I recently helped a good friend of mine organize a fundraiser for exceptional Iowan gubernatorial candidate, Jack Hatch. The event was the first of many in the ‘Women for Hatch’ campaign and I was tasked with bringing some appetizers. I’m sharing them with you because they flew out the door, literally. No, not literally, but they were gone in a flash!

I didn’t take pictures because, well, I’m a silly goose so I’ll share with you the inspirational women I got them from. Thank you Pinterest – you saved my cooking conundrum, once again.

I made Spinach Artichoke Dip tartlets – of which a version can be found here.

Here’s the recipe:

Baked Spinach Dip Mini Bread Bowls

13.3 oz roll of refrigerated french bread loaf, I used Simply Pillsbury
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Cups baby spinach, coarsely chopped
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
3 oz softened cream cheese
1/2 Cup light sour cream
2 Tablespoons fresh shredded parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Ancho Chile Pepper
1/8 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Garlic Salt
1/8 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Sicilian Sea Salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 Cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray 10 regular muffin cups with non stick cooking spray.  Unroll package of french bread loaf and slice into 10 equal size slices, about 1 inch thick.  Press each slice into about a 3 inch round, I did this by pressing in between my hands.  Press into the bottom and up sides of the muffin cup.  Set aside.

2.  Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat.  Cook and stir spinach until wilted, about 3 minutes then add garlic, cook and stir for another minute then turn heat off.

3.  Place cream cheese, sour cream, cooked spinach and garlic, Parmesan Cheese, Ancho Chili Powder, garlic salt, salt and pepper into a medium bowl.  Mix until well combined. With a medium cookie scoop, scoop dip into each of the centers of bread bowls. Top evenly with shredded cheese and bake for 15-17 minutes until just turning brown on edges. Remove and let cool for 3-5 minutes before removing from oven.

10 mini spinach dip bread bowls” from www.pickypalate.com

Here’s what I did:

bought the pillsbury simply french bread dough

Went to Sam’s club and bought their Artisan spinach and artichoke dip and a tub of 4 shredded italian cheeses.

Then, I assembled and baked per her instruction, except I cut the dough into 1/2″ pieces to get more out of the dough – I got about 12-13 cups, instead of 10. However, you really need to take one out and cut it in half to see if its cooked through. After 20 minutes mine were still doughy. Reduce the heat to 325 and bake for another 5 minutes. Test again.

I recommend that you cool these completely before serving. They are good hot, but SO MUCH BETTER at room temperature. The flavors really come alive. Also, once cool, they can be easily stacked on top of one another so I arranged them in a kitschy country bread basket kind of deal. Looked great, casual, fun, and delicious!

Then, I made these herbed cheese cucumber bites. They were a crazy big hit!

The original recipe asks you to buy fresh oregano and cream cheese. I used goat cheese, and thinned it with some sour cream and skipped out on the oregano. But I did buy chives, sage, and basil. I added a little salt and lots of fresh black pepper. I garnished with pepper.

These hold up well but you want to refrigerate them until serving.

If you have blue plates to serve both of these items in, or on, DO IT. Food looks so much more appetizing on blue plates.

That’s all she wrote, folks!