April 12, 2015

Spinach and Artichoke Bites

Did you guys know that it's Camp NaNoWriMo time? Because it is. And I always forget about April sessions, because April was always Script Frenzy month, except now Screnzy has been absorbed into Camp NaNo.

Have I lost you yet? I'm sorry. I forget sometimes that not everyone is fluent in WriMo-ese.

Anyway, April came before I remembered to have a "I don't have a plot" freak out, which ended up being a good thing, since I only had one plot idea rattling around inside my head. And that was originally meant to be the plot to a video game, but since I have no idea how to develop a video game, it's now been turned into interactive fiction. (Think Choose Your Own Adventure novels meet text based gaming. A great example are Choice of Games)

A while back, this idea for a game hit me, out of the blue, sort of a dystopian twist on the stereotypical dating sim. I actually love dating sims (also known as otome games or visual novels)(It's one of the few ways I'm totally girly. When I'm not summoning eidolons or restoring the Balance, obvi), but the biggest problem is that the grand majority of them follow the exact same format. I wanted to put my own twist on it and actually use the generic format to my advantage.

If I finish, you guys will totally play it, right?
If you're in the middle of writing an interactive fiction novel and still need to make an appetizer, these Spinach and Artichoke Bites are so quick and easy that you won't have to spend too much time away from your keyboard.

I am the segue master!

Seriously though, these bites were a last minute thing I decided to make for Easter since I had an extra sheet of puff pastry in the freezer from making my Mac 'n Cheese Pie, and an extra block of cream cheese from making my brother's Cheesecake Stuffed Portal Cake, and since my parents were having people over, I decided to put them together with spinach and artichokes to make a fancy appetizer.

And I guess they really were super fancy, because my aunt thought they were the frozen appetizers you get from the store. Then she ate one and was surprised at how good they were.
Everybody was all, "Kim made these?" and they were impressed and that confused me. I tried to explain that it was a simple matter of putting spinach and artichoke dip into puff pastry and baking it. I guess if you're not the type of person that has random sheets of puff pastry lying around, these just seem a lot more labor intensive than they are.

Trust me though, these are beyond easy to make. The filling takes little more than a bowl and a spoon to bring together. Then you cut the puff pastry into squares and put it in a mini muffin tin. Put a spoonful of filling into the pastry and bake. That's it.

Added bonus, these are perfect make ahead appetizers. I made them the day before, brought them over in a foil pan, and my dad stuck them in the oven alongside the ham for 10 minutes. Easy peasy.

Spinach and Artichoke Bites
Yield: 32 bites

1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup mayo
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 (14 oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 package (2 sheets) puff pastry, thawed according to package directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese and mayo together until smooth. Add the cheese, artichokes, spinach, and garlic, and mix until well incorporated. Season as desired with salt and pepper.

Spray a mini muffin tin with non stick cooking spray. Cut the puff pastry into even squares (16 per sheet) and press the squares into the muffin tin. Fill with the spinach artichoke mixture and bake 10-15 minutes until the edges start to turn golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Recipe adapted slightly from Park House Love

Things you may need:

So, you probably don't need No Plot? No Problem!, but if my various, effusive ramblings about NaNoWriMo have ever interested you, I totally recommend it. It was written by NaNo founder Chris Baty, who is funny and cool and awesome and signed my copy. :P

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