Recipe of the Month – Pecan Pie Cheesecake

I love cheesecake and pecans (not so much pecan pie), but this combination looks like a winner. I will admit I have not had a chance to try this recipe yet, but it certainly on my to-try list.




  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ⅓ cup butter, melted
  • 16 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 teaspoons bourbon whiskey (or Vanilla extract), divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • ⅔ cup maple syrup, or dark corn syrup
  • ½ cup cream, warm to the touch
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cold
  • 2 cups roasted pecan, chopped


Preheat oven to 325°F.

In a bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Stir to combine. Pour the mixture into a 9-inch spring-form pan and press it evenly into the bottom and halfway up the sides. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill.

In a large bowl add the cream cheese, sugar, and milk. With a hand mixer, beat until fluffy and fully incorporated. Add in the sour cream, flour, 2 teaspoons of the bourbon (or vanilla), and the two eggs and gently continue to mix until the cream cheese filling is smooth.

Pour the mixture into the spring-form pan with the graham cracker crust and bake for 1 hour, or until the cheesecake no longer jiggles.

While the cheesecake is cooking, prepare the stove-top pecan pie filling. In a bowl combine the brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt, stir together and pour into a medium saucepan on low heat.

Pour in the egg yolks, maple syrup, and warm cream and whisk until smooth. Cook on low heat until the mixture thickens like a pudding, 5-10 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Stir in the cold butter and the final teaspoon of bourbon (or vanilla extract) and whisk until fully emulsified. The pudding-like mixture should be around room temperature.

Fold in the roasted, chopped pecans and then pour the mixture over the cooked cheesecake and spread it out as an even layer.

Let the cheesecake chill in the refrigerator until completely set. Slice and serve cold or at room temperature.

Yields: 12 servings

Like cheesecake, try these other recipes – Oreo Cheesecake or Pumpkin Cheesecake

Recipe of the Month – Walkabout Onion Soup

For our holiday faculty appreciation lunch at the middle school, we did soups and a salad bar. One of the soups was a copycat of Outback Steakhouse’s Walkabout Onion Soup (which sadly is no longer on their menu.) It was so yummy, I had to feature it on my blog. Now the lady who made our soups didn’t give me the recipe but said it was easy to find online and had Velveeta cheese in it. However, I found two different recipes – one with Velveeta and one without. So you don’t want to use Velveeta, check out the other version here. When I have time, I’ll have to compare the two.


2 cups yellow sweet onions, thinly sliced

2 T. butter

1 15 oz can of chicken broth

1/4 t. salt

1/4 t. pepper

2 chicken bouillon cubes

1/4 cup Velveeta cheese, cubes diced and compressed in measuring cup

1 1/2 cups white sauce (recipe below)


In 2 quart saucepan, melt 3 T. butter and saute onions until soft and clear but not brown. Add chicken broth, chicken bouillon, salt and pepper. Stir. Add white sauce and Velveeta cheese. Simmer on medium low heat, stirring constantly until well blended and cheese melts. Simmer on low for 30 to 45 minutes.

White Sauce 

3 T. butter

3 T. flour

1/4 t. salt

1 1/2 cup milk

In 1 quart saucepan, melt butter. Add flour. Cook on medium heat until flour turns thick and pulls away from sides of pan. Pour milk into pan, a little at a time, stirring constantly. Add salt. Cook until mixture thickens like a thick pudding, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Remove from heat until ready to use in soup.

Serves 4

If you are looking for other soup recipes, check out Zuppa Toscana or Loaded Baked Potato.

Recipe of the Month – Snow Flake Cocoa

I love white chocolate so when I saw this recipe from, I had to try it. Yummy! It reminds me of the white chocolate cocoa that I use to buy at the Spurs Basketball games. It is great for a cold night. And you can replace the white chocolate chips with other flavor chips. This makes 10 servings in a crock pot so this is great for a gathering.


2 cups whipping cream

6 cups milk

1 t. vanilla

1 12-oz package of white chocolate chips


Stir together the whipping cream, milk, vanilla, and white chocolate chips in a slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, until mixture is hot and chocolate chips are melted. Stir again before serving. Garnish with whipped cream and candy canes, as desired.

