix the dip around to make sure it’s evenly getting all nice and warm, and yet again adding another sprinkling of parm cheese on top. This time I place the pieces of bread along with the bowl all in one pan and place it back in the oven for about another 20 or so minutes.

Dip taste and texture with newly added ingredient: A+
Baking Time: A+, there was a nice golden brown touch to everything and nothing was burned which is always a big thumbs up
Travel Factor: A, I wrapped the bread bowl with a few layers of foil and threw the pieces of bread in a ziploc bag, I should have wrapped the baked pieces in foil too just to keep them warm as well

This bowl of dip is festive, fun and flavorful. You can never go wrong with the bread and cheese combo, all other ingredients are just added bonuses. I give myself a big pat on the back for this successful recipe and looking forward to making it again real soon!

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