Treat yourself with a slice of this healthy cheesecake in your lunch box. Spread it on thinly sliced French bread or crackers. It is also great served as an appetizer at a dinner party. I like to keep some on hand for a quick snack while I am cooking supper.

1 cup crushed (2 ounces) pretzels

2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

Filling

4 ounces reduced fat feta cheese, crumbled

1 cup part skim milk ricotta cheese

8 ounces Neufchatel (reduced fat) cream cheese

1/2 cup fat-free sour cream

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers

4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil*, divided

dash hot pepper sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 9-inch spring-form pan or a 9-inch pie pan, combine crushed pretzels and butter. Mix well and press in bottom of the pan. In a large bowl, combine feta, ricotta, Neufchatel, and sour cream. Stir to blend. Add eggs and garlic.

Beat with electric mixer until smooth. Stir in red peppers and 3 tablespoon of chopped basil. Pour mixture into baking pan. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes, or until center is just about set. (The center should jiggle slightly.) Cool 30 minutes. Loosen edges with knife. If a spring-form pan was used, remove sides of pan and place base of pan and cheesecake on serving plate. Sprinkle top with remaining finely chopped basil.

Cut into thin wedges and serve with crackers or baguette French bread. Serve warm or chilled.

*In place of the basil, use 1 teaspoon of you favorite dried herbs. I like the Lawry's Pinch of Herbs which is a classic herb blend that includes, basil, oregano, rosemary, and thyme.

Serves 12

Nutritional Information per serving without the crackers:

Calories 145

Fat, gm. 10

Protein, gm. 7

Carbs, gm. 7

Cholesterol, mg. 60

Fiber, gm. 0.3