Frozen Artichoke Tip and Artichoke and Fennel Salad…..

I’ve fallen in love with Trader Joe’s frozen artichokes.  I love that you only pay for artichokes and not the packing liquid as you do with the canned.

The first time I used them I tossed them with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and salt & pepper.  I roasted them (when my oven was working!) at 375′ for about 20 minutes.  Delish!  The key ingredient here in terms of the brightness of the artichoke was the addition of the lemon (or acid.)   You do not have this issue with the canned artichokes because they add citric acid to the canning liquid. 

This spring like artichoke and fennel salad is really good alongside any fish or chicken dish.   Of course, I used the frozen artichokes in my salad.  When I steamed them in water and a little salt, they came out very gray.  Interestingly, I tossed them with the lemon dressing and poof, they returned to a more appetizing state.   Clearly acid is required in the cooking process which I found interesting that directions on the package did not mention this.

Steamed Frozen Artichokes

Rinse and drain a 12 ounce package of frozen artichokes.  Put into a pot with 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of water.  Steam covered over low heat until most of the water has evaporated, about 6-8 minutes.  Drain well and cool if you’re using in the above salad.   Great in any salad or pasta.  Roast with chicken or add to soups.   The possiblities are endless!

Artichoke and Fennel Salad with Lemon Dressing

2 fresh fennel bulbs with fronds
2 cans quartered artichokes, drained or two packages frozen, steamed, rinsed and cooled
3 tablespoons parsley, washed and chopped
3 green onions, rinsed and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh or bottled lemon juice
2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

1) Rinse thoroughly.  Trim off the bottom of the bulb and leave about 1″ of the fronds, slice thinly, place in a large bowl. Remove the tender frawns, the deep green portion, and chop coarsely. (Do not use the celery looking stalks, they are very tough, they would be great in soup.) Add parsley and green onions.
2) In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil through the pepper. Pour over vegetables and toss gently. Taste, add additional salt and pepper if necessary.

Have a great day!


Warm Artichoke and Goat Cheese Dip….

I came up with this recipe for my sweet Mother in Law Patricia.   I was thinking I wanted a warm goat cheese dip with artichokes, it turned out great!  It’s the perfect combination of creamy goat and cream cheese, artichokes, tomatoes, and garlic.  Topped with yummy bread crumbs, butter, and parmesan.  It’s SO GOOD! It goes together in minutes and would be great to serve for any party.  I’m going to make it for the Super Bowl!

Warm Artichoke and Goat Cheese Dip

1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1 can artichokes, drained and chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
3 large cloves garlic, crushed
1 small bunch fresh basil
2 pinches salt
1 pinch pepper
1 4 oz. package goat cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes

1) Preheat oven to 375’. You will need a 1 ½ to 2 quart baking dish. Spread cream cheese into the bottom of baking dish. Spread chopped and drained artichokes over cheese. Set aside.
2) In a small sauté pan, heat over medium heat and add olive oil. Add diced tomatoes, cook until soft, about 3 minutes, season with salt and pepper. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add thinly sliced fresh basil and stir to combine. Spread evenly over artichoke layer. Add crumbled goat cheese.
3) In a large measuring cup, melt butter in microwave. Once melted, add bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. Mix well. Sprinkle evenly over the goat cheese layer. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley flakes. Serves 8. Serve with crispy pita chips.

*Try adding cooked chopped shrimp or crab over the tomato/garlic layer….OH BOY!

Light Artichoke Dip

Yes, this is my version of that delicious coma inducing holiday dip that I could easily eat half of the pan!  It actually tastes very much like the original, but significantly lower in fat. FYI, non fat anything is against my religion. 

1 8 oz. softened light cream cheese
½ cup non fat plain yogurt
1/3 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons parmesan cheese
2 15 cans drained and chopped artichoke hearts

1 tablespoon melted butter
¼ cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or 1 tablespoon dried

1)  Preheat oven to 350’.
2) Coat a small 10” casserole dish with cooking spray.
3)  Into a medium sized mixing bowl, beat cream cheese.  Add yogurt, mayonnaise & parmesan cheese, beat with mixer until well blended.  Fold prepared artichokes into bowl.
4)  Spread evenly into prepared baking dish.
5)  Melt butter in a small microwaveable dish, add bread crumbs, parmesan and parsley, mix well.  Top artichoke mixture evenly.
6)  Bake for 25 minutes, serve immediately with gourmet crackers