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

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Pre-Thanksgiving Festivities

I don’t know about you, but Thanksgiving mostly makes me think of eating. And I don’t just mean eating anything out of the ordinary, but delicious seasonal dishes that, for me, begin with the Union Square Green Market. The Green Market is where my dream of endless Butternut Squashes, Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli, and Apples become a reality!

On a leisurely walk through Saturday’s Green Market, I couldn’t help admiring all of the incredibly fresh winter fruits and vegetables. Although my purpose at the Green Market was to pick up the infamous $1 3-Pound bag of apples for an apple pie, I couldn’t help picking up a few other seasonal ingredients on the way. The Green Market is mixed in terms of pricing, but you always leave reassured that you’ve purchased the freshest produce of the season.

The Largest Broccoli I've Ever Seen!

The Largest Broccoli I've Ever Seen!

Apples

Migliorelli Apples

$1 3-Pound Bag of Apples

$1 3-Pound Bag of Apples

Brussel Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts

BottleRocketAfter leaving the market I stopped off at a nearby wine shop called BottleRocket. I’d read in a recent Eats.com newsletter that BottleRocket was hosting a complimentary Pre-Thanksgiving Wine and Food Pairing with City Bakery. Although BottleRocket’s interior was slightly small, they made the most of their space by setting up different food and wine stations throughout the store. Each guest was greeted with a taste of Champagne which was followed by a taste of City Bakery’s Thankgiving Menu which featured turkey,stuffing, two different kinds of potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and some gingerbread cookies for dessert. My favorite dishes on the menu were the Multigrain Bread Stuffing with Mushrooms, Herbs, & Aromatic Vegetables and the Sweet Potatoes with Grilled Pineapple and Toasted Homemade Marshmallows paired with the $9 Sauvignon Blanc (who’s name currently escapes me).

And after a wonderful afternoon of mouthwatering Thanksgiving bites and plentiful sips of wine, I began thinking about my own Pre-Thanksgiving festivities. Thanksgiving is the perfect excuse to get together with friends for a nice home cooked meal. And though it isn’t quite Thanksgiving yet, it’s close enough.

A few friends and I got together last night for a Pre-Thanksgiving dinner with all the traditional fix-ins. And I must admit that I was quite impressed with everyone’s cooking skills. Between the Macaroni & Cheese, the Barbeque Chicken, the Sweet Potatoes, and the Pumpkin Bread you’d think one would have their Thanksgiving fill. But until my Christmas Vacation rolls along, Thanksgiving dishes will be a regular staple which I look forward to sharing with all of you.

The recipes from our Pre-Thanksgiving dinner will be posted throughout the week, so please check back for more information about each dish along with enticing photos.

PRE-THANKSGIVING DINNER MENU

Pre-Thanksgiving Dinner Spread

Pre-Thanksgiving Dinner Spread

Appetizers

Main Course

  • Roast Chicken Kosher
  • Barbeque Chicken

Sides

Desserts