Meet Hawaiian Haystacks: A 2-Step Dinner That’s Piled High With Flavor

This retro dinner is making a comeback.

<p>Quenton Dawson</p>

Quenton Dawson

Some meals can spark childhood memories like no other, whether it be your grandma’s cozy casserole or an annual holiday dessert. It doesn’t really matter how much time has passed since you last had it—just one spoonful has the power to send you back in time.

For some, that nostalgia is tied to one creamy and colorful chicken dish that frequented the family dinner menu. It combines the comfort of a homemade casserole with the customizable fun of a taco bar, and it’s called Hawaiian Haystacks.

“Love this recipe, first bite puts a smile on my face every time,” said user Dipster.

What Are Hawaiian Haystacks?

If you grew up in a big family, chances are you’ve had this feast before.

Hawaiian Haystacks are creamy chicken and rice bowls piled with layers of flavorful toppings, from almonds to bell peppers to coconut. They’re perfect for feeding large groups because they’re simple to throw together and allow everyone to enjoy the exact meal they want.

Despite the name, the dish didn't come from Hawaii after all; the “Hawaiian” title just represents the hint of tropical flair (in fact, many know it as "Snow on the Mountain" instead). This very American dish became widely popular in the western U.S. around the 1950s at potlucks, family gatherings, and church events.

If you’re new to Hawaiian Haystacks, we understand if you're a bit skeptical. It’s not very often you come across black olives, shredded cheese, and pineapple together in one bowl. But trust us—somehow all of the flavorful ingredients work together to create a vibrant, delicious, and memorable meal.

"“Oh, folks! This is the best!" said user Rani Ness. “Really, you can't go wrong with this type of dish..... YUM!”"

Why We Love Hawaiian Haystacks

In just two easy steps, this recipe gives you comfort food fit for a crowd.

The creamy chicken and rice base is warm, saucy, and savory, while the mix of toppings adds sweetness, crunch, freshness, and a whole variety of flavors. It’s an easy recipe to double or even triple (if you accidentally go overboard, it’s great for leftovers too).

There are no rules with this dish, so you can top your haystack with all sorts of creative ingredients. Peas, corn, celery, or bacon—nothing’s off the table. The finished plate is loaded with color and texture, from crisp bell peppers to soft and sweet pineapple to crunchy chow mein noodles, making every bite uniquely delicious.

How to Make Hawaiian Haystacks

To prep this meal, all you have to do is cook the chicken and rice and gather the toppings. First, brown the cubed chicken in a skillet, then let it simmer in chicken broth for a few minutes. Finally, stir it together with cream of mushroom soup and spices until the chicken is coated and heated through. Finished in the creamy sauce, the chicken becomes moist, velvety, and full of flavor.

Next, build up your haystack. On a plate or in a shallow bowl, start with a base of cooked rice, then pile on the saucy chicken. Layer on pineapple, green bell peppers, cheddar cheese and tomatoes. Finally, garnish the loaded dish with chow mein noodles, almonds, fresh green onions, and toasted coconut, mixing and matching only the toppings you choose.

“Careful because it heaps very high with all the layers! Everyone thought it was very yummy. Surprisingly flavourful even though there were so few spices used!” said user Linda Rau.

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Read the original article on All Recipes.