Spinach and Artichoke Dip (No Mayo!)

I know what you’re thinking, spinach AND artichoke TOGETHER? Sounds gross right? Surprise! It’s not. This dip will be completely gone at ANY party you make it for. It is DE-LIC-IOUS. Trust me.

16 oz cream cheese (ALDI has the cheapest cream cheese)
3 TBSP milk
4 strips of bacon*
8 oz jar of artichoke hearts (ALDI also has the cheapest artichoke hearts, doesn’t matter if they are “marinated” or not)
1 cup frozen spinach
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (use less if necessary)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Cast Iron Skillet (Regular skillets work too, but cast iron skillets retain heat when served and therefore keep the spinach dip warm for extended periods of time– plus it looks cooler)
Bag of tortilla chips (for serving)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Chop the artichoke hearts and frozen spinach into small pieces, and set aside for later usage.
2. Simmer bacon in Cast Iron Skillet on medium, until golden brown on one side, then flip.
3. Once bacon is golden brown on both sides, set aside bacon for later usage. DO NOT THROW OUT THE BACON FAT.
4. Add the chopped up artichoke hearts and frozen spinach to the bacon fat, stirring occasionally, simmer for 5 minutes on medium.
5. Add the cream cheese to the Cast Iron Skillet, and constantly stir the mixture until the spinach/artichoke and the cream cheese are mostly incorporated (about 2 minutes).
6. Add the milk, the garlic powder, and onion powder to the Cast Iron Skillet. Stir until the milk, garlic powder, and onion powder are completely incorporated. Add more milk, one TBSP at a time, if the mixture is too thick until desired consistency is achieved.
7. Smooth the top of the dip with a spatula to make it look prettier.
8. OPTIONAL STEP: this makes the dip look better, because it gives an amazing golden-brown, cheesy, delicious topping BUT it never fails to crack the average tortilla chip eventually (because the topping becomes hard as it cools). Pick your poison. Anyways, sprinkle Parmesan Cheese on top of dip, and brown in oven with broiler for 2 to 4 minutes or until the cheese becomes an amazing golden brown color.
9. Crumble the bacon and put bacon crumbles on top of dip, and serve in the Cast Iron Skillet with tortilla chips on the side!**

Additional Notes-
*This recipe can be made vegetarian if butter (3TBSP) or olive oil is used instead of bacon fat
**Make sure to put a hot-pad underneath the Cast Iron Skillet to prevent the pan from making a permanent mark on your kitchen table or counter