Recipe For Health
by Corporate Chef Kurt Kwaitkowski
Featured Food: Medjool Dates Yield: 12 Learn more about Medjool Dates


  • 24 medjool dates
  • 24 walnut halves, roasted
  • ½ c. goat cheese
  • 12 slices of bacon, halved


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Pit the dates: slit each date along one long side, open it like a book, and remove the pit.

Tuck one walnut half and a teaspoon or so of goat cheese into each date, close it, and pinch lightly to seal the date closed. Wrap one-half strip of bacon around each date and secure with a toothpick. Place on a baking tray.

Bake in pre-heated oven for 10 to 20 minutes, or until bacon is slightly browned. Move to paper towel to drain, then to a serving platter. Serve warm.

Learn More About Medjool Dates

Dates are not your typical dried fruit. These little jewels of the desert ripen on the tree and, because of hot and arid conditions, can be sun-dried in place. Then they are harvested, cleaned, sorted, and packaged fresh from the palm trees they grow on.

Why does that matter? Well, because dates are not fully dehydrated, they don’t have an extended shelf life like raisins and other dried fruits despite being found alongside them in the grocery store. Stored at room temperature, they will keep for 6 weeks. Go ahead and put them in the fridge, though, because they’ll keep there for 6 months, or in the freezer for a year.

Prior to the early 20th century, dates were pretty much unknown to Americans. Beginning around 1900, Southern California’s Coachella Valley became home to groves of date palms, now expanded to include strips of desert in Arizona and Mexico. Deglet noor and medjool continue to be the two main production varieties for US growers.

Of all 3,000 varieties of dates, medjool dates are the largest measuring over 2 inches in length. They are plump, moist, and meaty with tender skins. Flavorful, too, with hints of wild honey, caramel, and cinnamon. Their skin has a slight shimmer because of the natural sugar crystals which sometimes migrate to the outside of the date giving them a white, powdery coating.

Dates are stone-fruits, easily pitted by cutting a slit along the side and popping out the pit. For use in baking, it works well to snip dates into pieces with kitchen shears. Direct from the package, dates make a sweet snack and a delightful addition to an appetizer platter with nuts and cheese. Savory uses include steaming with couscous or rice, or cooking in a tangine with lamb or chicken as in traditional North African cuisine. Medjool dates, once pitted, have a nice size cavity for stuffing with nuts, cheese, or both as in our featured recipe.

Peggy Crum MA, RD

Featured Recipes

Recipe For Health

Rhubarb & Strawberry Crisp

Combine tart rhubarb with sweet strawberries, add a streusel topping, and bake until bubbly. Dessert doesn’t get easier—or more classic—than this. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. You’re sure to get rave reviews!

Recipe For Health

Farro Salad with Grilled Vegetables

Chewy farro grains are delicious in this autumn-y salad. Recipe yields enough for dinner for 2 to 4 with some left for a couple of lunches. To do this, make the base with dressing, farro, and grilled veggies. Add fresh veggies to the base as you go.

Recipe For Health

Pecan and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

Roasting amps up the flavor in everything including pecans. Chef Kurt's attention to detail takes a traditional chocolate chip cookie to another level of yum!

Recipe For Health

Onion Soup

Onions, the simplest of pantry staples, mingle with butter, broth, and herbs to become luxuriously smooth and delicious. Add "homemade" croutons and a blend of cheeses to make a complete and satisfying meal.

More Food and Nutrition Recipes

Find a Recipe

Browse all recipes

Find a Class

Browse all courses

Search Health4U

Food and Nutrition Counseling Services

Food and Nutrition Counseling Services provides you with access to accurate health and lifestyle information, helping you to explore new behaviors and skills, and identifying useful campus and community resources.

MSU community members eligible for food and nutrition counseling services include faculty, staff, graduate assistants, retirees and the spouses/partners of members of these groups.

To schedule an appointment with Health4U you are not required to email us from your MSU email address; please email us from the email address you are most comfortable with. 

Read More

Departmental Services

The goal of department based services is to provide work units and colleagues the opportunity to learn about health and wellness as a group activity or exploration.  

Read More

Health e-Guide

This guide has been discontinued and is no longer viewable.

Visit Health e-Guide