I joined a new cooking challenge group called Eating the Alphabet. Each month we make a recipe featuring a fruit, vegetable, or bean/legume from a different set of letters. This month’s letters are K & L. Kale or Lemon was the first thing that popped into my mind. I asked my son and he gave me all sorts of K’s and L’s, and it’s funny I can’t even recall what they were now, but it was great fun thinking of them.
In the end, I went with Lemon because, well, lemon is so lovely and I needed a good dip for my Blog-iversary party last night. I think artichokes and lemons go splendidly together, and after making and sampling this creamy dip, well, I had a hard time saving it for the party. I had to hide it from myself in the back of the fridge and wait till the day of the party for the photo shoot. The lemon flavor really shines through and compliments the artichoke really well.
I lightened up the recipe by using light cream cheese, light mayo, and nonfat greek yogurt and adjusting the proportions–I also added a bunch of sweet onions and some herbs for extra flavor. I don’t think you’ll miss the extra calories.
Creamy Lemon Artichoke Dip
Adapted from WebMD. WebMD says to bake it and serve it hot, but it was so hot last night, I decided to just serve it cold. It’s delicious either way.
- 1 – 14.75 jar of marinated artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped
- About 2 Tablespoons of the marinade from the artichokes
- 1 medium sweet onion, chopped (about 1 heaping cup)
- 4 small cloves of garlic, peeled & chopped
- 8 oz. light cream cheese
- 1/2 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons gourmet prepared mustard (I used green peppercorn garlic, but dijon would be good too)
- 1 teaspoon wortcestershire sauce
- 2/3 cup (very loose) finely shredded Dubliner cheese (or other sharp cheese such as Asiago)
- a few sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 Tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, chopped fine
- The zest & juice of 1/2 of a fresh lemon
- 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce
- Drain the artichoke hearts, reserving the marinade. Spray a frying pan with cooking spray and heat to medium. Add the onions and garlic and sautee just briefly, then add a couple tablespoons of the marinade and cook until the juice from the marinade has evaporated and the onions are soft and translucent.
- Mix the hot onions with the cream cheese until well blended. (The heat soften the cream cheese and make it easier to mix.)
- Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix well. At this point you can cover and store it in the fridge till serving time. It
- If you want to serve it hot, put it in a square baking dish or pie pan and bake at 400 for about 20 minutes or until it’s hot and bubbly. If it’s too hot to turn the oven on, this dip is great cold, too. (Admittedly, though, it IS better warm!)
- Serve with pita chips … or slice up a baguette into thin slices and toast them.
This post was created for the Eating the Alphabet Challenge.
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I am sooooo excited! It’s mulberry season! I have this beautiful beautiful mulberry tree in my back yard … well, really, there are several in my yard, but the one that grows over my pond is the most prolific. I was worried she wouldn’t make any berries this year because it was a very unusually warm spring, followed by a hard frost. The mulberries usually wait to come out till later, but this spring it was so hot that she had started making berries when the big frost came. All the berries were dead. I thought for sure I would get no berries this year.
My little tree was not going to give up, though … she came back and made more berries. TONS more berries. Oh how I love my mulberry tree.
So this year I want to try some new ways of using these beautiful little purple berries. I was craving something substantial today, thinking salad, but for some reason I wanted sausage … I went digging through my freezer and found some “mystery” sausage. The package was opened, but unlabeled. I cooked one up and discovered, much to my delight, that it is some sort of sundried tomato and cheese sausage. Yes, that fit right in with my diabolical plan. And then I found a bit of couscous in the cupboard. Just enough for a salad. This turned out to be an insanely simple, yet delicious salad. The sweet-tart-juicy berries mixed just right with the smoky sausage, sharp cheese and crunchy onions. The vinaigrette smoothed it all out. It was just exactly what I wanted.
Mulberry, Sausage and Couscous Salad
For each meal-sized salad, you will need:
- 1/3 cup of uncooked couscous (I measured it before I cooked it … it’s better if it’s whole wheat … or you could use quinoa!)
- 1 cooked sausage, chopped (I used a sundried tomato and cheese one, but other flavors would work too)
- A few tablespoons of chopped sweet onion (like Vidalia)
- About 1 oz. of Dubliner or other sharp cheese (like Parmesan or Romano), sliced, then chopped into small squares
- About 1 cup of fresh mulberries (or other berries … raspberries or blackberries or even blueberries would be good)
- 2 Tablespoons of Tequila Lime Vinaigrette salad dressing (recipe is at the end of this post … I am sure other vinaigrettes would work fine with this salad)
- Snipped chives
Cook the couscous according to the directions on the package. I let my couscous cool to room temperature before making my salad. You could set it in the fridge or freezer to cool faster.
Cook the sausage. I put mine in the toaster oven at 400 on bake for about 10 minutes and that did the trick (and it started out frozen!). Once your sausage is done, chop up the sausage into whatever sized bits you like.
Mix the couscous, sausage, onion, cheese, mulberries, and vinaigrette in a bowl. Top with snipped chives and a few fresh berries and serve.
I was seriously craving spinach artichoke dip yesterday … but alas! I am all out of spinach. Hmm, but I have kale … and it occurred to me … why does spinach get all the attention? Shouldn’t kale get to play in the dip too?
I also had some salmon that we had barbecued the other night that needed using, so I threw that in the dip too. By this time, it was getting pretty tasty, so I skipped the artichokes altogether and threw it in the toaster oven to bake. It totally satisfied my craving, and then some. I’m kinda wishing I hadn’t eaten it all … I would really like some more now … these pictures are making me hungry!
I think this dip would be fantastic with shrimp or crab in place of the salmon …
Hot & Cheesy Kale & Salmon Dip
This makes a small portion, just right for 2 people snacking (or one hungry muncher). Double (or triple) the recipe if you are serving to several people.
- 1 heaping up of kale leaves, chopped roughly (about 2 ribs of kale)
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
- Several sprigs of fresh dill
- 3 Tablespoons white wine
- 3/8 cup of salmon, flaked
- 1/4 cup fat free plain greek yogurt (or more if you want a creamier dip … I like lots of “stuff” in my dips)
- about 2 oz. of goat cheese
- 1/3 cup shredded Dubliner cheese (or parmesan)
- A bit of shredded mozzarella or Italian blend, for the top
- Put the kale leaves, garlic, onion, and dill in a food processor or handi chopper and process till the kale is chopped into tiny bits.
- Heat a frying pan to medium heat, spray with cooking spray, then add the kale mixture and the wine. Stir it around a little and cover to cook for just a few minutes, then remove the cover and cook a minute longer to evaporate the moisture from the wine.
- Mix the kale mixture with the greek yogurt, salmon, goat cheese and shredded Dubliner cheese. Put in a small casserole or oven-safe bowl and top with a little bit of shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Bake at 350 for about 10 – 15 minutes or until the cheese is all melted and bubbly. Serve with chips, crusty slices of bread, or vegies for dipping.