Backyard Summer Entertaining Pt 1: My Famous Spinach Dip & Wine Spritzers

Summer to me is all about carefree outside fun. The Essential Three B's: Beach days, BBQ's, and Bonfires! Although here in San Diego we have been experiencing an unfortunate case of June Gloom weather, I didn't let that put a damper on my past Saturday Summer fun. After a long walk on the beach, I whipped up a batch of my famous spinach dip along with some wine spritzers and spent the evening snuggled up outside with my boyfriend watching the sunset. Later that night, we even made one of the other Essential B's...a Bonfire...and roasted marshmallows for Nutella S'mores the Pt 2 of Backyard Summer Entertaining post coming soon! Only in summer can spinach dip and s'mores count as a logical dinner choice...exactly why its my favorite time of the year :)

So I know I'm proclaiming my Spinach Dip as famous and although its not on the cover of Bon Apetit, it is one of my claim to fames with my group of friends so hey close enough right?! I always make this dish for girls nights-even if I want to try something else, I always get guilt tripped into "not breaking tradition and pleaseeee make the yummy spinach dip"! I also always make this dip as an appetizer on Christmas Eve and my brother continually eats the entire bowl himself. And truthfully, I'm always secretly happy its requested because I myself am equally addicted.
I found this recipe in a magazine article years ago and its a copycat recipe from Mimi's Cafe Spinach Dip. I've had it there and I love it, but for some reason it just doesn't taste as good as the homemade version. Although I've made some tiny tweaks, I've pretty much stayed true to the recipe but my version seems to have a different texture...much more spinach, artichokes, and sundried tomatoes and hey that makes it SO much healthier right ;) 
The base of the recipe is combining chopped spinach, artichokes, sundried tomatoes, and garlic with three cheeses (parmesan, swiss, and jack), mayo, and alfredo sauce. What is nice about this recipe is that its cooked on the stovetop inside of the oven so its done much faster and you aren't stuck with a hot kitchen-making it a perfect summertime treat! 
I mostly like to serve it with baguette slices...but I've also served it with tortilla chips and crudites and its equally as delicious. Its so creamy and cheesy, but has a nice tang from the sundried tomatoes and artichokes, and does pack a heaping serving of spinach. 
Its a great appetizer, but do know that its so filling and hard to walk away from that if you don't have a large amount of guests I would be impressed if you still have room for dinner!
WARNING: Don't make this dip if you don't want to become famous in your group of friends too and be required to make this dish for every get together...because it will happen!
Wine Spritzers were the perfect pairing to cut the richness of the dip and as a refreshing summertime cocktail! They couldn't be easier to make, just add some seltzer water, lemon and lime slices, and ice cubes to some cheap white wine. They're inexpensive, pretty, bubbly, and contain wine..what could be better?!
ps...Can I admit that my boyfriend and I completely demolished this dip...yes the whole thing by the end of the night! I guess I wasn't thinking of the 4th Essential B of Summertime...a Bikini eeek!!! 

Famous Spinach Dip

6 oz grated parmasan cheese
4 oz grated jack cheese
2 oz grated swiss cheese
1 cup artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, drained and chopped
12 oz spinach, chopped
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 to 3/4 cup jarred alfredo sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
pepper to taste
baguette slices or tortilla chips or crudites to serve

Combine the three cheeses, artichoke hearts, spinach, and sundried tomatoes in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, mix together the mayo, alfredo sauce, garlic, and pepper. Pour this mixture onto rest of ingredients and mix well. Adding additional alfredo sauce if the mixture seems too dry. 

Heat dip in a large pan over medium heat until mixture is completely hot through, cheese has melted, and it begins to bubble. Serve immediately with baguette slices, tortilla chips, or crudites.

Adapted from Mimi's Cafe