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Creamy White Bean and Artichoke Spread

Are there any other football wives out there? Those of you in the football wife club know and understand the vibe that is going on right now in the household…I heard it loud and clear tonight from my husband. He can not wait until football season. We are definitely a college football family (our mascot is bright green and our school colors are orange and blue) so once August hits the anticipation is very clear…in just a few more weeks our weekends will revolve around football…and food.

I love planning game day food. It’s different every week. Some Saturdays I’ll put on a big pot of chili, while others are more about light bites that carry us through the day, especially for those late afternoon games. I’m a big fan of dips, especially bean dips. They are hearty but light at the same time.

This Creamy White Bean and Artichoke Spread is one that is sure to please everyone…especially when served with warmed or grilled pita bread. It is sure to hit the spot while you’re cheering for your favorite team…or if you’re just in the mood to munch.

This creamy dip is filled with tons of flavor and not a lot of guilt. Serve with grilled pita bread and crudites for a great appetizer.

Creamy White Bean and Artichoke Spread on Whole Wheat Pita
Recipe created for Bush’s Beans by Connie Gutterson, PhD, RD author of “The New Sonoma Diet Cookbook” and “The Sonoma Diet Cookbook”

1 TB olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic, chopped (I added a lot more…2 cloves!  I like my garlic!)
4 TB celery, diced
1 cup artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained or frozen and thawed
4 oz low fat cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 can Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
1 pinch cayenne (optional)
2 TB chives
1 TB lemon juice
1 TB extra virgin olive oil (for drizzling at end)
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in small saute pan over medium heat. Add garlic and celery and cook until garlic is aromatic, approximately 20 seconds. Add artichokes and saute until artichokes are slightly browned, approximately 5-8 minutes. Set aside and cool in refrigerator.

Combine cream cheese and 1/2 can of beans in food processor. Add cayenne (optional). Process until smooth. Add in cooled artichoke mixture. Puree until slightly chunky. Add chives. Season with lemon juice, additional olive oil and salt and pepper.

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