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Thursday, 17 August 2017

Spinach Artichoke Dip - easy & chilled!

A new family favorite!!! I based this tasty spinach artichoke dip off a yummy rendition I had while visiting Lunenberg, Nova Scotia.  The restaurant there served a light, fluffy, and chilled spinach artichoke dip that we loved (although it tasted like they used mascarpone cheese in lieu (or perhaps in addition to) cream cheese, where I used only cream cheese here. If you have mascarpone about, add in a dollop!   I was inspired to recreate something similar because it was just too delicious and perfect on a hot summer (or any time of year) day not to be able to eat regularly.  I had to post this recipe, because my mom has big plans to make it again tomorrow.  Enjoy!
Fresh, homemade spinach artichoke dip.  The left was whipped until light and smooth, the right is a chunkier version (just not blended as long).  Yum!

Spinach Artichoke Dip
Makes enough for two dipping bowls (2-3 cups of dip)

In a large pot with a lid, cook over high heat:
1 package fresh spinach
1/4 - 1/3 cup water

Steam just until spinach has wilted, then remove from heat.  Let spinach cool slightly before blending with other ingredients.

In a blender, whip together:
~3/4 cup artichoke hearts, marinated in oil (removed from oil)
1 cup steamed spinach, drained (from above)
4 oz plain cream cheese (or a mix of mascarpone & cream cheese)
1 cup grated pepper jack cheese (monterey jack w/ hot peppers) 
1/4 - 1/2 cup heavy/whipping cream (to desired thickness - you can use milk, but I like the texture from the cream)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground pepper
dash cayenne powder
1/4 - 1/2 tsp paprika
2 cloves roasted garlic (OR 1/2 tsp dried garlic powder OR 1 clove fresh garlic)

You can blend this only slightly to keep it chunkier, or you can let it really whip to create a light, fluffy dip reminiscent of the texture of hummus.   Personally, I prefer letting it really blend until it's smooth, light, and fluffy.

This spinach-artichoke dip is perfect served with corn tortilla chips or fresh homemade GF naan bread (our favorite!).  Enjoy!

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Chicken Saag Pizza!

Leftover homemade chicken saag is wonderful on homemade pizza crusts (GF or otherwise), topped with a little mozzarella, goat cheese & fresh sliced shallots.  The saag is rich, so you can use just a light sprinkling of toppings and cheese.  Not only do you get to have chicken saag again (yum!), but you'll turn an ordinary pizza into an extraordinary one!  Enjoy!
Chicken Saag Pizza
GF Chicken Saag Pizza, topped and ready for the oven! 

I've found that for GF pizzas, it's often best to bake toppings on partially or fully baked GF pizza crusts to avoid any sogginess and to end up with a nice browned, crispy crust.

Our current favorite crust has been to use GF homemade naan bread as our crust.  Just make and bake as instructed, removing the naan bread/pizza crusts from the pan and parchment paper to cool once it comes out of the oven.  When you're ready to top the pizza, then return the naan bread to the parchment-lined baking pan and top with the following:

Chicken Saag, warmed a bit and used as the pizza sauce
fresh mozzarella, sliced
shallots, thinly sliced
green scallions, thinly sliced
crumbled feta cheese
thin tomato slices, optional (the ones pictured here were tiny yellow tomatoes)
green bell pepper, optional
red cayenne pepper flakes, optional

Once you're pizzas are topped, bake in the oven at 450 F for ~7 minutes, until toppings are hot and cheese is just beginning to brown.   (Some GF crusts require baking directly on the rack, others, like the GF naan bread, can be baked on a parchment-lined pan - follow the instructions of your crust).
Chicken Saag Pizza
A yummy chicken saag pizza, fresh out of the oven and ready to eat! 

Slice pizza and place immediately on a cooling rack to keep the bottom nice and crispy. Enjoy!