Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Bread

What is it about fall that incites cravings for carbs, heavy cream, and butter? After a summer full of salad recipes, I was surprised to see that once I compiled my fall themed grocery list, I had not one, not two, but three packages of cream cheese in my grocery cart! Oh my goodness. I will certainly need to pace myself as I plan weekends of football food (aka soups, sandwiches, and appetizers).

I have seen variations of this recipe all over the internet and was happily surprised to see how easy it was! I will definitely put this in my bank of "recipes good enough to take places." Who doesn't like a good artichoke dip? Who doesn't like a good garlic toasted baguette? Why wouldn't you want to combine the two?

2 baguettes
1-2 Tablespoons of oil (for sauteing)
1 14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
8 oz spinach
1 8 oz block of cream cheese
1 1/2 cups mozzarella
3 green onions, sliced
1 t. garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
To top:
garlic butter
Parmesan cheese

I have had a love affair with baguettes ever since my first trip to France after my senior year of high school. Every single morning we had these for breakfast, spread with butter and preserves and I will never forget the taste or the feeling of being in France eating fresh baked bread for breakfast.

For this recipe, I started with 2 baguettes, cut the ends off. and cut the remainder into 4 pieces.

 Next, I used a long knife, and hallowed out the inside of the bread.

 Now for the yummy filling.

Start by sauteing the artichokes in the oil over medium heat for a minute.

Next, add the spinach until it cooks down. (The spinach I had was mixed with arugula, so I threw it all in there, but spinach alone will work just fine (if not better)).

Let the greens cook all the way down.

Aaaah! Steam bath!

Add in the cream cheese and stir around. You may want to turn it down to a medium low temperature.

And then the mozzarella. Let it all cook until it's completely melted.

Stir in the onions, and then add seasonings to taste.

Now for the fun part. Fill each of the hallowed baguette pieces with the spinach/artichoke mixture. Lay them end to end inside a piece of aluminum foil.

Brush the baguettes with garlic butter. Brush it on thick. Anything that runs off will be captured in the foil.

Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan.

Wrap the foil around the baguettes, and then bake at 350 (F) for 15 minutes. Unwrap the foil and then bake for another 5 minutes uncovered so that the bread gets nice and toasty brown.

Remove from foil and then slice. You can wait until they cool to do this also. I preferred the cool ones to the ones straight out of the oven, but that's totally your call.

Recipe post thought: These are amazing. Amazing with soup, amazing for a late night snack, and amazing as leftovers. I can't help but wonder though how much more amazing they would have been had I sprinkled some sea salt over the garlic butter before baking. Next time... next time.

Oh, and also... they freeze great! Just reheat in the oven when you're ready to eat.

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