Monday, October 12, 2009

Is My Blog Burning???- Mock Spinach Dip & Pumpkin Cookies

I had to fill a couple of cravings over the weekend. Lately, when I've gone to restaurants, the only thing that sounds good is Spinach Artichoke Dip. No, I'm not pregnant. I get on these kicks where I just want the same thing all of the time. Right now, it is spinach artichoke dip and Pumpkin Chai Lattes at Starbucks. Since neither of these things are all that good for me, I decided to try a new low-fat spinach dip recipe. It turned out pretty good, if you ask me. Here is the recipe:

Rockin' Restaurant Spinach Dip
Hungry Girl Cookbook
One 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained thoroughly
2 ounces canned sliced water chestnuts, chopped (gives the crunch that the artichokes would)
4 ounces fat-free block cheese (any kind)- I used regular Medium Cheddar because that's what I had
3 T. plus 1 t. reduced-fat Parmesan-style grated topped- I used shredded Parmesan because that is what I had
1/3 cup plus 2 t. fat free mayonaise
1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
1 ounce soymilk- I used non-fat milk because that's what I had
2 T. minced shallots
1 t. minced garlic
Salt and black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS (makes 8 servings)
-Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
-Cook garlic and shallots over medium heat in a pan sprayed with nonstick spray, until softened but not burned (a minute or two). Set aside.
-In a medium saucepan, melt block cheese over a low flame with the soymilk, stirring occassionally.
-Once cheese has melted and the mixture is well blended, add mayo, sour cream, and Parmesan. Stir until thoroughly mixed (still over low heat).
-Next, add garlic, shallots, and water chestnuts and stir. Add spinach to the pot and mix thoroughly.
-Spoon dip into a medium casserole dish and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes- I did it at 350 degrees and it comes out hot and ready-to-serve like the restaurants.
-Voila! Your spinach-y masterpiece is complete. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

I coupled the dip with my new favorite tortilla chips (purchased at Costco). I can eat two more chips per serving than my Mission tortilla chips, so I'll pick anything that allows me to eat more of it :).
The flavor was more "spinach-y" and less "cheesy" than your typical restaurant-style spinach-artichoke dip. I loved the added texture from the water chestnuts and the flavor was more cheesy than I had anticipated. I will definitely be making this again. I honestly don't think people would even notice it is a mock dip.
NUTRITION FACTS (according to recipe- mine had more calories & fat, since I used regular cheese and milk- but it was still significantly better than it could have been)
1 serving = 3 heaping tablespoons
72 calories; 1g fat; 310mg sodium; 9g carbs; 1g fiber; 4g sugars; 7g protein.

OLD-FASHIONED SOFT PUMPKIN COOKIES (this is not a low-fat recipe)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1 cup
LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Glaze (recipe follows)
PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease baking sheets.
COMBINE flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl. Beat sugar and butter in large mixer bowl until well blended. Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets.
BAKE for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Drizzle Glaze over cookies.
FOR GLAZE:COMBINE 2 cups sifted powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in small bowl until smooth.
They are soft, sweet, delicious and the perfect pumpkin-spice blended cookie for the fall. I used a Pillsbury cream cheese frosting that I already had, in place of making the glaze, and it made a great topping as well. Mike was nervous to eat them, since he's not terribly crazy about pumpkin and can't stand anything that has cream cheese in it, but he LOVED them (even went back for seconds). They were a big hit with Jaycoby as well.
Jaycoby thought that some of the cookies should be topped with his pumpkin candies :)

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