Hawaiian haystacks are one of those family classics we ate all the time when I was little. I used to love haystack night, because Mom let us choose our own toppings, which meant I could load up on all the good things, and avoid the yucky ones.
I always thought it was weird these things were called Hawaiian haystacks, because as far as I could see, there was nothing tropical about them. In fact, we always served them with salsa, so it seemed like Mexican haystack might be a better fit. It wasn’t until I was in college and a roommate made them that I learned why the Hawaiian name – you’re supposed to put pineapple on them!
I still can’t get my head around putting pineapple on a perfectly good haystack, but that’s the beauty of these things. I can put a bowl of pineapple out for everyone else, and quietly eat my salsa-topped, pineapple-less deliciousness without anyone being the wiser.
A couple more things about haystacks that deserve mention is that they are one of the fastest meals I know, and one of the cheapest. I can throw haystacks together in about the same amount of time it takes me to make macaroni and cheese from the box. And this recipe is a lot more nutritious than mac ‘n cheese!
As for cost, in my neck of the woods, the cream of chicken soup would cost you a dollar, the chicken 2 dollars (and you can make it cheaper by making chicken in the crockpot and shredding it). The rice comes in around 2 dollars, and depending on the toppings, we’re looking at another 3 or so dollars. That’s about 8 dollars for 8 servings. A buck a serving for a filling and delicious dinner? I think so!