Friday, December 30, 2011

Cheesy Spinach Artichoke Mini-Cups (and Dip!)

Every time I go out to eat with my family, we have a debate over what kind of appetizer to get, or whether to get one at all. I usually argue that the kids (i.e. myself) are hungry and need something to eat while we wait forever for our meals. My husband usually argues that they can wait 10 minutes for a meal and can color while they wait. Usually, he wins. My cheap, money-saving self can't fathom spending another eight or nine dollars on something that is deep fried or too spicy to handle. However, when I do win, we almost always get Spinach Artichoke Dip.

The ones in the store usually come surrounded by tortilla chips or pita bread, sometimes with a couple of carrot sticks. And they are delicious. And cheesy. And gooey. I seriously love the stuff. So I came up with a recipe that I like a lot, and is super easy to make. Just mix and bake. Nothing to it. On Christmas Eve, I tried making the dip as a finger food so I put it in crescent roll cups and it was a hit. It was easy to make and even easier to eat (because we all know dipping crackers into a dip is hard work).
Don't they look delicious? They are made in your mini muffin tin so they are the perfect bite size appetizer!
Throw your thawed spinach and chopped artichoke hearts into the bowl. The best way to drain your spinach, for me, is to use a potato ricer. It squeezes out the water but keeps the spinach in the cup. It's quick too. And you can use any artichoke hearts that you want. Canned ones are just fine, jarred ones that are in a marinade will give you more flavor but it isn't a big deal.
Throw in your cream cheese (soften it in the microwave for about 20 seconds), you garlic and your cheeses and mix, mix, mix!
Take your rolled out crescent rolls and cut each rectangle into 6 squares (above I have two rectangles still stuck together, so mine are in 12 squares). They don't have to be even!
Spray your mini muffin tin and lightly press your squares in.
Fill with your spinach artichoke mixture.
Bake and voila! Beautiful :)

Cheesy Spinach Artichoke Mini-cups
by Carissa- Girls in Aprons

1 package (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained well
1 can or jar artichoke hearts, chopped well
1- 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise (lite is fine)
1 cup shredded mozzarella or Italian blend
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
2-3 cloves garlic
2 tubes crescent rolls

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a mini muffin tin.

Combine all the ingredients together (except the crescent rolls) until combined well. Set aside. Open the crescent rolls and separate into four rectangles. Pinch the seams together, then cut the rectangles into 6 equal portions (one cut lengthwise, two cuts perpendicular to that to form six squares). Lightly press the squares into the mini muffin tin. Fill the crescent squares with the spinach artichoke dip. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until cresents are golden brown. Let cool slightly before removing to a plate.

This recipe makes 48 mini cups. You can make all 48, or you can use just one cresent roll package and make 24, then use the rest as a regular dip.

**To make a regular dip (using half or the whole recipe) just place the dip mixture into an oven safe casserole dish (a pie plate or 8"-9" square casserole dish work great) and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees, or until heated through. I like to serve this dip with Wheat Thins or Ritz Crackers. Tortilla chips also work great.

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