Friday, December 28, 2012

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

I am often asked where I find my recipes. I really don't have the time nor the desire to create a recipe from the ground up. That takes plenty of work, there are test kitchens that do that sort of thing for a living. So how do I proceed? I find a recipe--in a cookbook, magazine, on a cooking show, on a blog etc, etc. There are so many recipes floating around. So I find a recipe that looks like something we might like. I make it once exactly as written. If it's good I make it a second time and give it my own spin. Take away ingredients, change quantities, reduce recipe size to fit our smaller family, etc,etc. Then if it is delicious I will photo it and blog about it. Now I have made many recipes that were said to be winners that just didn't work for me. These did not make it to my blog. Really only the best of the best recipes go on my blog.

This may explain occasional lulls in my posting. If I make a few bad dishes (or it's a busy week and we really just eat omelets),  I refuse to blog about them just to blog. My blog is for my family and friends, I'm not getting paid. I blog because I love to cook, eat and share this passion.  I have made many dear friends along the way.

I hope you enjoy my recipes--I will always credit my source, in turn I hope you will do the same. I love your comments, a comment always makes my day!  Let me know if you make something you find on the blog and how you liked it. I welcome questions--I will do my best to find an answer.  I am also open to requests, send me your favorite recipe - I'd love to try it.

Thanks, Cindy

Now here is what you really came for... a recipe!

Here is the perfect winter soup, served with sticky rice it is delicious. I've made it several times and many people have enjoyed it. It's a 30 minute dish inspired by a recipe in Cooks Country--a great little/big magazine. Here is our revised recipe:

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
3 scallions, white parts minced, greens sliced on the diagonal
4 tablespoons minced cilantro
1 tablespoon red curry paste
1 1/2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 can low sodium chicken broth
1 can coconut milk
1 pound boneless skinless chicken tenders, cut down the center of the tenders, lengthwise and slice in 1/4 slices
1 sweet potato, peeled, quartered and sliced in 1/4 inch slices
1/2 red pepper sliced
 1 large lime--juiced
Heat the oil in a large sauce pan over medium high heat until shimmering.
Add scallion whites, 2 tablespoons of the cilantro and curry paste. Cook until fragrant about one minute. Stir in one teaspoon of the fish sauce, chicken broth and coconut milk. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
Increase heat to medium high, add chicken, sweet potato and red pepper. Cook until chicken is no longer pink and potato is tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and pour in a serving bowl. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce, lime juice, green onion tops and rest of cilantro.
Pour soup over a bowl full of sticky rice and enjoy!

Some have questioned my 30 minute meals? They really can be done in 30 minutes if you have a bit of prep done or if you have a sous chef! I like to chop veggies in the morning so at dinner time I really can pull off a 30 minute meal.

But if you have to run to the storage room several time to get needed items, thaw meat, chop veggies etc. 30 might be stretching it. But preparation pays off big time when getting dinner on the table. Good luck. Practice, practice, practice. Cooking is a skill that can be perfected. But I do love to chop veggies!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Cinnamon Bun Popcorn

I delivered a bag of Cinnamon Bun Pop Corn to my friend--Nancy declared it 'just perfect'. I would have to agree this is one delicious treat. Be prepared to get it out of the house quickly because self control may not exist when this is in the house.
My daughter Jill makes this for a local boutique--it is always requested and sells out within minutes. One just can't make it fast enough! Make a batch for your family--share a little too.

Cinnamon Bun Popcorn
12 cups popped corn--I like to use a hot air popper
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup Karo
1/2 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 ounces white chocolate
Put popcorn and pecans in a very large bowl. Combine brown sugar and and cinnamon in a 2 quart glass bowl mix well. Chop butter in chunks and add to bowl, pour Karo syrup over all. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, just to soften the butter, stir to combine. Return to microwave and heat for 2 minutes. Remove and stir and then microwave for 2 minutes more. It should be bubbly. Remove from microwave and stir in baking soda and vanilla, it will bubble and make you smile. Pour the mixture over the popcorn and pecans. Quickly stir and stir until everything is well coated. Spread the mixture on a foil lined jelly roll pan. Bake at 250 for 30 minutes, stir every 10 minutes.
Cool completely, spread on parchment lined surface. Drizzle melted white chocolate over all. Cool till chocolate hardens. Break into pieces and package for Christmas giving. I know I would love a bag of this from my neighbor!
Printable Recipe
This recipe comes from Our Best Bites, where all good cooks hang out!

