Recipes and Cooking Ideas for Homemakers and Amateur Cooks


Posted on April 28, 2011
Filed Under Easy meals, Main dishes

I’ve been hungry for haystacks since February. Yeah, I know. You’d think I’d have made them before now, what with being in charge of the food around here and all! :roll: How I know it was February is because for a couple weeks in a row, the church bulletin had “Haystack Supper Fundraiser: Friday eve, Feb 25″ in the Upcoming Events section for this area. Seeing that every week got me more and more in the mood for them and THEN we ended up not going to the fundraiser! So, to make a long story short (after I already told the long story), last night was the night, and I finally got my haystacks craving satisfied. Man, I could dig my fork into this pile all over again!


Haystacks are kind of a ‘to each his own’ thing, so there’s not really a set way to do them… the components vary and the order of stacking varies. So, I’ll just show you how we like them and you can tweak it from there. I use the term ‘we’ loosely because I’m the only one who likes rice on it and the tomatoes are not very popular among the little people around here.

Speaking of rice, the rice totally flopped last night. I mean really. Rice. How hard can it be… get it to boiling in a pan and then let it simmer for 45 min WITHOUT lifting the lid, then when time’s up, you lift the lid and there is your rice, magically perfectly done, fluff it with a fork and put it on the table. Well, *ahem*. I now know what happens when you accidently put in too little water. The magic doesn’t happen. Half of the grains are fluffily cooked and half of them look like you just dumped them out of the bag and half of them look partially cooked— ok, I think I got too many halves here, but you get the picture. I noticed it when I was about to dish everything up, so I put more water in, cranked the burner to High and cooked the rice like crazy for about 10 minutes. It worked ok and was soft enough to eat.

Here are the components to our haystacks. We thought of salsa later, so that’s missed on the picture.


Here’s the order I layer it in:
— Corn chips, slightly crushed (you can also use crackers, but I like the extra flavor and crunch of chips)
— Rice
— Meat mixture (brown hamburger with onion, then add a packet of taco seasoning and a can of kidney beans)
— Cheese sauce (1/4 cup melted butter, 2 Tbsp flour, 1 cup milk; bring to boil, then stir in 1 cup cheddar or Velveeta)
— Lettuce
— Diced tomatoes (can also open and drain a can of diced tomatoes, a handy time-saver tip from my friend Linda Y.)
— Shredded cheese
— Salsa

Maybe there is something I miss that would make haystacks even better, so if you make them different than this and if you feel like it, I’d love to hear what variations you do to haystacks!


While I was making this, I was thinking that this would be a good meal option for those it’s-4:30pm-and-I’m-staring-in-the-fridge/freezer/cupboards-for-a-menu-inspiration moments. Or maybe you guys never do that… I do it more often than I care to admit. Anyway, I think I’m going to keep this meal option on hand from now on… The rice takes very little time to get it to simmering, the meat would be fast (especially if it would be already browned in the freezer), cheese sauce takes very little time and the rest of the stuff is basically just putting it on the table… which the kids did last night. Actually, this meal isn’t far away from the kids totally doing!

Speaking of which, my goal this summer after Lexi gets out of school is to perfect about 5 good, but easy enough, meals that the girls can do by themselves. Then, once in awhile, I can say, “Hey, you guys go make ____________ for supper, please.” ???? Haystacks may just be on that list.

Not sure what’s up next, but it’s seems like f.o.r.e.v.e.r since I’ve made or eaten sinful chocolatey richness, so I see that in my future for this weekend. And since I have to feature it on here in order to make it ‘legal’, that might just be coming up next……….


26 Responses to “Haystacks”

  1. Connie Stoll on April 28th, 2011 11:11 am

    We love haystacks for family get-togethers! We use crackers and corn chips, rice, meat sauce with beans seperate because there are always those who don’t like beans.:) Onions, sunflower seeds, tomatoes, lettuce and for a quick cheese sauce use canned cheddar cheese soup with some milk. Yum! Your post made me want some!

  2. Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary on April 28th, 2011 2:19 pm

    Oh we call these Frito Pies. I was looking for the haystacks saying, maybe they are coming up after the Frito Pies, lol. I guess it’s a cultural things. We never added rice though. Great addition!

  3. Shannon on April 28th, 2011 2:27 pm

    Now guess who’s hungry for haystacks! ????

