Sunday, September 8, 2013

Hot Artichoke Dip

I’ve been writing this blog for a few years and have tried to provide a combination of hors d’oeuvres, appetizers, family dinners, desserts and even some homemade candy.  But with the holidays soon approaching, I’ve been asked to share some easy to make dishes for parties.  To respond to those requests, I have decided that the next several posts will be geared towards entertaining. 

When I first moved to Nashville over 20 years ago, I was taken to a cocktail party by one of the invited guests.  This was the first time I had experienced the elaborate southern hors d'oeuvre displays that have now become second nature.  I knew no one but the person who brought me, so after making small talk with a few of the guests, I decided to explore the offerings.

In the center of a round table set separately from the rest of the food was a beautiful chaffing dish filled with this lightly browned topping that looked to be covering a white mixture.  There was a display of assorted crackers nearby so I picked up one of the butter crackers and gently dipped the fragile vessel into the bubbling creation.  I can only imagine what my expression was when I first tasted the Hot Artichoke Dip.  I’m sure I must have closed my eyes to savor the moment.  The party must have been a good one for others, but all I remember is being unable to tear myself away from that delicious goodness.  Since that eventful evening, I’ve been reliving that memory with this Hot Artichoke Dip which has become one of my most requested recipes.
§     1 (14 ounces) can artichokes (chopped)
§     1/2 cup Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise
§     1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
§     1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
§     1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
§     Pinch of salt

I use canned artichokes because they are convenient and can be found at my local market, but frozen artichokes would work well.  Any time I use a recipe where one of the ingredients is mayonnaise and the dish requires baking, I always use Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise.  It is the only mayonnaise I have found will remain creamy and will not separate into an oily mess.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your casserole dish by spraying with non-stick cooking spray to keep the dip from sticking. In a small bowl, mix together chopped artichokes, mayonnaise, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and salt.
Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. 
Bake at 350 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes or until warm and lightly browned.  Do not over bake as the mayonnaise may separate. 
Serve immediately with crackers or corn chips.

For a printer friendly copy of this recipe, go to ArtichokeDip. Enjoy!

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