One year ago----Orange, Cranberry Muffins or The Best Muffin Ever!
Two years ago---Christmas Advent Calendar
Three years ago--Quick Tomato Basil Soup

Monday, December 3, 2012

Gingerbread Baby Cakes TWD/BWJ

First of all please know that I do love ginger--in any form. I just made Dories Ginger Cookies for a Christmas party and they were delicious. I was excited to make Gingerbread Baby Cakes. I don't own baby pans so I made half a recipe and put it in a 'baby bunt' pan. It was beautiful as you can see. It smelled wonderful. But then I tasted it. I cut myself a small slice and put a big dollop of whipped cream on it. The cream helped for sure--but not enough. It wasn't that the ginger was too strong because all I could tasted was molasses.
I had my husband taste it, his comment was, 'that's really a waste of whipped cream'. You will have to check out other TWD bloggers and see how they felt, we gave it at least 2 thumbs down.
I'll stick to Dories All In One Holiday Cake.

But I do have a darling granddaughter, you can enjoy her!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pepperoncini Beef

I'm sure you are probably tired of turkey about now. But family gatherings continue, parties and activities fill your calendar. Do I have a great recipe for you. It is simple and delicious. I have made it twice in the past two weeks, that's how good it is. I found the recipe over at Our Best Bites which is not surprising because their blog is awesome and Kate and Sara are amazing too.

Pepperoncini Beef
Salt and pepper a two to three pound beef roast, I like a Rump Roast. Heat a little olive oil in a pan until hot. Brown roast on all sides. Yes I know this dirties a pan but just trust me on this one. You really want a nicely browned roast. 
Put the browned roast in a crock pot. Top with 4-5 cloves of garlic, pressed. Pour contents (juice and all) of a 16 ounce jar of Pepperoncini pepper rings over the roast. Put the lid on and cook till very tender. You could cook it on low all day or on high for a shorter time. All crock pots seem different. You want it fall apart tender.
Remove roast from crock pot place on a cutting board. When cool enough to handle either shred or slice the beef. Using an immersion blender blend pepper/juice mixture. Drizzle some of the juice over the beef--maybe half. It adds moisture to the meat as well as flavor. Put the remaining on the table to add as needed.
Spread a little butter and mayo on a crusty roll. Pile on meat and top with provolone cheese. Put sandwich under the broiler just to melt the cheese and heat up the roll. Be prepared to eat one of the best sandwiches ever. I'm a non beef eater but these were excellent. It's easy and feeds a crowd. Perfect for the coming holidays.
Feeds about 8 adults.

Monday, November 26, 2012

SRC Fresh Mango Salsa

Fresh Mango Salsa
2 cups diced mango, fresh
1/2 cup diced red pepper
3 tablespoons diced jalapeno pepper
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice from 1 large lime
Salt to taste
Mix together and chill.

This delicious recipe comes inspired from Secret Recipe Club blogger Shirley. I've had a great time getting to know Shirley thru her blog Enriching Your Kid. I think she is from India, she is a Clinical Psychologist by profession but now a stay at home mother with young children. She is passionate about feeding her children delicious nutritious meals. Her blog chronicles these recipes. Having raised 6 children I know the challenges facing parents as they strive to serve nutritious meals. I have nothing but praise for parents that make eating healthy a priority. 
 Many of the ingredients in Shirley's blog were unfamiliar to me. But I think salsa is a universal food. There are many different varieties of mangoes at her market. I think I have seen two different types here. Thanks to Costco we can get mangoes most anytime. Ripe mangoes are sweet and delicious; add just a few extra ingredients and you have a yummy treat. This salsa is great on chicken or fish but I like to just eat it with chips!
The Secret Recipe Club is a great way to meet new bloggers.  