  4. Larinda High on April 28th, 2011 2:33 pm

    We do Ritz crackers, rice, meat with chilli beans, lettuce, tomatoe, onion, green olives(a must have at this house), salsa, sour cream, cheese sauce, jalopeno pepper rings. We had hay stacks at our wedding:) We LOVE haystacks! I don’t make them near often enough. I often make them for the youth, or when I have company. It’s a very easy Sunday lunch for company!!

  5. Larinda High on April 28th, 2011 2:35 pm

    OOPs! I forgot to add chips…and it must be corn chips not dorito type chips:)

  6. Kay on April 28th, 2011 2:52 pm

    I’m lovin’ these new ideas!
    I always thought the corn chips take the place of the crackers… never thought of them in addition to the chips! :)
    Raw onions and green olives wouldn’t go over good with any of us here, but the sunflower seeds, sour cream, and jalepenos will definitely need to be added to the table next time!!
    I like the idea of using cheddar soup for cheese sauce and mixing chili beans with the meat… Larinda, do you not add taco seasoning to the meat/bean mixture then? That would be great… one less ingredient. ????

  7. Monica on April 28th, 2011 4:42 pm

    A haystack is NOT complete without crushed spicy nacho Doritos and homemade French dressing. :) Yeah, I’m weird, I know. :) :)

  8. Cheryl Weaver on April 28th, 2011 4:59 pm

    We had them last night too. One thing that my children WILL notice if it is missing is black olives. I like pepperoncinis on mine, too. And yes, the homemade French dressing is a MUST!

  9. Kay on April 28th, 2011 7:42 pm

    Wow, more ideas of stuff that all sounds good! Twila, chopped nuts? That actually sounds GOOD! I love nuts in salad.
    Karen, great idea to use refried beans… we had a bit of complaining about beans last night. ????
    You guys and your homemade French! :) I don’t even know how to make that! I’d be glad if you’d want to post a recipe here! Wonder if it’s like the ‘Tally-Ho’ my mom used to make.???
    Lorene, thanks much for the rice tips! Rice is always sort of blah to me, and how you said to do it almost sounds like it could have a little flavor if you’re not careful! ????
    Sandra, I did the butter really quick and no, they didn’t get soggy… did you do them right out of the oven? as in, at first they were almost too hot to hold. Not sure what else you could do different, unless it would’ve been the brand of the butter??? I used Land o Lakes, but you may have, too.

  10. Karen on April 28th, 2011 6:02 pm

    We like corn chips and doritos mixed…mushrooms,olives, jalepenos,hot salsa,sour cream or ranch….depending who you are, plus what you had. I mix refried beans with my meat/taco seas. mixture, that way the non bean eating ones don’t notice! =)

  11. Lorene Miller on April 28th, 2011 6:12 pm

    What lovely blogs you always post! Just a note on cooking rice…I learned from my sister who was a missionary in C.A. that if you put a tablespoon of oil in pan and stir fry the raw rice till it is a little brown before adding water it helps to get that stir fried fluffy rice that doesn’t stick together. After you add the water, bring to boil then turn down as low as possible. In 15 min. it will be perfect if you don’t lift lid. I always add some chicken base to the rice, but that is not a must.
    Thanks for giving me ideas!

  12. Liz on April 28th, 2011 6:29 pm

    Ok, now I’m hungry for haystacks!
    Like your updated profile pic too.

  13. Twila on April 28th, 2011 6:40 pm

    I like to add diced celery, somehow just adds a nice flavor. And we usually start with crushed crackers and also add the nacho chips somewhere along the way! I also like it with pork and beans but the kids don’t, so I don’t usually bother. My original recipe from 25 years ago also has chopped nuts as the very last item.

  14. Sandra Hershey on April 28th, 2011 7:16 pm

    Yeah i have a new meal for next week!!..I have made it before and but the kids never seemed to like it when they were little.
    I did make your yummy donuts…they were a hit!! Great for sunday morning breakfast!!Next time I need to a double batch:)
    Kay, i do have a question…when you rolled your donuts in the butter…mine got i skipped that and rolled them in the cinn mix,they were ok.Did I do something wrong?

