A couple of days ago we shared a new cover photo on The Thrifty Couple on Facebook and asked you the name of the featured dish. After sharing the correct answer – Hawaiian Haystacks – (congrats Stacy J. for getting the right answer and sharing your tips!) we received many requests for the recipe and thought we would share it.
Now, a quick personal story before we got on with the recipe. In the first ten years of our marriage Alex actually despised it. To be fair, its not that he disliked the meal, but rather the purity of it as he didn’t trust that the combination of ingredients would actually be tasty. So instead of just trying it he kept adding different spices and sauces to try to “improve the flavor”. By his own admission, he never gave my exact combination of ingredients a fair shake. 🙂 But recently, he budged. He told me that if its my favorite he wants to try it exactly as I make it (one of the great aspects of this recipe is you can truly make it your own – see below). He made it and he loved it! – he couldn’t believe that the coconut with all the other ingredients would create such a taste explosion in his mouth! Let’s just say its in his top five favorite meals now!
In addition, this is a family favorite as not only is it delicious, but everyone loves that they can create their own plate and meal just to their liking. Kids seem to eat better when they had a hand in making the meal and so when they create their own plate with veggies piled on, then they will be sure to eat it all up even more 🙂
We prepare this meal a few times a month. It is a meal I pull out too when we need a fridge “clean out.” What I mean is if you have been reading our site for a while, you will note that we spend the majority of our grocery budget on fresh fruits and veggies (see a few of our shopping trip results HERE) and with that, this dish allows for us to see what fruits and veggies are left that need to be eaten soon and throw them into one dish (the same for the stir-fry we make regularly too!). Plus this can be quite a healthy one-dish meal that is also very affordable and easy on the budget too! Double bonus!
First, here are the ingredients for the base of your Hawaiian Haystack:
- Cooked white or brown rice (whatever amount you will need for your family)
- 1 can of cream of chicken soup
- 3/4 cup of chicken broth
- 1-2 cups of diced cooked chicken (check out how we get our diced, cooked chicken for less)
- 1/8 tsp. pepper
- Shredded cheddar cheese (or other variety)
For the Gravy:
- Mix the can of soup, pepper, chicken broth and cooked diced chicken until heated through.
- Then take a scoop of rice on the plate as the bottom layer of your haystack
- Then ladle the gravy over the rice as the second layer
- Then top with the shredded cheese for the third layer
Now for the additional ingredients to create your Hawaiian Stack – you can use any and all of these ingredients and let each one build their own with the toppings they want in any order that they want: Please note, we HIGHLY recommend using the coconut and pineapple for each one and then whatever veggies wanted. Don’t be like Alex and wait for years to actually put the coconut on due to skepticism and miss out 🙂 The combo of the savory gravy with the tropical sweet flavor of the coconut and pineapple alongside the crunch of the veggies is what makes this amazing together!
Here’s some of our recommended/favorite veggies/toppings (share with us some of your favorite toppings in the comments below):
- shredded coconut
- red or green cabbage shredded
- sweet peppers chunked (any color)
- diced tomatoes
- tropical fruit mixtures
- green onions
- fresh chives
- Parmesan cheese
- French’s fried onions
- Lo Mein Noodles
Just pile the remaining ingredients on top and then serve and enjoy!
Ours turns out a little different each time we have it as some veggies will be excluded if we don’t have them on hand. So the picture above is our most recent concoction with the mandatory ingredients (rice, chicken, gravy, and cheese) plus coconut, pineapple, celery, red cabbage, tomato, green onion, parmesan cheese and French’s Fried Onions.
See more of our Recipes to save even more money for a healthier budget and to live healthier lives too!