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My brie sprung a leak...
Appetizers, Holidays, Quick and Easy, Thanksgiving, Vegetarian

Two Thanksgiving Appetizers

by Nick

An artichoke dish was a heavy favorite in the poll last week, but I thought I would actually write two quick appetizers for this post since Thanksgiving is one week away! (I’m publishing nothing but Thanksgiving recipes until the big day from here on out so you can look forward to that!)

When I think of artichokes, especially for an appetizer, I got straight to a spinach artichoke dip. It’s really everything I want in a dip: creamy, cheesy, hot, and lots of flavor. You can even make it spicy if that’s your style.

As you might imagine, there are a lot of spinach artichoke dips on the Internet. After checking out various recipes, I decided that it’s really hard to go wrong with this dip as long as you put some creamy stuff in it, use lots of artichokes and spinach, and bake it. (Okay. Some versions don’t even bake the stuff.)

So let’s make my version!

Artichoke Dip Ingredients

Artichoke Dip Ingredients

Yield
Serves 8.
Prep Time
Total Time

Just a moment please...

Print Recipe Two Thanksgiving Appetizers

Ingredients

  • Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip
  • 2 14 ounce cans artichoke hearts in water (I like mine really artichokey.)
  • 1 10 ounce bag frozen spinach (thawed and patted dry)
  • 6-8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 Cup mayonnaise
  • 6-8 ounces silken tofu
  • 1 Cup Gruyere cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne (optional)
  • Parmesan cheese for topping
  • Chips, crackers, or spoons for dipping
  • Cranberry Relish
  • 3-4 Cups of fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 1/4 Cup orange liqueur, also known as Triple Sec. If you don't have this, you can also use orange zest.
  • 1/2 lemon, juice only
  • Tiny pinch of cinnamon
  • You'll also need...
  • 1 wheel of brie
  • Crackers

Directions

For artichoke dip:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) Drain artichokes and roughly chop them. Add artichokes to a bowl with all the creamy ingredients and tofu.

3) Thaw frozen spinach and press it between a few paper towels to press out as much liquid as possible. Chop up the spinach and add it to the dip.

4) Add in grated Gruyere cheese and salt and pepper the dip.

5) Add dip to a square 8x8 baking dish and top with Parmesan cheese.

6) Bake dip at 350 for about 45 minutes until it's golden brown. Serve with pita chips, tortilla chips or bread.

For Cranberry Relish Brie:

1) Rinse off cranberries. Add them to a pot with enough water to just just make the cranberries rise.

2) Add sugar and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for about 20 minutes and use a spoon to mash up cranberries as it cooks.

3) Taste the sauce (let it cool) and adjust the flavors. it might need more lemon or more sugar depending on how you want it.

4) Let this cool for at least 2 hours so it can thicken fully.

5) Slather a wheel of brie with the relish and bake at 300 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Serve it with crackers!

Spinach Artichoke Dip

First thing’s first, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Then drain all your artichokes and roughly chop them. I like mine on the more rustic side so I don’t over chop them.

Chunks are okay here people.

Chunks are okay here people.

Add your artichoke to a large bowl and then it’s on to the creamy ingredients. You can use a bunch of different things to make this dip creamy including the cream cheese and mayo I list in my recipe, but you could also use sour cream, heavy cream, etc.

In an effort to make this just a very tiny bit healthy, I decided to add about half a block of silken tofu to the dip. When it’s mixed in it produces a creamy texture and literally you can’t taste it at all.

If you’re completely opposed to this stuff, you can substitute any other creamy ingredient without a problem.

Secret Health Ingredient!

Secret Health Ingredient!

Prepping the spinach

I like to use frozen spinach for this recipe. If you use fresh, make sure to blanch it in hot water and then press out the water with paper towels or you’ll have a really watery dip.

For frozen spinach though, just thaw it out and then press all the spinach between a few paper towels. There will be a lot of liquid.

Once the spinach is dry, add everything to the a big bowl.

Also, add your grated Gruyere cheese! This made it even creamier although I’ll say that I had a hard time actually tasting the cheese in the final product which was shocking to me.

All Mixed up!

Don't forget the spinach!

Salt and pepper the dip to taste (yes I recommend tasting it cold. If it’s good cold, imagine how good it will be hot!) Mix everything up and pour it into a 9X9 baking dish. Top it with a fare amount of Parmesan cheese.

Ready for the oven!

Ready for the oven!

Bake this at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until it is nice and golden brown. Serve it with pita chips, tortilla chips, or just a bunch of spoons! (Joking on the spoons… kind of.)

Creamy and delicious.

Creamy and delicious.

Cranberry Relish Brie

During the holidays, I like to make a batch of cranberry relish (or cranberry sauce). It’s great to just eat with turkey obviously, but it can used for all kinds of other things. I also used it for an awesome brunch dish that I’m posting on Saturday.

