Sunday, September 16, 2012

Baked Spinach Dip

Baked Spinach Dip in a Sourdough Bread Bowl

This is an absolute favorite of mine. How can you go wrong with spinach dip? No matter what, there's a 98% chance that it's going to be amazingly delicious. And it's relatively easy to make! The hardest part about this dip is hollowing out the bread bowl, I still haven't mastered it. I just like to look at it in the way that, because I haven't mastered it...I must need more practice and therefore must bake my spinach dip more often. Practice makes perfect right? I really looked forward to writing this blog, mainly because I needed more pictures to post as I write my entry.

This pic up there ^^ is from last Thanksgiving. I only took the picture of the finished product. Don't worry, I made this last night for my buddy, we were having one of our epic wine nights. It's fairly simple, he brings a couple bottles of wine and I make food and then we just hang out. It's mellow and low key, but always so much fun. Not to mention my brother and roommate enjoy getting in on some of the food if they're around the house. When I told my friend that I was making this spinach dip he asked how he got so lucky to have both my baked bread bowl spinach dip and creamy baked mac n cheese (yes I figured it out from my Boston trip, I'll write that entry soon). My level of awesomeness rose in his eyes.

OK so there's a couple different ways to do this recipe too, which is fantastic because with either version the result is ooey-gooey yummy goodness!

2 packages cream cheese (8oz each), softened
1 cup mayo (I personally hate mayo but it works with this recipe)
1 package (10 oz)  frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 can (8oz) water chestnuts, drained and chopped (or you can sub about 1/2 cup chopped white onion)
5 bacon strips, crumbled (or you can use bacon bits, and put in as much as you want really)
1 green onion chopped
2 teaspoons dill weed
1 garlic clove, minced (or about 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder...b/c I like that extra garlic flavor)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper (or more if that's your thing)
1 round sourdough loaf (make sure it's unsliced)

 I was insanely organized this time when making this dip. I know I surprised even myself. First things first, take the cream cheese out of the fridge about 15-20 minutes before you start, this will allow it to soften up and make it easier to beat. And you can use either regular or the light version. I used the light version last night and couldn't even tell the difference in taste so if you want to save yourself some calories go for it!

The next thing I did was chop up the water chestnuts and green onion. For the water chestnuts I used La Choy, you can find them in the Asian section of your grocery store most of the time.

Next up is that spinach. It's frozen so I put mine in the fridge about 6 hours before I was going to make this. Yeah, that wasn't long enough. So I popped it in the microwave for a couple minutes and that did the trick. Squeeze out as much of the water as possible. I usually spread the spinach out on a few paper towels and roll it up then squeeze the life (and water) out of it. Resulting in this -->

There we go, that's the prep work for this dip. Well, the dip part of the dip anyways. Putting this together is fairly easy.

Feel free to preheat the oven now to either 375 or 350 depending on if you're doing 1 big bowl or 2 smaller ones. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand take the cream cheese and put it in a large bowl.

Next, put the 1 cup of mayo into the bowl...

Take an electric hand mixer and beat the cream cheese and mayo together until it's smooth like so...

Here is when I put the hand mixer away and grab just a regular mixing spoon, since the cream cheese/mayo is soft it doesn't take a lot of effort to stir in the remaining ingredients so it won't kill your hand/arm if you mix it together by hand.

I like to add in the spinach next and mix it in before I add the rest of the stuff.


Water chestnuts, green onion, and the cheddar cheese go into the mix. Followed up by...

BACON!!!! I just used Hormel real bacon bits this time. It's a lot of work to cook just 5 pieces of bacon and these taste pretty delicious anyways so I save myself that trouble.

OK now, we gotta add in the spices...

Dill Weed, Black Pepper, Garlic Powder (or a garlic clove),
and Seasoning Salt
Mix it all up until everything is well blended. There shouldn't be any huge chunks of spinach or cheese, it should all be evenly distributed and mixed in. Now, you could just eat it like this. It's delicious, but warm spinach dip is just too good to pass up, right?

Hello, delicious.

Alright, put that aside for just a few minutes and grab that sourdough bread bowl! So I usually get one big round loaf of sourdough bread. Unfortunately my grocery store was out of them yesterday, so I compromised and bought 2 smaller sourdough bread loaves. I think I may even like doing it this way better, instead of having everyone crowd around one bowl, you can have two!

So here are my two "mini" loaves. They're still a good size, so maybe I should call them medium loaves, not mini.

Slice off the top of the loaves, but don't discard them you'll still need them. But only slice off the top inch or so, you need to have enough of the loaf to create a decent bowl. I probably cut off a little too much of this bowl up there ^^

To hollow out the bread bowl, take a serrated knife and cut around the edge, leaving about a 1/2 inch layer of bread. You don't want to break the crust of the bread because then you'll end up with dip leaking out while it bakes. Now what I usually do is try to angle the knife a bit so I can pull the middle chunk up and out from the loaf.

Then take the knife and cut away at the rest of the insides of the bowl until it's completely hollowed out only leaving a thin layer (about half an inch) around the edges. I use my hands to scrap away at the bread. I also try to cut the big middle chunk out nicely so I can cube the bread and use it for dipping later.

These smaller loaves made it easier to hollow out. So maybe I've solved my bread hollowing issue from the past.

So now you'll either have 1 large bread bowl, or 2 smaller bread bowls. Either way we're good! Now that oven is preheated, right? When I make 1 large bowl I preheat my oven to 375 degrees. Last night since the bowls were smaller I preheated the oven to 350 degrees.

Next step is to fill those bowls up with the yummy, yummy dip!

Then put the "lids" back on the bowls...or bowl depending on how you're doing this.

Drooling yet? If you're not you should be. I am, actually I'm super excited because I have left overs that I'm going to eat as I watch some football today. AZ Cardinals need to step it up currently...

Anyways, wrap the loaves separately (or just the one loaf/bowl) in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet.

Pop them in the oven now!!! For 1 large bowl bake it at 375 for 1 hour (60 minutes, yes I know it's a long time to wait for dip. But fear not. It's worth it.) OR for 2 smaller bowls bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

I like to serve this dip with the cubed sourdough from the inside of the loaves, wheat thins, carrot sticks, celery sticks, plain ruffles potato chips...anything really that's the beauty of this dip!

Voila! It's ready!! Feel free to wrap up any extras and reheat them in the oven the next day...if there are any leftovers that is. If there are, just reheat in the oven at 350 until everything is warm. Keep it wrapped in foil as you reheat though.

Hope you enjoy this as much as I do, and anyone who's been lucky enough to eat it with me!
'Til Next Time!!

1 comment:

  1. OMG! Looks Delicious. Getting ingredients, ready...go!