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Small Batter Bowl


Festive Holiday Cheese Spread

3/4   cup (175 mL) pecan halves, toasted, divided
2   cups (500 mL) fresh basil leaves
2   tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
1   pkg (8 oz/250 g) shredded Italian cheese blend (2 cups/500 mL), divided
1   jar (12 oz or 370 mL) roasted red bell peppers, drained and patted dry
2   pkgs (8 oz/250 g each) cream cheese, softened
3    garlic clove, pressed
   Assorted crackers or vegetables (optional)
  1. Coarsely process pecans in Manual Food Processor. Set aside 3 tbsp (45 mL) for garnish. Add basil, oil and 1 cup (250 mL) of the cheese to processor. Process until finely chopped.
  2. Transfer basil mixture to a small mixing bowl. Dice peppers and add to mixing bowl; stir until combined. In a medium mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, garlic and remaining cheese. Mix until smooth.
  3. Line Small Batter Bowl with plastic wrap. Spread 2/3 cup (150 mL) of the cheese mixture over bottom of batter bowl. Top with 1 cup (250 mL) of the basil mixture. Spread evenly. Repeat with additional 2/3 cup (150 mL) of cheese mixture and remaining basil mixture. Top with remaining cheese mixture. Cover with lid.
  4. Chill spread one hour or until firm. Remove lid and invert onto serving platter. Remove plastic; top with reserved pecans and serve with crackers or assorted vegetables, if desired.

Yield: 32

Nutrients per serving: (about 1 tbsp/15 mL spread): Calories 100, Total Fat 9 g, Saturated Fat 4 g, Cholesterol 20 mg, Sodium 120 mg, Carbohydrate 1 g, Fiber 0 g, Protein 3 g

Cook's Tips: To make this spread a day ahead, prepare recipe as directed through Step 3 and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.