For a good quick appetizer though, you can just slather the cranberry relish on a good wheel of brie and bake it!

Basic Cranberry Relish

Basic Cranberry Relish.

This really couldn’t be easier to make. Rinse off all your cranberries to remove any dirt or stems and then add them to a large pot. Add all your other ingredients and just enough water to rise up to the cranberries. I found that it was about as many cups of water as cranberries. Don’t worry about it though, if you add too much, you can just reduce it more later or add more water if you need to.

One note: Cranberries float. If you try to keep adding water until it covers the berries, you will fail.

Ready to cook!

Ready to cook!

Put this over medium heat and stir it slowly until all the sugar is melted. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes. The cranberries will all burst and start to break down and the whole pot will thicken up nicely due to all the pectin in the cranberries.

At this point, make sure to taste your mixture. Get a spoon and scoop out a little. Let it cool for a minute or two and then give it a taste. Too bitter? Add a bit more sugar. Too sweet? Add some more lemon. If it’s really runny, let it cook for a few more minutes.

Please don't burn your mouth.

Please don't burn your mouth.

Ideally, your final product will be the consistency of warm honey. It should be thick, but flow freely. Pour it into a container and let it cool at room temperature for 15 minutes and then at least two hours in the fridge. As it cools it will thicken up a lot.

Lovely.

Lovely.

Slather this stuff on a wheel of brie and bake it (I baked mine in a cake tin) for about 25 or 30 minutes at 300 degrees. You just want everything to be warm and gooey.

Some recipes call for wrapping the brie in puff pastry and that’s good also (although you then need to bake it at 350), but it’s okay to just bake it as is.

Serve it up with crackers!

My brie sprung a leak...

My brie sprung a leak...

Obviously, the warm brie is delicious, but the cranberry really sends it over the edge.

So, if you’re looking for a quick and tasty appetizer or two in the next week, check these out.

Do you have any quick holiday appetizers? Leave a comment!

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13 comments on “Two Thanksgiving Appetizers

  1. That picture of the baked brie has me drooling all over my keyboard. And I have dinner plates that look just like that! I should totally make this. Like, right now for breakfast.

  2. That baked brie looks my Thanksgiving/Book-club/House-party Brie….only as you know, I like to add either walnuts or pecans in mine and I use whiskey rather than orange liqueur. Your blog seems to be off to a yummy start for the holidays!!

  3. So how do either of these recipes reheat? There's only 2 (and a half) of us here, and there's no way we'd be able to eat all of either of those in one sitting…do they store well in the fridge and reheat well later?

  4. @ Becca The artichoke dip reheats perfectly. You can either reheat it in the oven or in the microwave.

    The brie probably wouldn’t reheat well, but I think It’s also good cold…

  5. My artichoke appetizer for thanksgiving are artichoke bottoms topped with blue cheese and bacon.

    Remove the bottoms from the can and dry them as much as possible. Finely chop 1/4 – 1/2 lb of bacon, depending on how many you plan to make, and fry. Remove from grease and let drain. Mix bacon with crumbled bleu cheese. Spoon mixture and cover the top of the artichoke bottoms, broil on high for a few minutes until the blue cheese begins to brown. Serve immediately.

    I usually pair it on a plate with a strawberry, almond and spinach salad with a lemon or orange vinaigrette.

  6. Love cranberries! Love brie! Love this appetizer! Could the cranberry recipe also be served alongside the turkey in place of the canned stuff at our big feast?

  7. I’m practically drooling because your brie sprung a leak. It looks amazing.

    Thanksgiving is at my parents every year. I plan on calling my mom first thing in the morning to tell her that we have to change whatever she planned on serving for the appetizers.

    And Becca, I bet the brie would be wonderful cold. (Please let there be leftovers at my parents!)

  8. I just wanted to let you know that I made the cranberry brie wheel as an appetizer for our Thanksgiving dinner tonight, and it was a HUGE hit! Everybody loved it and was asking me how I made it. I was almost embarrassed to tell them how easy it was :) Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for the recipe. I’ve been following your blog for a while now and haven’t been disappointed by a single recipe yet!!

  9. I actually made both of these appetizers today for a baby shower. Unfortunately, the person who hosted the shower didn't have an oven. So I had to head up the artichoke dip in the microwave (worked pretty well, but I didn't have that nice golden brown top), and I had to bake the brie in a toaster oven.

    Although, I did wrap the brie in a pastry sheet and that worked fantastic.

    Both were a huge hit. Thanks for the tip about the silken tofu. Not one of the guys who attended (yes, guys did come to this baby shower because we had guy-appropriate activities) even suspected I had slipped something healthy in the dip!

    Great job, Macheesmo!

  10. A little late for Thanksgiving, but I made the brie for a potluck dinner last night and it was a big heat. And easy to do too.

  11. I do catering and these recipes, I am sure, will come in handy. I'm especially excited about using the Tofu in the Spinach Artichoke Dip.

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