Superfood Spinach Artichoke Dip

Spinach Artchoke DipDo you love cheese? Really LOVE cheese? So much so that you think it deserves to have its own food group? Could cheese be the answer to the world’s problems? Maybe not but cheese is still AMAZING for your bones, heart and brain. Cheese is a nutritional powerhouse that is just one of the featured superfoods in this recipe.

How about spinach? Also pretty amazing. These antioxidant-rich greens are great for the eyes, bones and heart. Spinach alkalizes, nourishes and strengthens your body with a plethora of vitamins and minerals. FYI – raw spinach contains oxalic acid which interferes with calcium absorption but cooking eliminates this problem.

What about artichokes? Did you know that artichokes have more antioxidants than any other vegetable? They’re great for the liver and contain a high dose of vitamin C. Artichokes also have anti-aging benefits and help prevent heart disease and Alzheimers.

All of this is to say that spinach artichoke dip might just be the best thing EVER. And this mega-delicious recipe is oh-so-easy to prepare. Just be ready to be asked for a repeat performance.

Here’s a few pointers on how to make this dish outstanding.

  • EXTRA garlic: I didn’t even get into the health benefits of garlic but needless to say you should add as much as you dare. Think elephant garlic-sized cloves. Garlic is an aphrodisiac so it’s best to serve extra garlicky foods with care. 
  • HARD cheeses are great for your health. I like asiago for this dish but you could also use parmesan.
  • CANNED artichokes: You could steam your own artichokes but if you’re short on time use a good canned variety that doesn’t add chemical preservatives (I like Reese’s). Select artichoke hearts that are stored in water as you won’t need any extra oil for this recipe.
  • FULL FAT DAIRY: The low-fat movement is over (thank goodness). REAL food is where it’s at and fats are your friend. Just be sure to avoid brands that use recombinant bovine growth hormones (rBGH).

 

Superfood Spinach Artichoke Dip

Serves 4

Ingredients

1-2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 Tbsp butter or nitrate-free bacon fat

12 oz fresh spinach, chopped

1/2 of a 14oz can of artichoke hearts, drained of water and chopped

1/3 cup sour cream

4 oz cream cheese, softened

4 oz asiago cheese, shredded

1 tsp salt

1 tsp of your favorite hot sauce

 

  1. Saute garlic in fat for 1 minute. Add chopped spinach and cook until spinach is wilted. Turn off heat and push spinach mixture to one side of the pan to drain excess liquid.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl combine sour cream, cream cheese, shredded asiago cheese, salt and hot sauce. Add cooked spinach and mix well.
  3. Transfer mixture to a medium-sized pyrex casserole dish. Bake at 300 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until it’s bubbling.
  4. Serve warm with crackers, toast or tortilla chips.

 

There’s no hard and fast rules here so feel free to improvise. You could add some chopped bacon, scallions or crabmeat if you want to get really fancy. Let me know how yours comes out!

 

Home Rituals – Tortilla Soup

There’s been a lot of sickness floating around lately – some nasty chest and head colds (I got hit with both). For the most part I let them run their course, knowing that my immune system would be stronger once it was all over. I upped the anti on my vitamin C intake, drank LOTS of hot tea and tried to rest as much as possible.

The double whammy slowed me down quite a bit so I adjusted my practice accordingly (downward dog is just not an option when your head is full of snot). At times like these it’s good to remember that it really doesn’t matter what you do in your home practice just as long as you do SOMETHING for at least an hour a day.

One of the best things I did for myself was cook with warming foods (garlic, onion, cayenne pepper). I added this powerhouse trio to soups, curries, and pasta dishes, and with each bite my head would clear up a bit more. One of the recipes that I made was Chicken Tortilla Soup. Every ingredient is highly medicinal and when put together they pack a powerful punch. Best of all it’s really easy to make.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Serves 2-3 people.

  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 1 medium-sized carrot, chopped
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Anaheim pepper, diced (or 1/2 of a green pepper)

Cut VeggiesCut Veggies

Heat a medium-sized sauté pan on a low setting (**see note about cookware**)  Add 1 tablespoon butter. Add the carrots, onions and peppers and increase the heat to medium. Sprinkle with salt (Kosher or sea) and sauté for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.

Saute

Add the minced garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring to keep the veggies from browning. Garlic can burn very easily, so you want to keep a close eye (and nose) on your pan at this point. As soon as you smell the garlic add the tomatoes. This helps to keep the veggies from sticking to the bottom of the pan and will prevent any burning.

Add Garlic

Cook the veggies for another couple of minutes. At this point the onion should start to look translucent. Add a quart of chicken bone broth (I used this recipe: Home Rituals Bone Broth)

Chicken Stock

Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the carrots are fork tender. The bubbles should break continuously on the surface (between a rolling boil and a slow simmer).

Bubbling

Drain and rinse half a can (8oz) of organic black beans. Add to the soup, along with a 1/2 cup of cooked, diced chicken and cook for another few minutes. I used dark meat because it doesn’t dry out like white meat. If you wanted to use white meat you could – I would just recommend waiting until the very last minute to add it. Season the soup with:

  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more if you like it spicy)
  • Salt to taste

In the last minute of cooking, add 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro and the juice of half a lime.

Add Cilantro

To serve, place a half of a cup of cooked rice in the bottom of a wide bowl. Ladle the soup over the rice. Garnish with a small handful of crushed organic, non-GMO corn tortilla chips, a few sprigs of fresh cilantro and a wedge of lime. Voila!

Home Rituals Chicken Tortilla Soup

** Just a quick side note about cookware – avoid aluminum at all costs as it’s one of the causes of Alzheimer’s. I used stainless steel because that’s what was available at the time, and it’s pretty good for cooking. Teflon is okay as long as you don’t use metal cooking utensils which can scratch and release poisonous Teflon particulate into your food.  The best option for cookware is a good-quality ceramic or ceramic-coated pan. And you don’t want to use any metal utensils with ceramic cookware. Wooden or high temperature plastic utensils are fine. **

What’s your go-to recipe when you’re feeding a cold?  Feel free to leave a comment in the box below.