Monday, November 19, 2012

TWD/BWJ Best Ever Brownies

I feel that I am somewhat of an expert on the subject of brownies. I have been making them for about 50 years! I tend to enjoy more of the 'cakey' variety of brownies so I was a bit concerned when I read that this recipe was 'chewy' and if I liked 'cakey' brownies to just move on. Well I couldn't move on, this was the recipe and I trust Julia so I approached this recipe with an open mind. 
 They brownies came together quickly. I did spray my pan--I used a nine inch stoneware pan as the recipe suggested. The batter was smooth and chocolaty. I cooked the recipe for about 7 minutes longer than the recipe stated. I did sprinkle chopped pecans on top of half of the pan, I love pecans. I chilled the brownies and tried to cut them with a sharp very clean knife. The top cracked--not the most beautiful brownie, but I decided I kind of liked the look.
Now for the taste, absolutely delicious. The brownies were perfect--chewy but not gooey. I think I just might have a new favorite brownie recipe. Thanks Julia once again you have broadened my brownie horizons.
Check A Beautiful Mess for the complete recipe. You really will want to make these.

One Year Ago----Pumpkin Cheesecake with Sour Cream Topping
Two Years Ago--Candise's Cherry Comfort Bars
Three Years Ago-Baked Potato Soup

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Harrison's Favorite Scalloped Potatoes

Cooks like to make others happy with food. When someone comes to visit I always want to make their favorite treat/dish. Seven year old Harrison is a good eater. His mother Amber is a great cook and has introduced her children to a wide variety of food. Amber kids don't want to go to McDonald's, they want Sushi.
Amber made Harrison's Favorite Scalloped Potatoes and sent me a photo to document his joy. Amber is a talented photographer, check out her work on Amber Linderman Photography.

Harrison's Favorite Scalloped Potatoes

2 tablespoons butter
1 onion chopped fine (I used 2 large shallots with excellent results last night)
1 pinch dried thyme (you can use a sprig of fresh thyme if available)
6 medium sized russet potatoes (about 2.5 lbs)- sliced 1/8 inch thick with a mandolin
2 cloves garlic, minced (I used one large one)
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
2 bay leaves
4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
fresh grated Parmesan, to taste
1 cup diced good quality ham

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Melt the butter in a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, 5 minutes. Stir in the thyme, garlic, salt and pepper and cook 30 more seconds. Add the potatoes, broth, cream and bay leaves. If the potatoes aren't nearly covered with liquid, you can add a few more tablespoons of cream/broth (I like mine saucy!) Bring mixture to a simmer, reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook- stirring occasionally until the potatoes are almost tender, about 10 minutes.

Discard the bay leaves. Transfer the mixture to an 8" square baking dish, gently press potatoes into an even layer and sprinkle the top with the cheddar/ Parmesan mixture.  Bake until the cream is bubbling around the edges and the top is golden brown, about 15- 20 minutes. 

Let cool 10 minutes before serving. 

Enjoy! We sure do...

(and kudos to you food photographers! It's harder than it looks!)
Thanks Amber!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Chex PB and Chocolate Blast

My brother was on his way over to chat with me about computers. He is a pro, I value his opinion. His favorite snack in Chex Party Mix. I checked the pantry and had the Chex but lacked the pretzels, mixed nuts and Goldfish. What to do, I really didn't want to go shopping.
I checked the back of the Chex box, was I surprised. Chex Mixes for every taste. I went for the Chex PB and Chocolate Blast. At first I thought it would never work, he liked salty Chex. I made it, we sampled it and before we knew it the bowl was empty. I sent the remainder home for his 5 kids--I knew they would love it. I was right, he said it didn't last long! Just another yummy recipe to add to your holiday parties.

