My family is weird when it comes to Thanksgiving. We have almost no traditions, food or otherwise. We just have never established any of those things.
We’ve tried. Oh, we’ve tried. We have hosted the big family Thanksgiving. We’ve gone to my aunt’s house for dinner. We’ve traveled (England was a highlight). We spent five or six years skiing in Santa Fe, New Mexico, our home away from home. My older sister has hosted a big dinner at her home in Austin, where she serves lamb rather than turkey. All of those Thanksgivings were fun, but none have created long-lasting traditions. Now that my sisters and I are adults, getting together for Turkey Day has become nearly impossible. With significant others, work, and living in different places, it’s hard for all of us to get together, so we usually just try for Christmas. Case in point: this year my older sister is hosting her lamb dinner in Austin, my parents and little sister are going to Marfa (because why not?), and Henry and I are going upstate to spend the holiday with his family. I’m not sure we’ll ever have a traditional Thanksgiving together again, but that’s okay as long as we have good cell phone service and my mom’s Artichoke Dip.
This dip is so, so good. It comes from a handwritten card in my mom’s holiday recipe box–a card so stained that you know the recipe has to be good. Hot, cheesy, creamy goodness that’s perfect for scooping up with tortilla chips and crackers. Plus, it’s so easy, it’s ridiculous. Stir together four ingredients, spread it in a small casserole dish, top with cheese and paprika, and bake until brown and bubbly. That’s it. Easy. It’s great for holidays and parties, and can be made up to two days in advance. You can either mix everything and bake when you’re ready to serve, or bake it, refrigerate, and reheat in the microwave. It’s totally perfect for those hectic holiday afternoons when you’re just trying to get something on the table. I have taken this Artichoke Dip to many Thanksgivings and holiday parties over the years, and people always go crazy for it. Be prepared: you will be bombarded with requests for this recipe.
Ten years ago, when my mom put me to work making this recipe for our holiday parties, I had no idea that it would become my tradition. I didn’t know that I would soon have it committed to memory, or that I would take it to Thanksgivings all over the northeast. Some people have holiday food memories with pie or cookies or Great Grandma’s stuffing, but for me it’s this dip. Making this puts me back in my mom’s Texas kitchen, at least for a second. That’s a good enough tradition for me.
recipe from my mom’s holiday recipe box
makes one small casserole dish or pie plate
1 14oz can artichoke hearts in water, drained
1 4oz can chopped green chilies, drained
1 cup mayonnaise (I use Hellmann’s)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
paprika, for dusting
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a small casserole dish or pie plate. Set aside.
Chop artichoke hearts into small pieces. Place them in a large mixing bowl. Add green chilies, Parmesan cheese, and mayonnaise. Stir to combine. Scrape the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan and dust with paprika. Bake for 30 minutes, until browned and bubbly. Let cool five minutes before serving with tortilla chips or crackers.
Artichoke Dip can be made up to two days in advance. You can mix together the mayonnaise, artichoke hearts, chopped green chilies, and cheese, and refrigerate, and then bake immediately before serving. Alternatively, after baking, let the dip cool to room temperature for an hour. Cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate. When you are ready to serve, reheat in the microwave.
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