Serves 10 (433 calories per serving)


Recipe of the Month – Spaghetti and Meatballs

My daughter Lexie has been on a spaghetti and meatballs kick ever since she had “the best” at a Texas Steakhouse in Corpus Christi in June. Now, I have made my own spaghetti meat sauce from scratch before but I hadn’t made spaghetti and meatballs. I found this recipe for meatballs on Now, I made just the meatballs and added them to a jar of Marinara sauce that Lexie likes but I am including the whole recipe including the sauce here.


1 lb. spaghetti
1 lb. ground beef
1/3 c. bread crumbs
1/4 c. finely chopped parsley
1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
1 egg
2 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 c. onion, finely chopped
1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 bay leaf
Freshly ground black pepper


In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook spaghetti according to package instructions. Drain.

In a large bowl, combine beef with bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, egg, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and red pepper flakes. Mix until just combined then form into 16 balls.

In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer meatballs to a plate. (Note: I skipped cooking them in oil and cooked them in the microwave instead.)

Add onion to pot and cook until soft, 5 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Return meatballs to pot and cover. Simmer until sauce has thickened, 8 to 10 minutes.

Serve pasta with a healthy scoop of meatballs and sauce. Top with Parmesan before serving.

Recipe of the Month – Spinach Artichoke Pasta

I love Spinach Artichoke dip. One of our local restaurants serves a Spinach Artichoke pasta which is basically pasta mixed with that delicious dip. Wanting to make my own, I searched the internet and found this recipe on The Pioneer Woman website. Delicious! (This recipe makes a lot so I half it.)





6 T. Butter

4 cloves of garlic, minced

2 bags baby spinach

2 cans artichoke hearts, drained and halved

3 T. flour

3 cups milk

1/4 t. cayenne pepper

1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese

1 1/2 cup Monterrey Jack Cheese, grated

salt and pepper to taste

12 oz (weight) Penne Pasta, cooked

crushed red pepper, to taste


Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large pot or skillet. Add garlic and throw in the spinach. Stir it around until it’s wilted, about 1 minute. Remove spinach from heat and set aside. 

Add 2 tablespoons butter to the same pot and raise the heat to high. Throw in the halved artichokes and stir it around until they get a little color, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the artichokes from the pot and set them aside.

Reduce the heat to low. Add 2 tablespoons butter to the pot. When melted, sprinkle in flour and whisk until it’s combined. Pour in milk and whisk to combine. Let it cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until starting to thicken. Add Parmesan, Monterey Jack, salt and pepper, and cayenne pepper. Stir to melt, and if it’s overly thick, splash in some chicken broth.

Add artichokes and pasta, tossing gently to combine. Gently fold in spinach, then pour the pasta into a serving bowl. Sprinkle the top with crushed red pepper flakes.

Serves 10

Recipe of the Month – Snickerdoodle Cheesecake Bars

Oh, yum! Two of my favorite things – Snickerdoodle and Cheesecake – together! I saw this recipe on Facebook and have been meaning to make it. It had great reviews. Maybe I’ll make this for the next staff appreciation luncheon at the school.




2 (8-oz.) blocks cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
pinch of kosher salt
2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 c. cinnamon sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350º and grease a 9″-x-13″ baking pan with cooking spray.

Prepare cheesecake layer: In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla, and salt and beat until combined.

Prepare snickerdoodle layer: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugars with a hand mixer, then add eggs and vanilla and mix until just combined. Gradually add flour mixture and mix on low until just combined.

Press about half of the snickerdoodle dough into an even layer in the bottom of the pan and sprinkle with half the cinnamon sugar. Pour cheesecake batter on top and smooth with a rubber spatula. Break up remaining snickerdoodle dough into small clumps, flatten slightly with your hands, and place on top of cheesecake layer. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar.

Bake until edges are set and center of cheesecake mixture is only slightly jiggly, about 40 minutes. Let cool completely before slicing into squares.

Yield: 20 servings

Recipe of the Month – Ranch Cheddar Chicken

This is a simple chicken recipe but it is oh, so good. Now both my kids don’t like this but hey, one out of two is better than nothing.




1 cup ranch dressing

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

1 cup seasoned panko bread crubs

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pour ranch dressing in a large bowl. Add chicken to the bowl until chicken is evenly coated. In a separate bowl, mix breadcrumbs, Cheddar cheese and Parmesan cheese. Dredge each chicken breast in the bread and cheese mixture. Arrange chicken on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake the chicken for 20 to 25 minutes until chicken is crisp and an internal temperature of 165 degrees is reached.