Chris' Recipes

Bon Appetite!

Stuffed Artichoke Bottoms, with Parmesan and Mozzarella

Written By: Chris - Apr• 18•16

So not too many years ago, I discovered artichoke bottoms.  Yes, I love fresh artichokes but they can be expensive to buy and laborious to trim and cook.  Many brands also sell artichoke bottoms but keep in mind that they’re harder to find than the hearts in most stores.  Be sure to look for the type that are not marinated in oil.  The bottoms are meatier and I think can be a better choice if you’re going to stuff them like you would a large mushroom cap.

I’ve often thought whomever was the first person to eat a fresh artichoke had to be very hungry. That’s because an artichoke, which is the bud of a thistle plant, is like a food wearing a coat of armor.  According to legend, the artichoke was created when the smitten Greek god Zeus turned his object of affection into a thistle after being rejected. Despite this prickly beginning, the ancients considered the artichoke full of health benefits, using it as an aphrodisiac, a diuretic, a breath freshener, and even a deodorant.

The artichokes we eat are actually the buds of a purple flower that can grow more than 3 feet tall.  They are actually quite beautiful!  Because of their tough exterior, artichokes take some careful preparation. But your efforts will reap nutritional rewards as the veggie is a good source of folate, dietary fiber, and vitamins C and K.  Artichokes are also packed with antioxidants; they’re number 7 on the USDA’s top 20 antioxidant-rich foods list.

I think canned artichokes are usually a better value than the frozen and are packed in water, salt, and citric acid to keep them from discoloring.

This is a recipe I came up using ingredients that I had on hand when I was looking for something that could quench my “artichoke dip” craving.  A friend of mine had recently brought over some delicious stuffed mushrooms, which were also very low in weight watchers points; and although these stuffed artichokes were not as rich as her shrooms, they were sure delicious!

I suspect that I’ll be creating more versions soon as you could easily change thing up.  Try using jarred roasted red peppers; or sun-dried tomatoes and goat cheese;  How about green peppers, and onions with swiss cheese; or just about any other combination you might come up with!  I can easily see them stuffed with a protein as well for a nice low carb option.  I’m including Weight Watchers *SmartPoints™

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Ingredients: 

1 7.4 oz. can Artichoke Bottoms (scan, some brands have points) 
2 Tablespoons Onions, caramelized
1/3 Cup Red/Yellow Bell Peppers, caramelized 
1 teaspoon Olive Oil (if used to cook onions and peppers) *1
1 Cup Arugula, chopped 
1 teaspoon Garlic Salt
3 Tablespoons Parmesan Cheese, grated *2
1/4 Cup Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese, grated *2

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All canned artichokes should be gently rinsed with cool water to remove excess salt, and then left to drain completely, squeezing out any excess liquid with a paper towel.  The can I used had five bottoms in it.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  (I chose to use the grill as an oven, placing the baking dish on the top rack because it was already on!)

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Simply chop the cooked vegetables and combine them with the seasoning salt, chopped arugula and parmesan cheese.  Mix in half of the mozzarella and reserve the other half for topping the stuffed artichoke bottoms.

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Stuff the bottoms with the filling and top with the remaining mozzarella cheese.  Place on a baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Bake for about 20 minutes or so – until the filling is heated all the way through and the cheese is melted and browning on top.

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We enjoyed these as a side dish to some grilled salmon and asparagus.  They would make a perfect appetizer as well!

Two stuffed bottoms equals two Weight Watchers *SmartPoints™

Enjoy!
Cheers!
~Chris

 

 

 

 

 

 

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