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Creamy Spinach Artichoke Puff


Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

As a child, I was always told not to eat a snack before meals because “it would spoil my appetite”. So perhaps that explains my reluctance to try recipes for appetizers.  Then…not too long ago, I was perusing recipes for lighter party fare and found one for a dip using artichokes and feta cheese…and another recipe for a spread made by blending chopped spinach with sour cream and cream cheese.  Intrigued by the distinctive taste of one and the creamy texture of the other, I combined selected ingredients from both recipes, then spread the mixture over puff pastry to create a colorful, warm appetizer with a flaky crust. It can be served in thin, pie-shaped slices when made on a pizza pan, or cut into small squares when baked on a rectangular cookie sheet.

If you would like to see a short video of me preparing this recipe, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gi4YC10hkGg  No…I’m not quite ready for a “cooking show” yet…but it was fun to work with my friends at Triad Health Project to film my recipe for their monthly newsletter.

Enjoy!

Creamy Spinach Artichoke Puff

Ingredients
4 oz fresh spinach, stems removed (4 oz is approximately 4 cups of tightly packed, stemless spinach leaves)
2 oz light cream cheese (Neufchatel cheese)
¼ cup light sour cream
¼ cup light mayo
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
2 oz finely shredded parmesan cheese
13.75 oz can artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained
1 clove garlic, minced finely
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
additional shredded parmesan for topping

Directions
Wash and drain the spinach, then wrap in a towel to absorb moisture.  Place the dried spinach in a food processor and chop coarsely. Add the cream cheese, sour cream, mayo, feta cheese and shredded parmesan cheese and process until mixed with the spinach.  Add the drained artichoke hearts, minced garlic and red pepper flakes and process until mixed with the spinach/cheese mixture.  Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Prepare one sheet of thawed puff pastry according to package directions. Use a rolling pin to stretch the puff pastry to fit either a round pizza pan or a 9×13 rectangular baking sheet. Prick the pastry with a fork before adding the spinach mixture to prevent “air bubbles” as it bakes.  Spread the spinach/artichoke/cheese mixture over the puff pastry, but leave a narrow edge of pastry exposed.  Sprinkle additional shredded parmesan over the spinach mixture and bake uncovered, for approximately 30 minutes or until the cheese bubbles and forms a light, golden brown crust.

Servings: when prepared in a pizza pan, 12 thin slices
when prepared on a rectangular baking sheet, 16 small appetizer-sized pieces

Note:  Added salt is not needed in this recipe because of the amount of sodium present in the cheese and the canned artichokes.

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