Thanksgiving Appetizers: Houston’s Spinach Artichoke Dip?

There’s nothing better than a variety of appetizers to whet the appetite before a Thanksgiving dinner. The appetizers my family traditionally serves are the old fashioned but classic pigs in a blanket and my mom’s famous Sourcream Dill Dip with mixed vegetables and Cape Cod Russet Potato Chips.

Since our Thanksgiving is typically an intimate dinner of 5, we tend not to go overboard on the appetizers. But I’ve always dreamed of having a big Thanksgiving dinner filled with family and friends and endless hors d’oeuvres. I can just envision guests anxiously awaiting the next round of Baked Brie with Apples, Stuffed Mushrooms, and Butternut Squash Soup Shooters. There’s always next year!

And in preparation, my friends and I had our own Thanksgiving dinner where we served the following appetizers:

  • Spinach Artichoke Dip
  • Homemade Hummus & Pita Chips

Though my dip has been compared to Houston’s Spinach and Artichoke Dip, it has less fat and more vegetables yielding a tasty counterpart. The crunch of the water chestnuts and elimination of heavy cream create a light dip that won’t weigh you down before your big Thanksgiving day meal.

For more appetizing ideas to serve at your Thanksgiving dinner visit the Food Network’s Thanksgiving 2008 Menu.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip Ingredients

  • 1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese + 3 tablespoons
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 small can water chestnuts
  • 1/2 cup fat free sour cream (or plain yogurt)
  • 1 8 oz package light cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs or panko

Preparations

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.
Spinach Artichoke Dip Ingredients2. In a traditional blender, hand blender, or food processor, place artichoke hearts, Parmesan cheese, and garlic . Pulse until slightly chopped and set aside.

Spinach Artichoke Dip3. Heat the cream cheese for approximately 1 minute, or until soft and easily spreadable, and mix together with spinach, sour cream in a medium bowl. Stir in artichoke mixture and spoon into prepared baking dish.

4. Top with 1/4 cup breadcrumbs and 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese.

5. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until breadcrumbs have browned.

Baked Spinach Artichoke Dip

Baked Spinach Artichoke Dip

Thanksgiving Desserts: Whole Wheat Apple Pie

Thanksgiving desserts are what I believe most people look forward to most about Thanksgiving. And what would Thanksgiving be without Apple Pie? What would the entire Fall and Winter seasons do without apples? Well, luckily we’re not going to find out because I’ve included a recipe, based on Marie Colbath’s Apple Pie that everyone is guaranteed to adore.

I assure you that I haven’t forgotten about the infamous Pumpkin and Pecan Pies, but I figured I’d start you all off with my favorite. But, while we’re on the subject of pies, I’d definitely recommend baking one if you haven’t before. Most beginner cooks and even advanced are adverse to baking pies because of the dreaded crust. But as you’ll see the crust for this Whole Wheat Apple Pie recipe is fairly easy and can be substituted for any other pie crust out there. And pie just isn’t the same with a store-bought crust! Even the Food Network is encouraging homemade crusts with their tutorial, 6 Tips for Perfect Pie Crust.
Pillsbury Funfetti Brownies

Pillsbury Funfetti Brownies

But, if you’re pressed for time, or just don’t feel like baking you can make Pillsbury’s forever crowd pleasing Funfetti Brownies. Between the velvety chocolate inside and the colorful funfetti, I don’t think anyone will hold them against you.

Whole Wheat Apple Pie Ingredients

CRUST

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup bran flakes
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon chilled butter, cut into small pieces, divided
  • 10 tablespoon ice water

FILLING

  • 8 cups sliced peeled McIntosh apple (about 3 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon all spice

GLAZE

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 egg white, beaten or 1/8 cup skim milk
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar

Preparation

Kneading Butter1. Lightly spoon white and whole wheat flour, bran, turbinado sugar, cinnamon, and salt into their respective measuring cups, level with a knife, and combine (through a whisk) in a large mixing bowl. Cut in 1/2 cup of chilled butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal ( I usually work the mixture with my hands). The mixture should be crumbly and the butter should be broken down into small pea size balls. Fluffing Crust Mixture2. Sprinkle surface with ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time and toss with a fork until moist and crumbly (do not form a ball). It is important for the dough to be only slightly saturated with the water. Dense and sticky dough yields an unenjoyable chewy crust. 3. Divide the fluffed dough in half. Gently press each half into a 4-inch circle on 2 sheets of overlapping heavy-duty plastic wrap and cover with 2 additional sheets of overlapping plastic wrap. Chill 30 minutes.

4. Peel and core the 3 pounds of apples, slice them into small pieces, and place in a large mixing bowl. Combine brown sugar, granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and all spice in a small bowl. Then sprinkle sugar mixture over apple mixture and toss well to coat.

Peeled ApplesSliced Apples & Sugar MixtureSugar Mixture over Sliced Apples 5. Pre-heat oven to 425 Degrees. 6. Roll 1 dough half, still covered, into a 12-inch circle. Roll remaining dough half, still covered, into an 11-inch circle. Chill for an additional 30 minutes if the dough is too soft (splitting apart, or difficult to roll or mold). 7. Remove top 2 sheets of plastic wrap from 12-inch dough circle; fit dough, plastic wrap side up, into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate coated with cooking spray, allowing dough to extend over edge. Remove remaining plastic wrap and spoon filling into dough. Bottom Crust in Pie PanApple Mixture in Crust Top Crust8. Remove top 2 sheets of plastic wrap from 11-inch dough circle; place, plastic wrap side up, over filling. Remove the remaining plastic wrap and press edges of dough together. Fold edges under, and flute. Cut 4 (1-inch) slits in top of dough to allow steam to escape. 9. Brush top and edges of dough with egg white or milk and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of turbinado sugar. 10. Place pie on a baking sheet. Bake at 425° for 25 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350° (do not remove pie from oven); bake an additional 30 minutes or until golden. Shield pie with foil, if necessary. Cool on a wire rack. Serve Warm.

Whole Wheat Apple Pie

Whole Wheat Apple Pie

Apple Pie on Foodista