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the good, the bad, and the cream cheese

Recipe: spinach artichoke cream cheese

They said it was going to snow this weekend, and it did. But between the sun and the 60 mph winds, we’ve got nada on the ground here. We are headed for single digits tonight (in °F) and the wind chill is well below zero. That would explain Kaweah’s lack of the usual dawdling when we turn around to go back home during her walk (but she still loves her walks). It also means that I have been a baking fool for the past few days, filling the house with the warm scent of fall spices, roasted vegetables, and hot soups. I’m still waiting for proper winter (read: snow), but in the meantime…

we have had a string of brilliant sunrises and sunsets the past week

lunch with jeremy at pica’s (wet burritos: carne asada and pork adobado)

hoarding the best duck prosciutto

That last shot is of four duck breast prosciutto from Il Mondo Vecchio in Denver, which is closing its doors at the end of this month (November 30, 2012). I’m heartbroken and upset about the closure because I love this small local business and their quality products. I’ve ventured down to their Denver loading dock before, but then Cured (in Boulder) began to carry Il Mondo Vecchio’s salumi such that I could gift duck breast prosciutto to a deserving hostess from time to time.

I don’t get to Denver very often (this is voluntary) and I know I am missing out on some great eats and treats in the city, but I do hear about great places from my local pals. Back in the spring, when my friend Kathya came to visit with me, she brought me bagels and cream cheese from Hi*Rise in Denver. The bagels were good, but the cream cheese was absolutely lovely – spinach and artichoke. When I had polished off the last of the spinach and artichoke cream cheese, I thought to myself, “I need to get in on that action.”

spinach, artichoke hearts, lemon, salt, cream cheese

chop the artichokes

You can use frozen spinach if you don’t want to deal with fresh spinach. I had fresh spinach on hand and rather like the idea of knowing exactly what is in it. It’s a quick blanch in boiling water, then drain it and squeeze it out just like you would frozen spinach. Chop it up and you are good to go.




This is like the cream cheese version of this artichoke dip with spinach tossed in for good measure. Actually, it lacks the oomph of the garlic, but think of it as the mellower cousin. It’s chock full of spinach and chunky artichoke.

squeeze some lemon juice into the mix

chunky, creamy, dreamy

spread on a toasted bagel

Sure I love this spinach and artichoke cream cheese on a bagel in the morning. I also like it on a bagel with tomato slices and muenster cheese melted on top for lunch. You could even put a fried egg on that for the Ultimate Decadent Bagel of Yum. I may or may not have eaten a spoonful as is. Don’t judge. Make a batch and tell me you didn’t do that too.

a welcome start to the day

Spinach Artichoke Cream Cheese
[print recipe]
inspired by Hi*Rise Bakery

5 oz. fresh spinach or 1/4 cup frozen spinach, squeezed of water
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup artichoke hearts, chopped
pinch of salt
squeeze of lemon juice

If using fresh spinach, blanch the spinach leaves in boiling water for no more than a minute and drain. Squeeze the spinach out as much as possible. Chop the spinach. Mix the spinach, cream cheese, artichoke hearts, pinch of salt, and lemon juice (to taste) until blended. Makes a pint.

19 nibbles at “the good, the bad, and the cream cheese”

  1. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says:

    Lovely idea! Looks awesome.

  2. Fiona says:

    No snow?? We got more than a foot on the flats and 4 feet in the mountains! Maybe it’s on its way to you now. I hope so.

  3. Villy @ For the love of Feeding says:


  4. Eileen says:

    This is exactly the type of thing I like to do when I really want to go to the bagel shop. :) Hooray for homemade veg-filled cream cheese!

  5. GwenO says:

    What about using it for finger sandwiches!?!

  6. Sally - My Custard Pie says:

    Could have gazed at that sunrise for a very long time. Surprised you ever get round to baking with that distraction – however can’t imagine those temperature. Lovely dip.

  7. Lisa says:

    This looks delicious and it is vegie cream cheese that most ladies like that. I sure will make some when I host our wine and dine group next spring.

  8. JulieT says:

    Now I’ve got to try Pica’s, it has been on my radar for a while as they offer coupons in the little neighborhood flyers, but they are always for a deal for two, and alas I’m a single. After seeing that pork-I’ll pay full price and skip the coupon! How does one use the dry-cured duck breast? I’m around the corner from Cured and I’d get in on the action (before the end of November) if I had a use for it. Cut up in a salad? Does one use it like any cured meat. (I don’t spend much time in the kitchen-obviously)

  9. Liz N says:

    Jen, I can’t wait to make this. It is right up my alley. I would top it with some smoked salmon too. However, you had me at ‘fried egg’. Mmmm…

  10. Pomme says:

    great idea ! it seems delicious !

  11. Shut Up and Cook says:

    So many delicious things all wrapped into one amazing appetizer. I’m a sucker for just about anything artichoke, but love the idea of the addition of fresh spinach. YUM!

  12. Margie says:

    nom, nom, nom…I have a garden busting loose with Malabar spinach, a jar of ‘chokes just waiting to be tapped. This is a wonderful appetizer idea for the holidays. It gives an alternative to the hot spinach/artichoke dip(s) that abound, not that there’s a problem with those…. ;)

  13. Kathy Swanson says:

    Sounds like just the thing for our family’s holiday snacking Jen. Thanks

  14. Vespa Woolf says:

    I’m always looking for some new and delicious way to eat my homemade bagels. I’m inspired to make your spread this week! Thanks so much.

  15. Caroline says:

    So I was just listening to Deb Perelman (of Smitten Kitchen fame) on a local radio show talking about her parents making bagels from scratch, and I’ve decided to make that a project for this weekend. So I was pleased to come across this recipe– it will complement the homemade bagels beautifully! Plus I have half a jar of artichokes hanging out in the fridge, and cream cheese is on sale this week. Perfect!

  16. jenyu says:

    Katrina – thanks!

    Fiona – aaaaaaagggg, I don’t want to talk about it :(

    Eileen – yeah, I really like making my own so I can put whatever I like it in!

    GwenO – absolutely.

    Sally – luckily, that’s sunset and I can see it from my kitchen :)

    Lisa – thanks, Mom.

    JulieT – Pica’s is awesome. Just get a 2-for-1 and have the second wrapped to go :) The duck breast prosciutto is like any other prosciutto – just slice thin and serve as is or with crackers, cheese, bread, etc. like salumi :)

    Liz – how about fried egg AND smoked salmon?! YES!!

    Margie – I’m jealous again about your garden!

    Kathy – say hi to John for me! xo

    Vespa – you’re welcome!

    Caroline – Deb is da woman, for sure. Hope you enjoyed the bagels and cream cheese :)

  17. Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence says:

    Those burritos look legit! Have you tried the breakfast burrito at Snooze?

  18. jenyu says:

    Brandon – ahh, I’ve never been to snooze. Not much of a breakfast girl :) xo

  19. Kelli says:

    This is the second time making this recipe and I love it! This time around I added some leftover sundries tomatoes and subbed baby kale for spinach since I already had it and added a bit of garlic powder. Soooooo yummy!

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