Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Spinach and artichoke dip chicken

As you know, I have a tendency to hoard recipes.  It's not to keep them from other people but to keep them from myself for the time being.  To store them for a rainy hungry day, a dinner party, or some other special occasion.

This is one of those recipes.  I've had it bookmarked for months, waiting for the perfect excuse to reach for it and wow whatever guests we were planning to host.

Am I implying that I haven't had even one opportunity to do so in over 4 months?  Abso-fruit-ly not.  In fact, there have been plenty of occasions when this dish would've wowed everyone who sunk their teeth into it.

But, every single time, something else jumped the line and was suddenly in first place.  Whether it was a themed party or someone's birthday request, I wound up making that other thing that was delicious but was not spinach and artichoke dip chicken.

At last, my birthday week rolled around and gave me the ultimate go-ahead to make this dish -- because I wanted it, gosh darn it!

Spinach and artichoke dip is, without a doubt, my all-time favorite appetizer to order or enjoy just about anywhere.  I have my favorites (i.e. Cheesecake Factory) and least favorites (i.e. Red Lobster), and there are certain qualities crucial to earning a two-thumbs-up rating from this woman.

First, it's gotta be hot; cold, slimy dip is an instant deal breaker.  It's also gotta be intensely cheesy; minimum of three cheeses necessary.  Next, it must be thick and creamy; soupy or oily messes will not be consumed.  Finally, it's gotta be loaded with artichokes and spinach.  I've actually seen versions without a trace of spinach or artichokes.  Fraud!

So, with those strict criteria in mind, I'm happy to say that this recipe is totally worthy of your love!  You can rest easy, now :)

This spinach and artichoke dip chicken not only fed my stomach but my soul, y'all; it turned my favorite snack into a legitimate one-dish meal!

Piping hot and bubbly right out the oven.  Check.  Mozzarella, parmesan, and cream cheeses - all the cheeses!  Check.  Thick and creamy, without guilt, thanks to a surprising combo of non-fat plain Greek yogurt and 1/3 less fat cream cheese.  Check.  Packed with an entire package of spinach, near pound of artichoke hearts, and shallot and garlic for extra zip and deeper flavor.  Check.

Dare I use a word normally reserved for colder months, but it's utter casserole perfection!  Don't make the same mistake I did and delay making this. 

And there's just enough extra dip topping for some dinnertime munching.  Always-sturdy Triscuits (cracked black pepper, natch) and carrots were my dippers of choice.  Have I mentioned my criteria for dipping vehicles?  No?  Don't even get me started...

One year ago: Blueberry muffin oatmeal

Spinach & Artichoke Dip Chicken
(adapted slightly from Iowa Girl Eats)
-serves 6

A few notes: The original recipe called for 6 ounces of cream cheese, but I preferred to simply add the whole 8 ounces.  A little extra cheese never harmed anyone.  Also, I increased the amount of chicken to take advantage of all of the dip topping and make it last a little longer.

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 Tablespoon butter
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Ground black pepper
8 ounces 1/3 fat cream cheese, softened
6 ounces plain Greek yogurt
10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained very well
14 ounce can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut chicken breasts in half (if large) or pound until uniform thickness.  Season both sides with salt and pepper.  Coat a 2 quart baking dish with nonstick spray and arrange chicken breasts in the bottom.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter and add shallots.  Season with salt and pepper and saute until softened, 2 to 3 minutes.  Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds.  Add cream cheese and yogurt, stirring until smooth.  Remove skillet from heat and fold in spinach, artichokes, and half of the parmesan and mozzarella cheeses.

Spoon mixture over chicken and smooth and cover with foil.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove foil and top with remaining cheeses.  Bake 10 to 15 more minutes until cheese is golden brown and bubbly.  Allow dish to rest for 10 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

No comments:

Post a Comment