Monday Meal Makeover: Mini Cheesecakes

Cheesecake ingredients:

2 teaspoons unsalted butter, softened

1 slice bread, processed in a food processor to make 1/2 cup bread crumbs

1 cup (one 8-ounce container) whipped cream cheese

2 large eggs

1/4 cup sour cream

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese, like Stilton or Roquefort

Salad ingredients:

3 cups arugula or butterhead lettuce

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

Dash salt and freshly ground pepper


For the mini cheesecakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously coat four small (3/4-cup) soufflé molds with the butter. Divide the bread crumbs among the molds and coat the bottoms and sides heavily with the crumbs, pressing them onto the buttered dish so they stick.

Put the cream cheese in a medium bowl and add the eggs, sour cream, salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon of the parsley. Mix well with a whisk and divide among the soufflé molds. Sprinkle the crumbled blue cheese on top of the cream cheese mixture in the molds. Top with the remaining 1 tablespoon parsley.

Arrange the molds on a baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes. The cheesecakes will still be slightly wet and soft in the center. Let cool for 10 minutes before unmolding.

For the salad: Meanwhile, toss the lettuce leaves with the oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper. Arrange on four plates.

Invert each cooled mini cheesecake into one of your hands to unmold it, then turn it over so it is right side up and place it in the center of one of the plates on top of the lettuce. Serve immediately.

Recently, Pépin was awarded the highest honor by the French government and holds the title of Chevalier de l'Ordre National de la Legion d'Honneur. Pépin is the host of many popular public television programs, including his latest series "Jacques Pépin: More Fast Food My Way." His memoir, "The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen," was published by Houghton Mifflin in 2003 and his most recent book, published by Stewart Tabori & Chang in April 2007, is a visual biography: "Chez Jacques: Traditions and Rituals of a Cook."

Pépin shared the spotlight with Julia Child in an earlier PBS series, which is still shown occasionally on public television stations today. This 22 show series, "Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home," was the winner of The James Beard Foundation’s award for Best National Cooking Show in 2001, and the duo received a Daytime Emmy award that same year.