Reinventing Artichoke Dip Just in Time for the Super Bowl

So, we're getting closer to the Super Bowl (next weekend!), which means you're probably up to your elbows in recipes for chips and dips, pizza and wings, nachos and chili, etc. Artichoke dip was probably on your Sunday/Monday Night Football menu a few times already, too. (As it should be.) Who doesn't love a warm, salty, cheesy, rich, creamy dip?

But, should something that tasty be regulated to the "dip" category? I think not. In fact, I think everyone would also love it on a pizza or perhaps in place of chicken or tuna in a lovely sandwich melt? Or maybe even as filling for their next batch of stuffed shells or even lasagna?

I challenge you to mix it up next Sunday. Make the below filling and use it however it suits your fancy. You'll be the MVP of the kitchen before halftime.

MVP Chicken, Bacon &Artichoke Filling
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken breast (or two 12.5 oz cans, chicken breast, drained)
1 14 oz can artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained
6 strips bacon, cooked
1/2 cup Tostitos Creamy Spinach Dip
1/2 cup mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip)
2 oz. low-fat cream cheese
1 heaping cup shredded mozzarella cheese (plain or smoked)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Kosher salt/ground black pepper

To Do:
  • Chop the chicken, artichokes and bacon into small dice (or use a blender/food processor) and put in a large pot over medium-low heat.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients through the cheese.
  • Stir in the garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Heat through, stirring gently until melted, then serve as you wish.
    • Makes 6 sandwiches. (I made warm, gooey paninis with it -- so tasty!) 
    • Tops 1 large pizza dough round. (Use filling as your topping, then bake as usual. To serve, top with chopped baby spinach leaves and grated Parmesan.)
    • Makes enough for 1 thick lasagna filling layer, so double it for a big lasagna pan. (Alternate between layers of spinach and cheese. Top with a cream sauce and mozzarella cheese. Bake as usual.)
    • Makes enough for 1 normal batch of medium/large shells, jumbo is pushing it. (Fill each shell with a big scoop, top with a cream sauce and mozzarella cheese. Bake as usual.)
    • Makes a nice batch of fancy macaroni and cheese. (Toss with a batch of cooked pasta and load into individual ramekins or a medium-sized baking dish. Top with cheese and heat through until browned.)
    • Serve it as a dip. (Place in oven-safe dish and top with more mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until browned and bubbly. Serve with warmed pita triangles, bread, or tortilla chips.)