  15. Amy Burkey on April 29th, 2011 7:41 am

    We make the haystacks with Doritos, and the meat sauce is made with chili beans instead of kidney. And we just use real grated cheese and no cheese sauce. And I’m the only one who eats rice with it.:( Which is sad…. About rice. I’ve learned a few fun things. Always buy rice that says parboiled on the pkg. For rice that I’m using to eat with things mexican I like to put something tomatoey in for part of the liquid and add some cumin and other seasonings. For rice just to eat with pork chops or fish I like to throw in some real butter and dill, mint, cajun, and a little garlic and onion pwd and some lawrys when it’s done boiling…put it in in the “fluff with fork” process. It’s really good. And to cook the rice so it always turns out? simmer 10 min in hot liquid and then pour off excess water and put the lid back on with a wet towel to seal the lid good and simmer again for 10 more minutes. It fluffs beautifully. make sure you have a thick bottomed pan though and you will have a little crust over the bottom of the pan. Anyhow, enjoyed all these good ideas for haystacks..taco salad…whatever you call it! :)

  16. Arla on April 29th, 2011 3:44 pm

    I made haystacks for the Graber family once and didn’t have enough of it. I coulda died of embarrassment. Seems like desert took care of it, but those completely clean bowls and kettles was scary to me. Do you remember that, Kay? I would guess it’s one of our favorite meals around here summer or winter. And we use beans and rice too besides the meat. Cheese sauce is our pick for cheese, and we like onions,lettuce, ranch and salsa if I have it on hand. Lance uses hot sauce on his, and not many of us likes the tomatoes.

  17. Eleanor on April 29th, 2011 10:21 pm

    This was interesting. And my husband pretty much has a standing order for haystacks any time I want to make them. We do Doritos instead of corn chips and add salsa, sour cream and French dressing and usually just use cheese instead of cheese sauce.

  18. Sandra Hershey on April 30th, 2011 9:55 am

    Thanks Kay!..I did do it right when they were hot..but i never thought that it may be the butter.I used that could be it:)..They were still a hit!

  19. Kay on April 30th, 2011 11:37 am

    More rice tips! Thanks alot, Amy!!!

    Oh, Arla, I can just feel it… running out of food, but no, I do NOT remember that! At least it was just the Grabers… or should I say Oh no! and it was the Grabers of all people! ???? I have 3 major fears when it comes to serving a meal… something flopping, someone finding a hair, and not having enough!

    Eleanor and whoever else suggested Doritos, good idea. Seems like they’d add more flavor than corn chips!

    Sandra, I was more just grasping at straws… I don’t know if brand would’ve made a diff or not. The recipe actually calls for margarine!

  20. Freida on April 30th, 2011 11:48 am

    Nobody mentioned instant rice? That makes the meal even quicker. :)

    Our haystacks consist of taco meat mixture w/ chili beans, rice, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese sauce, chips, (for hubby) crackers (for me), salsa, and ranch dressing or my homemade french island dressing. Yumm! Now I’m hungry! Me thinks this will make a delicious Sunday lunch tomorrow. ????

  21. Tonya on April 30th, 2011 6:42 pm

    We do crackers, rice, taco meat, dorito chips, shredded cheese, lettuce, cheese sauce, salsa, olives, sour cream, tomatoes. We love them too and I don’t make them nearly as often as I should.

  22. Judi on May 3rd, 2011 4:18 pm

    I make a variation of this. I start with refried beans, seasoned beef, tomatoes, onions, cheese and sour cream. We then scoop it all up with corn chips. Yum… just had it last night.

  23. Jan on May 4th, 2011 7:22 pm

    Need another rice tip? I fry mine in a little oil, then dump in the water (slightly less than asked for)and some salt. I cook it until the water level is down to the rice level and then shut it off. I peek in all I want to. You have to so you can check the level. Let it set there for about twenty minutes or so and the water will continue to be absorbed. The end result is not sticky, undercooked, or overcooked. One of the few foods Dan is picky about is rice and he is proud of mine! I am cooking rice right now (Yes, for haystacks) and almost forgot to shut it off. ????

  24. amber on May 5th, 2011 3:30 pm

    i now know what we’re going to have for dinner.. :)

  25. Larinda High on May 10th, 2011 6:49 pm

    Yes, we still add Taco seasoning to the meat…it’s a must:) the spicier the better!

  26. Shannon on May 19th, 2011 2:32 pm

    Some GREAT ideas now that mine is all made! ha :) It will pass but it’s not great.

    I posses those same 3 fears when cooking! Failure, hair and not enough. Tonight I’m worrying about not enough because it’s the youth group and I have no idea how much they eat.