Hot Christmas Dip - FamilyEducation

Hot Christmas Dip

December 10,2010

Need a crowd-pleasing, easy, and fairly healthful appetizer for a holiday or upcoming event?  Maybe even something for tonight or this weekend?

Look no further.  This Spinach and Red Pepper Dip recipe is super-tasty, and is greatly reduced in fat and calories.  The addition of chopped tomatoes (or you can use additional diced red peppers) on top serve for both a festive look as well as added nutrition.  And while spinach and red peppers are not at the top of either of boys’ favorite foods list, they both love this dip, albeit it minus the tomatoes.

You can serve this dip with crackers or pretzels, or get really healthful and use sliced carrots, celery, bell pepper, zucchini or other vegetables as dippers.

Spinach and Red Pepper Dip

4 packed cups Baby Spinach, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ cup water
2 - 8 ounce packages Neufchatel or ⅓ less fat cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon dried parsley

¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
½ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 medium roasted red pepper, diced
½ cup diced tomatoes or additional red pepper (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place the spinach, garlic powder and water in a microwave safe dish.  Cook on HIGH for 2-3 minutes or until the spinach is fully wilted.  Drain the water and squeeze the excess water out of the spinach.  Set aside.  

In a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese and spinach.  Add the remaining ingredients EXCEPT the red pepper and tomato (if using).  Stir very well to fully incorporate all the herbs and ingredients.

Add the red pepper and mix just until they are spread fairly evenly throughout the mixture (adding the red pepper too early on in the mixing makes them break down and look less vibrant red).

Pour the mixture into a small or medium baking dish.  Bake for 10-20 minutes, or until warm throughout.  

Remove from oven and top with tomatoes, if using.

Makes about 3 cups dip.