Friday, March 11, 2011

Spinach, Artichoke and Mushroom Dip with Pita Chips

I know that artichoke is very good for health, but I never knew how to peel it to get the hearts. I tried it once and failed. So now I wanted to try this delicious dip which is very easy to make. So I got a canned artichoke hearts and made this recipe. It was a success because I did not take the risk of buying artichokes and peel to get the hearts. :-)
It can be a great heart healthy dinner and a snack.
Artichoke Nutrition:
The total antioxidant capacity of artichoke flower heads is one of the highest reported for vegetables. Cynarin, an active chemical constituent inCynara, causes an increased bile flow. The majority of the cynarin found in artichoke is located in the pulp of the leaves, though dried leaves and stems of artichoke also contain cynarin.
This diuretic vegetable is of nutritional value because of its exhibiting aid to digestion, strengthening of the liver function, gall bladder function, and raising of HDL/LDL ratio. This reduces cholesterol levels, which diminishes the risk for arteriosclerosis and coronary heart disease. Aqueous extracts from artichoke leaves have also shown to reduce cholesterol by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase and having a hypolipidemic influence, lowering blood cholesterol. Artichoke contains the bioactive agents apigenin and luteolin.  Artichoke Cynara scolymus also seems to have a bifidogenic effect on beneficial gut bacteria. Artichoke leaf extract has proved helpful for patients with functional dyspepsia, and may ameliorate symptoms of IBS.
A video showing how to cook and eat artichokes for your help.
 (click on the link to see the video)

1  package Baby Spinach blanched and the water is drained. (reserve this water so that you can use in any other cooking or in making chapati/roti dough) or you can use 1 package (10-ounce) frozen chopped Spinach
1 can Artichoke hearts roughly chopped
1 box mini Bella Mushrooms chopped1/2 cup Mayonnaise
3/4 cup Sour cream
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup grated Pepper Jack Cheese or (I used a combination of Mozzarella cheese and Gruyère cheese)
1. Reserving 1/4 cup of mozzarella and gruyère cheese for topping.
2. Preheat oven to 350F.
3. In a pan add the mushrooms and saute it well until the water is gone for about 5-6 mins. (I made a mistake while making this recipe - is that I did not saute the mushrooms so after it baked there was water in the bottom of the bowl, so I am correcting it in here in the post)
4. In a mixing bowl mix all the ingredients along with the mushrooms and keep it aside.
5. In a baking dish spray with a non-stick cooking spray and spread the dip mixture evenly
 and top it with the cheese and bake it for about 30 mins.
6. Serve it hot with pita chips.