I feel like this time of the year we are inundated with social obligations.
There’s the work holiday parties, the secret Santa night at a friend’s house, and of course the family holiday dinners. I get so excited to be around loved ones, but hate what it does for my midsection. It’s about this time of year that words like “spare tire” and “muffin top” start looming into my subconscious.
I start noticing the uncomfortable tightness of my clothes starting right after Thanksgiving. By the time January rolls around, I’ve always got the same resolution: “BUTTON YOUR JEANS!”. (Okay so maybe that should be a daily goal instead of a yearly resolution, but I’m working on it!)
It’s so hard though, isn’t it?
There’s so much temptation around this time of year (My apple pie post is one perfect example. Although, luckily the pie isn’t too bad on the hips). At any given holiday party, there’s a cheese log to your left, a crab dip to your right and someone’s 7-layer dip directly in your line of vision. So, why am I depressing you (and myself) with this talk?
Because I’ve found a healthier alternative…. C’mon you knew that answer before you read it!
Spinach Artichoke Dip!
Now don’t get me wrong, you DO NOT want to order this when you’re out at a restaurant. It’s probably going to be one of the unhealthiest things on the menu. The typical spinach artichoke dip will come close to your 2,000-calorie mark in that one appetizer alone.
In researching spinach artichoke dips for this post, I found most of the recipes sickening. Mainly because the majority of them call for heavy cream, sour cream, butter, or up to 2 cups of mayonnaise in one recipe!
Both spinach and artichokes are packed with tons of nutrients. They’re both low calorie and essentially fat free foods that provide protein, fiber, iron, and act as powerful antioxidants helping to lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and improve memory…. So, let’s aid all this this by adding heavy cream, mayonnaise, butter, and sour cream! What?!
Okay okay okay. I’m stepping down off my soap box now. Back to the point.
This revamped recipe is a healthy alternative to most you’ll find out there. However, it does have cheese in it (hey—you win some, you lose some). Even with the cheese, it still cuts out a lot of the artery clogging, button popping ingredients that most recipes call for though.
AND your colleagues/friends/family won’t know the difference because it still maintains that creamy texture of the typical dish.
Now who doesn’t want to try a healthy, delicious, impressive, and easy appetizer?
Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cook Time: 30 minutes | Total Time: 35 minutes
Yields: ~2 1/2 cups
2 tbsp water
5 oz baby spinach, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup fat free Greek yogurt
6.5 oz jar artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
¼ cup parmesan cheese, shredded
¼ cup mozzarella, + 1 tbsp reserved for topping, shredded
¼ cup reduced fat cream cheese
1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Sauté spinach and garlic with 2 tbsp water uncovered over medium heat X 2-3 minutes, or until wilted. Drain out any excess water.
3. In a separate bowl, combine remainder of ingredients and mix well. Stir in spinach and garlic and top with 1 tbsp shredded mozzarella if desired.
4. Bake in oven X 30 minutes or until golden brown.
The Cook’s 2 Cents:
· My oven is a bit temperamental. It usually takes me 30 minutes to cook it. However, if you see the cheese bubbling and browning before this time, it means it’s done (and that my oven isn’t working properly).
· A lot of people use oil when sautéing spinach. You don’t need it! Spinach has a very high water content that will help it to cook. No need to put excess liquid in the pan only to squeeze it out later. (Especially if that excess liquid is fat!)
Servings Per Recipe: 10
Serving Size: 1/4 cup
Calories: 44 Fat: 2g Sodium: 160mg Carbs: 4g Fiber: 1g Sugars: 1g Protein: 4g