Chex PB and Chocolate Blast
6 cups Rice Chex
8 ounces white vanilla baking chips
1 cup peanut butter chips
1 cup mini red and green M&M's
1 cup dry roasted peanuts
Place 3 cups of Rice Chex in a bowl. In a small bowl microwave the vanilla chips uncovered on high for about 1 minute--just till they are softened and can be stirred. Pour melted vanilla chip over the 3 cups of Chex. Stir to coat. Pour mixture on a sheet pan in a single layer.
Repeat the above procedure with the remaining Chex and the Peanut Butter Chips. Add the Mini M&M's and peanuts. Combine both mixtures and cool until set. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sticky Apricot Chicken

This dish might take you back to 1980, I think I first made it then. I made it today because I refused to go to the grocery store one more time this week. I saw the recipe on Our Best Bites and realized I had everything in the house to make it, it was dinner. Actually it was lunch, hubby just couldn't eat fast food one more day so I quickly made this dish, had some cooked white rice in the fridge and delivered a 5-star lunch right to his desk. Yes, he loves me!

Sticky Apricot Chicken
 1 1/2 pounds chicken
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 package of Lipton Onion Soup Mix, divided
1/2 cup apricot or peach jam
1/2 cup Catalina Dressing
I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Trimmed of all visible fat, use a very sharp knife for this task. Sprinkle chicken with some Dry Onion Soup Mix about a tablespoon. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet till shimmering. Brown chicken on each side for about 2 minutes. Yes you need to brown the chicken it adds  flavor and color to the dish.
While the chicken is browning mix together cup apricot jam, Catalina Salad Dressing, and 1 tablespoon Dry Onion Soup Mix. Stir these together, pour them in your browning pan and scrape up all the good stuff. Return browned meat to heat proof skillet, drizzle apricot mixture over chicken. Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven till oven thermometer registers 165 degrees. This took just 20 minutes. Larger pieces of chicken or pieces with bone will take a bit longer. Use your thermometer. Serve over white rice for a delicious lunch or dinner. At home I would serve with steamed spinach. At work Greg gets an apple, a yogurt and a couple of mini candy bars.

Just a shout out for Our Best Bites, we heard them speak at Time Out For Women in SLC. They were so much fun. They really do get life, they know what's important. They share a fun side on OBB but in real life they are wives and mothers and they realize the importance of these eternal callings. I have a great amount of respect for them. Their blog is awesome and their cookbooks are perfect gifts, to yourself, your husband, your sister and your mother. They really are full of fun. Thank you Kate and Sara.

Frosted Oatmeal Peanut Butter Bars

Are these not the best looking bars! And believe me they taste delicious. Day one they were yummy, day two they had improved, day three; still yummy. They didn't make it till day four. This makes a large pan, it is perfect to take to a family gathering or just share some with your neighbors.
This recipe comes from Taste of Home, I read through 8 pages of reviews and decided what I needed to do to make these mine. Several reviewers said it lacked peanut butter flavor--I added peanut butter chips, others said it was dry, I didn't overcook it! I added some oatmeal for body and because I love oatmeal.The best change I made was frosting!  Everything is better frosted don't you think. So, I'm happy to share with you:

Frosted Oatmeal Peanut Butter Bars
2/3 cup butter, soft
2/3 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar (7 ounces)
4 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 cup oatmeal, quick
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk chocolate chips
1 cup Reese's Peanut Butter Chips
In the bowl of your mixer cream the butter, peanut butter and sugars. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one, add vanilla. In another bowl combine oatmeal, flour, baking powder, salt and chips. Gradually add to creamed mixture.
I baked mine in a Large Pampered Chef Bar Pan (the only true pan) that had been sprayed with Pam. Bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes. Do Not Over Bake. All ovens bake differently. Remove from oven when a toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs attached. Cool and Frost with my favorite frosting. Cut in bars, clean your cutting knife often in hot water and dry, this will ensure clean cuts.

