Do you guys know what espinaca is? I know my Kansas City-area friends will be familiar with my recipe for this week – Slow-Cooker Espinaca Dip. For those who haven’t heard of it, espinaca is this mouth-watering spinach queso dip. I’ve had it at two popular Mexican chain restaurants in KC – Jose Peppers and Mi Ranchito. It’s definitely a patron favorite!
When I was looking up information about the dip, it dawned on me that I’ve only had the cheesy, velvety dip when I’ve been in Kansas or Missouri. I tried to figure out whether it’s a KC restaurant-novelty, and while most websites I’ve come across mention Jose Peppers or Mi Ranchito, I found a couple websites mention places in New Hampshire. So now, I’m curious. Chime in on the comments if you’ve had espinaca elsewhere, and tell me where.
Regardless of where it comes from, it’s certainly popular throughout KS and MO. Because my dad is an excellent coupon-clipper, my family always gets a free espinaca whenever we dine at Jose Peppers or Mi Ranchito. And KC restaurants have other creative ways to use espinaca other than just as a dip. Both Jose Peppers and Mi Ranchito offer espinaca enchiladas. And Best Regards Bakery & Cafe, located in Overland Park, KS offers an espinaca grilled cheese – holy yum.
Now, I won’t claim this is a healthy recipe. As much as I wanted to avoid using the Velveeta block-type cheese, I couldn’t do it. You see, I tried two versions and Craig (who got freaked just seeing the block of processed cheese) blindly taste-tested the two. I knew the processed cheese would be better, and he confirmed my assumptions. It just melts so much better and has a superior consistency. So I had to go with it when I made apps for our fantasy football draft last week.
But I did slim the recipe down by using Neufchatel (or light cream cheese) and skim milk. It’s 4 WW points which some WW members might find high for a dip, but I promise you: it’s worth it. Save your points up so you can splurge on this. Maybe even save up enough for a double-serving because you’ll probably want it!
In a small skillet, saute jalapeno and onions in broth over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes or until softened.
Add sauted onions and jalapeno to slow-cooker along with the Neufchatel, the Velveeta-like block cheese, Rotel tomatoes & green chilies, spinach, skim milk, chili powder, salt, cumin, and onion powder.
Heat the dip on high for 1 hour or low for 2-3 hours, or until the cheese has completely melted. Turn slow-cooker to warm and serve.
*Recipe can also be made in a saucepan on the stove top. Just heat all ingredient over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until the cheese has melted.