Sunday, December 6, 2009


With content hearts and tummys, we headed back up the mountain to our hideaway retreat. A major concern with having our Thanksgiving meal out was the absence of leftovers. It was decided that each family would bring a contribution from home for our "leftovers". My Son-In -Law brought a wonderful smoked turkey from a favorite BBQ spot in Georgia, while my Son brought a bottle of Woodford Reserve Bourbon. I did not ask what that contribution was left over from. I provided the appetizers. We settled in for a long wonderful afternoon of football watching, game playing, dog loving, and hot tubing. My Daughter-In-Law's contribution of the game "Apples to Apples" was a tremendous hit. I must say it was one of the most relaxed post Thanksgiving meal days I have had in a very long time.

By far the best appetizer of the day was the light version of the Spinach-Artichoke Dip, that I had found in the Food Network Magazine. Much to my delight it had a whole cup of fresh Basil included in the recipe. We made sweet potatoes chips to use as the dippers and promptly consumed the whole dish! As we watched the sun set over the mountains, I felt a tremendous wave of gratitude for Family, Love, Good Food and yes even all the dogs accompanying us on this journey. Thank you for such a blessed life.

Hot Artichoke-Spinach Dip

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Magazine

Prep Time:
20 min
Inactive Prep Time:
Cook Time:
25 min
12 servings


  • Kosher salt
  • 1 10-ounce bag baby spinach
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil
  • 3/4 cup canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6 ounces Neufchatel cream cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained, squeezed dry and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 or 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • Baked chips, for serving


Preheat the oven to 450. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and prepare a bowl of ice water. Stir the spinach and basil into the boiling water and cook until bright green, about 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and immediately plunge in the ice water. Drain and squeeze dry, then roughly chop.

Puree the beans, cream cheese, garlic and chicken broth in a food processor until smooth, scraping the sides as needed. Transfer to a medium bowl and fold in the spinach and basil, artichokes, parmesan and 1/2 cup mozzarella. Add the cayenne, Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste.

Mist a deep 1-quart casserole dish with cooking spray. Spread the dip mixture in the dish and top with the remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella. Bake until golden and bubbly, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm with baked chips.

Per serving (1/4 cup): Calories 100; Fat 5 g (Saturated 3 g); Cholesterol 19 mg; Sodium 338 mg; Carbohydrate 7 g; Fiber 2 g; Protein 6 g

Photograph by Karl Juengel/Studio

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