Friday, April 19, 2013

Baked Potatoes with Spinach Artichoke Sauce

Growing up in the Bay Area, artichokes are a way of life.

We had them steamed, grilled, fried, pureed and made into soups.

Then came the 90's fad of making a decadent, calorie ridden, but oh so yummy DIP. Ergo...Spinach Artichoke Dip.

Mostly served heated and you dip into it's gooey, cheesy goodness with bread, bagel or pita chips. So good, but an artery clogger for sure.


I grew up scraping my teeth on those petals and fighting over the heart (the tender part of the stem is delicious as well). And when I lived down in the Monterey area we were right in Artichoke Mecca. Our relatives welcomed our visits because we would come with bags of artichokes from Castroville. ( I like to think they enjoyed seeing US, but maybe it was just the artichokes??)

Skreeeech................fast forward to here in the Midwest. Most people here in the Heartland don't even know what an artichoke is??? (I know, say whaaaat?) Let alone how to prepare or eat it. Since California produces nearly 100% of the artichokes grown in the U.S., I guess that's pretty understandable.

Buying them fresh in the grocery store isn't a good alternative either. By the time they make it out here, they're no longer firm and fresh, plus they charge a small each fortune for each one.

But since I found a Trader Joe's an hour away, we make a concerted effort to stock up whenever we're there. One of their products that I love is Frozen artichoke hearts, so much better than canned.


Which leads me to tonight's dinner. In a nod to the Spinach Artichoke Dip craze I made....

Baked Potato with Spinach Artichoke Sauce

 

So while this sauce is similar to the dip, and it is (without the mayo, though); fortunately this is just as savory and tasty but has no where near as many calories. 

Baked potatoes are just one vehicle for it, you could pour it over pasta, bake it over chicken breasts or pork chops, just eat it like a dip, or serve it on an old boot, they all work! (wink, wink).



 Ingredients:
4 Large Russet Potatoes, scrubbed, rubbed with oil and sprinkled with sea salt. 
12 oz. package of frozen Artichoke Hearts, rinsed and drained
9 oz. box of frozen chopped Spinach, thawed and squeezed of all liquid
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 garlic clove, microplane grated or minced finely
2 cups chicken broth
4 oz. Neuchatel or low fat Cream Cheese
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
pinch of Black Pepper
pinch of Red Pepper flakes (opt.)

Directions:
  1. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet in a 400F oven, prick with a fork once, each and bake until tender. About an hour. 
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large sauce pan and add garlic, cooking for 1 minute. 
  3. Add in flour and whisk and cook for another 1-2 minutes. 
  4. Add in broth and whisk, once it starts to heat and thicken, whisk in Neuchatel cheese. 
  5. Then add in Parmesan cheese, Spinach and Artichoke hearts. Add in Pepper and Chile flakes if using. Stir to combine and keep warm on lowest possible heat. 
  6. Split open potatoes and ladle about a cup of sauce over each.
Enjoy












This recipe is shared on:
The Country Cook
Love and Laundry
The Best Blog Recipes
 Kitchen Fun and Crafty Friday
What's Shakin'
Foodie Friends Friday
Foodie Friday @ Designs by Gollum
Friday Favorites @ Simply Sweet Home
Foodie Friends Friday @ Busy Vegetarian Mom
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What am I eating@Townsend House
A Bouquet of Talent
Strut Your Stuff
Sundae Scoop
 Your Great Idea
Weekend Potluck @ Sunflower Supper Club
Saturday Show and Tell @ Cheerios and Lattes
Saturday Spotlight @ Angels Homestead
 Busy Monday
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Martha Monday's Link Party@Watch Out, Martha!
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Mix it up Monday @ Flour Me with Love
Mealtime Monday @ Couponing and Cooking
Melt in Your Mouth Monday @ Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms
My Meatless Mondays @ My Sweet and Savory
All My Bloggy Friends @ Love Bakes Good Cakes
Make The Scene Monday@Alderberry Hill
Clever Chicks Blog Hop@The Chicken Chick