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Chicken-Artichoke-Cheese Spread Gift Box

Yield 1 cheese box (24 appetizer servings)
Bring the retro appetizer that everyone at the party's talking about. Chill a chicken-cream cheese spread in a loaf pan, then make it into the shape of a box by cutting the loaf in half crosswise and placing one half on top of the other.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups diced cooked chicken
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and diced
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted
  • 4 green onions, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned pepper
  • Garnishes: 7 to 8 green onion stems and 1 red chile pepper, halved

How to Make It

  1. Stir together first 9 ingredients in a large bowl until blended; spoon into a straight-sided 9- x 5-inch loafpan lined with plastic wrap. Cover and chill 8 hours, or freeze up to 1 month; thaw in the refrigerator 8 hours.

  2. Invert chilled mixture onto a serving plate; remove plastic wrap. Cut loaf in half crosswise; place 1 cut half directly on top of remaining cut half, and smooth sides. Serve with crackers or toasted French baguette slices.

  3. Garnish, if desired, by plunging green onion stems in boiling water; plunge stems into ice water to stop the cooking process. Immediately transfer to paper towels; drain stems, and press between paper towels to dry. Press stems into sides of cheese square, beginning with the end of one stem on each side. Bring stems up and over to center of top; form loops with remaining stems, and secure with wooden picks. Arrange chile pepper halves on top.

  4. Note: To make 2 small boxes, cut in half, and garnish each half, if desired.