I come from a football obsessed family that have been Lions fans since the day they were born. This means weekend afternoons are for watching the game or for my sister, tailgating for the Michigan games. For me it has always been more about the food than the football. (shocking I know). I was always thinking… game night?! What snacks should I bring?! When it comes to bringing food to friends homes and parties I always try to think of what would be the most convenient and require the least amount of use for plates, silverware and napkins. I love a good spinach dip but that requires spoons, and extra hands. I wanted to make taking spinach dip on the go simple and mess free. I came up with the solution to bake spinach dip in muffin tins for a simple on the go appetizer. I headed to the new Gordon Food Service Store on Michigan because they have the best cheese selection in town to stock up on my ingredients. For this recipe I used their family size frozen spinach and artichoke dip as the base. Let’s be honest it was good all on it’s own but to make it on the go I added some fun ingredients to the dish.
I debated pretty heavily on what cheese I was going to add to these since the spinach dip already has a nice creamy base. I ended up using the fresh Mozzarella from Gordon Food Service Store because I wanted a mild creamy flavor. I shredded the cheese and let it air for just a few minutes to get rid of a bit of the excess moisture. I prepped the rest of the ingredients while the spinach dip was baking in the oven. I’m not going to lie, it was hard to leave it alone once it was hot and ready. It smelled so good! I ended up using the entire container for this recipe though that produced just over 15 full size bites.
The dip needed something to replace the cracker it would normally rest on. I decided to add a bit of cooked orecchiette pasta to soak up the sauce and bake up like a little spinach lasagna. These are nice and dense and could be great in lunches or even for breakfast as well as the tailgate. They had the tang of the creamy spinach dip with the heartiness of the pasta as if it were being served with bread. These are going to take about 15 minutes to prep and about 45 minutes to bake. You have to bake the spinach dip first and let it cool slightly before baking them in the muffin tins. I was able to find all of the ingredients for these at my local Gordon Food Service Store. Side note: you can sign up for exclusive tailgating coupons here!
olive oil (for the muffin tin)
2 cups of orecchiette pasta or other small noodle pasta
1 container of the family size frozen spinach dip from Gordon Food Service Store or 3 cups of spinach dip.
2 large eggs
1 8oz ball of mozzarella shredded
1 cup of panko crumbs
1/2 cup of milk
1. Using a brush or paper towel, coat muffin pan with olive oil. Make sure to get inside the cups to keep spinach from sticking to the pan. Preheat oven to 425F
2. Bake the spinach dip according to package instructions. Let cool. While that is heating up, cook the pasta al dente. Rinse and set aside to cool.
3. In a large bowl mix in the pasta, spinach dip, cheese, eggs and 3/4 cups of the panko. If the batter seems too dry add in milk a little at a time until creamy.
4. Pour into muffin tins about 3/4 of the way full. In a separate bowl mix 1/4 cup of panko with a splash of olive oil and salt. Sprinkle on top of the muffins.
5. Bake 20 minutes until golden. When you remove them from the oven use a fork to give them a little twist. Once cool enough to handle either serve or store in the refrigerator. These taste great served hot or at room temperature.