I love food. I love to make and eat food - new recipes every week. One of my very favorite foods - top 5 at least - is Spinach Artichoke dip. The first time I tasted this was in college, and my roommate Kristi's parents took all of us out to eat at TGI Fridays. I fell in love. While Andrew and I were engaged, I always bought and heated up the frozen Friday's dip. Totally unhealthy, but so delicious that I could easily eat the whole pan by myself.
Our first year of marriage, we hosted a Christmas party with all our neighbors, and I went all out on planning the food. I found a recipe in a Kraft magazine for Spinach Artichoke dip, and I knew my time had come to make my own dip. I made it, and even after quadrupling the amount of cheese it called for, it still wasn't the best ever.
When we moved here to Washington, I started having playgroups with Melanie and Marelize. At one such gathering, Melanie made THE spinach-artichoke dip. The one that changed my life and the way I felt about dips in general. It was the BEST I have ever tasted. I forced her to make it for me several times, and at last, like a bird learning to fly, I made it on my own. For last year's Christmas party.
And then again last week as a thank-you to Neal Minetto for babysitting my kids. But really, I shouldn't have given it away. This dip is sacred. It is incredibly cheesy, salty, garlicky, and delicious. Perfection, really. You MUST make this dip. Serve it with tortilla chips or bread, or, heck. Just eat it straight out of the pan. I know you'll want to.
The Best Spinach Artichoke Dip EVER
1 8-oz. package cream cheese (at room temp)
1/4 c. light sour cream
2-3 wedges of Laughing Cow cheese
1/2 c. grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/4 c. grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 c. mayonnaise
1 Tbsp., heaping, of minced garlic
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1 14-oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
1/2 c. chopped spinach (if you use the frozen kind, make sure to squeeze out all the excess water)
sea salt and pepper to taste
Cream together cheeses, mayo, garlic, basil, garlic salt, and lemon juice. (I just mash and stir with a big spoon until it's farily smooth.) Add chopped artichoke hearts and spinach. Mix well until blended. This can be stored in the fridge until ready to use - great to make ahead. Spray 8 x 8 pan with non-stick spray, pour in dip and smooth. Top with extra mozzarella cheese until the top is satisfyingly cheesy. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until edges are golden brown and cheese is bubbly. Let cool enough that you don't scald your tongue, and then dive right in.
p.s. I know that picture is absolutely horrible. It makes the dip look revolting. But it was the best I could do at the time. And I know I'm one of those people who is bad at posting pics, so I trying to improve on that, at least. I promise it's way better than that dark picture makes it look.
p.p.s. Thank you Melanie, for giving me the recipe and improving the quality of life of any and all who may taste this dip.