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Blue Cheese and Date Spread

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Cuisine: American Dip

> Perfect for: luncheons, Super Bowl parties, cocktail parties.
> Make and take: Mix ingredients and pack in a colorful storage container to transport.
> Made famous by: Ann Sprague of Smyrna, who got the recipe from neighbor Velinda Warda. "It has since become one of my all-time favorites, no matter what time of year, " Sprague said. "Even people who profess not to like blue cheese or dates love it."
Serve this tangy spread chilled or at room temperature with celery sticks and crackers.

Hands on time: 5 minutes  Total time: 15 minutes  Serves: 40


    1 cup chopped pecans
    3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
    4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
    2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 8 ounces)
    1 (8-ounce) package chopped dates


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread pecans on a baking sheet and toast 5 minutes. In the meantime, in a large mixing bowl, combine (by hand or using an electric mixer), cream cheese, blue cheese and cheddar cheese. Stir in dates and toasted pecans.


> Tip: "It makes a lot, but the recipe can easily be halved, " Sprague said.


Per serving: 128 calories (percent of calories from fat, 73), 4 grams protein, 5 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 11 grams fat (6 grams saturated), 27 milligrams cholesterol, 125 milligrams sodium.

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