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Gooey Spinach, Bacon and Cheese Loaf

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Rating: 5   Reviews: 1 See Reviews
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Active Time:  20 Minutes
Total Time:  1 Hour
  Serves 10
Here, to dispel memories of those long ago potluck bread-and-butter sandwiches, is a big, hot, gooey and utterly satisfying pull-apart bread creation that will have everyone asking for the recipe. It's especially nice if you know that the main course is going be something simple - soup, for example - since it's rich and filling. It can also be served as a sturdy appetizer before a light entrée - although worrying about "balancing the menu" denies the essentially anything-goes nature of a potluck.
6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed through press
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or to taste
One 16-ounce container frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup grated domestic (mild, moist) romano cheese
6 strips thick-cut bacon, cooked until almost-crisp, chopped
One 18-inch long, thick, baguette-style loaf of soft (not crusty) bread, halved horizontally
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
Mix cream cheese, mayonnaise, pepper sauce and half of garlic in large bowl until well blended. Stir in spinach, 1/3 cup Romano cheese and bacon. Spread spinach mixture evenly over cut side of bottom of bread loaf. Set loaf top in place. With long serrated knife, carefully cut loaf crosswise into 8 or 10 pieces. On large sheet of heavy-duty foil, reassemble loaf. Draw foil up around loaf and crimp it tightly at top. The loaf can be prepared to this point up to 4 hours ahead. Refrigerate if desired.

Set the loaf on a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan for transport. In a small storage container with a tight-fitting lid, mix together the remaining Romano cheese, butter and the remaining garlic.

Let loaf come to room temperature if chilled. Soften butter-and-Romano mixture if hard. Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Set loaf on its sheet pan on rack. Bake 20 minutes. Open foil packet and fold it down to expose the surface of the loaf. Spread the butter-cheese mixture evenly over the loaf top, using it all. Return loaf to oven and bake until top is nicely browned and spinach filling is very hot, another 20 to 25 minutes.

Carefully remove loaf from foil and transfer to cutting board or serving platter. Serve immediately.

Recipe created exclusively for by Michael McLaughlin.

Recipe reprinted by permission of . All rights reserved.
Date Added: 01/01/2008
Nutrition Facts per Serving
Yield:   Serves 10
Calories: 209
Fat. Total: 20g
Fiber: 1g
Carbohydrates, Total: 3g
Sodium: 269mg
% Cal. from Fat: 86%
Cholesterol: 42mg
Protein: 6g
Spotlight Recipe Review See all 1 reviews »

Rating: 5
by: Joann Reviewed: 11/16/2009
I took this to a potluck supper and everyone was glad I did. I used a french loaf and 4 garlic cloves instead of 2. I will bake at 350 degrees next time as the bread started to brown too much. I will definately make this one again.
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