One Year Ago---Coconut Curry Soup
Two Years Ago--French Dip Sandwiches
Three Years Ago-All in One Holiday Cake

Monday, November 5, 2012

TWD/BWJ Buttermilk Crumb Muffins or Grand Canyon Cakes

My apologies to this wonderful baking group. Something went wrong, terribly wrong. I followed the recipe I didn't mind that the recipe called for Crisco, I didn't mind that it seemed to have plenty of sugar. I just feel bad that they look like the Grand Canyon! I'll blame it on the altitude. When you live at 5000 feet you can do that. It's nice to have somewhere to place the blame. But they did taste wonderful!
Will I make them again and try and figure out what went wrong? Probably not. I'll just move on, there are so many recipes to try. But to all those who think everything I make is wonderful--here is proof, sometimes scary things come out of the oven!
Please check the TWD blogroll, I'm sure there are better photos of this recipe. Alisa will have the complete recipe on her blog. Like I said--they do taste good!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Pepper Jelly

In my quest to be organized for Christmas this year I have been making a few things that can be made ahead. Pepper Jelly is the perfect make ahead treat. One batch makes 14 mini jars. I will give a jar of pepper jelly, a block of cream cheese and a package of Wheat Thins. Tied with a festive ribbon this will make a wonderful little Christmas gift.

The recipe comes right off the Kraft site. When it comes to canned goods I stick to the recipe exactly. So check out Kraft Pepper Jelly made with Certo, it came together quickly and was delicious. Be sure and wear food grade rubber gloves when cutting hot peppers. I've learned the hard way!
Good luck--just try and save some for Christmas! Or make a second batch and just enjoy.

1 year ago--Crock Pot Potato Cheese Soup (one of my most popular recipes)
2 years ago-Black Forest Brownies (my favorite treat, I make them yearly for my birthday)
3 years ago-Baked Potato Soup (hands down family favorite--even those that don't love soup like this)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Paul's Favorite Cookie

I often talk about my girls--this is a cooking blog and my girls cook. But I do have 3 sons. Paul is my middle, middle child. Paul is easy to get along with and a creature of habit. He eats to live--I live to eat. He would be happy with pizza every night. When my kids come to visit I like to make their favorite foods. Paul visited us last week--we enjoyed lunch at Taco Amigo, fresh seafood, homemade pizza and Paul's Favorite Cookie. This cookie is easy to make and yummy. Try it!

Paul's Favorite Cookie
Combine and stir together:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/3 cup flour
1 cup oatmeal
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1 1/2 cup M&M's (may use part chocolate chips)
In another bowl mix together 1 cube butter, very soft (slightly melted), 1 egg, 1 tablespoon vanilla. Combine both mixtures and stir well--you may have to use your hands. Using a medium scoop put cookies on a parchment lined pan. Bake at 350 for about 10-12 minutes.

Paul is an awesome son and a wonderful father. We love Paul and his sweet wife Kaytie. Dean and Baylee complete their family.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom!

A fabulous day is coming to a close. 

October 26th is Cindy/Nana/Mom's birthday!

She is an amazing wife, mother, grandmother, and friend.  The world is a better place because of Cindy!  I am one of the lucky ones that are priveleged to call her "Mom".  She is a mentor, teacher, cheerleader and dear friend to me.  I couldn't imagine a better example.  We love you Mom!

How about you leave her a little comment with some birthday love?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

White Chocolate studded Pumpkin Scones--Frosted of course.

Oh I love pumpkin! I think pumpkin is a vegetable so one should eat it often--especially in scones for breakfast. It is no secret, I love scones. They are my favorite food group. This recipe is a combination of several recipes with my twist. Please enjoy. I made a double batch of scones, unbaked they freeze perfectly. After I cut them I flash freeze them then put them in a Zip Lock Freezer Bag. Make sure you label them. They keep in the freezer for a month. I had an early appointment today--no time to bake. But I remembered the scones in the freezer. They bake from the frozen state, the results were beautiful. I had a delicious treat to gift to my 11:00 appointment. Yes, that is early for this tired body!

White Chocolate Studded Pumpkin Scones--with a Spice Glaze/Frosting
2 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar (3.5 ounces)
1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup very cold butter (I put mine in the freezer for 15 minutes)
1/3 cup heaping buttermilk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
In a large bowl mix together flour, brown sugar, spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With a grater, grate butter into bowl with flour. Mix gently with your hands--you want to see the butter!
Mix together the buttermilk, pumpkin and vanilla. Pour over flour/butter mixture and mix gently. Add white chocolate chips. Mixture will be dry and shaggy. If you must add more buttermilk please only add a drop or two. Pour mixture on a floured piece of parchment. Knead the mass gently 3 or 4 times, it should come together nicely, it will still be quite dry. That's fine. There is plenty of moisture in the pumpkin.
Pat in a circle about 1-1 1/2 inches thick. Cut into 8 triangles. At this point you can bake off a few and freezer the rest. Whatever works for you. I do love having homemade hidden treasures in my freezer. It's like finding gold in a gold mine!
Put the scones on a parchment covered baking stone. Bake at 350 degrees for about 18 minutes. They should feel done to the touch--a toothpick should come out almost clean. Do not over bake, no one likes a dry scone!
Cool scones on a rack. When cool drizzle with this amazing frosting--I like my drizzle to make a statement!

Spice Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 tablespoons butter, very soft
Heavy Whipping Cream
Mix all ingredients, add cream until the desired consistency. Drizzle away!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Almond Joy Meets a Peanut Butter Cup

This delicious confection is exactly what the title says. Two favorite candy bars wrapped into one awesome dessert. And it's easy. Amber needed a quick treat for a baby shower. She had everything in the house to make these, it was a done deal--done delicious I might add. The top layer is chocolate and peanut butter heaven. The base is full on coconut and almonds. It's perfect.

 Almond Joy Meets a Peanut Butter Cup

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 (7-ounce) package flaked coconut
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup slivered almonds
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put butter in a 9x13 baking pan, melt in oven. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs evenly over melted butter.
Top with coconut, almonds & drizzle sweetened condensed milk evenly over
all. Bake 25 minutes or until light brown.
In small saucepan over low heat melt
chocolate chips and peanut butter.
Spread evenly over hot bars.
Cool 30 minutes then chill thoroughly.
Photography by Amber Linderman Photography. Check out her Blog Sassy Chronicles for some great photos! 

Two years ago-----Black Forest Brownies (my favorite food) I make it every year for my birthday! It's perfect.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

It's October and my youngest son's birthday. He requested a roast beef dinner which is not surprising--all our kids like roast beef. I think it must be comfort food, and it's good! I didn't ask Max what he wanted for dessert, what if he said vanilla ice cream? I know he likes cheesecake, chocolate and pumpkin. I checked my Pinterest boards and found the perfect dessert. It is from Better Homes and Gardens. It was a hit, a perfect combination of favorite flavors

1 1/4   cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4      cup sugar
1/3      cup butter
2         8 ounces packages cream cheese, softened 
1 3/4   cups sugar
3         eggs
1         cup canned pumpkin
1/2      teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2      teaspoon vanilla
1/4      teaspoon salt
6         ounces semisweet chocolate, cut up or 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2         tablespoons butter
Combine graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/3 cup melted butter. Press mixture evenly in a greased 9 by 13 inch baking pan.
In a large bowl combine cream cheese and 1 3/4 cups sugar. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating on low speed until just combined. Beat in pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla and salt. Remove 1 1/4 cups of the mixture.
Heat the chocolate and butter on low heat until melted. Whisk chocolate mixture into the 1 1/4 cups pumpkin mixture. Pour over crust, spread evenly and bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes.
Pour the remaining pumpkin mixture over the  baked chocolate layer, spread evenly. Bake for 40-45 minutes more or until filling is puffed and center is set.
Cool for 3 hours. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

One year ago---Pumpkin Cheesecake and the Birthday Boy
Two years ago--Caramel Pumpkin Pie
Three years ago-Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes