Hawaiian Haystacks

This recipe was originally published on August 4, 2011!! Probably one of our first ones and by our good friend, Kara.  Just thought it would be cool to pull this one out of the archives and share with you today.  This is a fun recipe to do if you want to really freak somebody out who is funny about mixing different foods together.  
This meal is fairly versatile. And when I say fairly, I mean EXTREMELY–making it easy to serve because there is something for everyone! You can make the really simplified version, or the harder version depending on your mood and/or time constraints.
I’ll give you the “hard” version–although I will tell you this: If it’s really THAT hard, I’m not going to do it. I have small children and, let’s face it, a lot of time could be wasted on dinner no one will eat. I like to feel appreciated at the end of a meal. 🙂 (What cook doesn’t?)
Look for substitutions at the end of the post to help you simplify, if needed.
4 Cups Cooked Rice
4 Cups Seasoned Chicken Broth (this can be canned or made from Bouillon)
1/3 Cup Cornstarch
1/4 Cup or less Cold Water
2 – 3 Cups Cooked, Shredded Chicken (sometimes I boil some chicken breasts or grill them on my panini maker.)
Salt and Pepper to taste
A variety of Veggies, etc. It comes down to what you have on hand. Mix and match, try this or that. Find YOUR favorites.
I recommend any of the following:
Peas (fresh or thawed frozen)
Green Peppers
Green Onions
Pineapple (Cubed Fresh or Canned Tidbits)
Slivered Almonds
Sunflower Seeds
Shredded Coconut
Sliced Water Chesnuts
Chinese Chow Mien Noodles
Grated Cheese
For the Sauce:
1. In a medium sauce pan, bring your chicken broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Because I use Bouillon to make my broth, I use 4 Cups water. (This is also when I start my rice, but you can start yours when it’s good for you.)
2. While you’re waiting for the broth to boil, combine the cold water and cornstarch in a small bowl with a lid. Shake it up till it’s a nice liquid consistency.
3. When boiling, add your Bouillon (if needed) and then whisk in your cornstarch mixture.
4. Whisk until thick and clear. Don’t worry too much if you feel like it’s not getting super thick. Sometimes mine is gravy-like. Sometimes it’s more soupy. Either way it tastes good so don’t sweat the small stuff!
5. Add your shredded chicken and stir till well combined. Add your salt and pepper, too. Keep warm over low heat, stirring occasionally.
6. Chop or de-can your sides. (Is de-can even a word? You all know what I mean, right? No? Okay, if you’re using canned fruit or veggies, get them out now)
7. Put each topping into an individual bowl.
8. To make your haystack, begin with rice and your soupy or gravy-like chicken sauce. Then go to town and add whatever suits your fancy! Or, if you’re like my #1 kiddo, just eat it as chicken and rice.


Cooked Chicken = 2 Cans of Cooked White Chicken Breast
OR if you’re running really low on time and need a good meal fast:
Chicken Sauce = 1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup (No lie! And it’s still tasty!)
Source: Janet Hales, From My House To Yours, Big Piney-Marbleton Communities 1995, Relief Society Cookbook

Nigella’s Breakfast Bars

Mr. Blue Eyes’ parents gave us a Nigella Lawson cookbook a few years ago and there are some fabulous recipes in it. I mean, c’mon. It’s Nigella we’re talking about. These granola bars are so easy and so good that we eat them morning, noon, and night!


1 14 oz can Sweetened Condensed Milk
2.5 Cups of Rolled Oats (not instant!)
1 Cup Shredded Coconut
1 Cup Dried Cranberries
1 Cup Mixed seeds* (Nigella suggests pumpkin, sunflower, sesame)
1 Cup Natural Unsalted Peanuts

1. Preheat the oven 250 degrees F and spray a 9×13″ pan.
2. Warm the Sweetened Condensed Milk in a sauce pan. Ms. Lawson suggests a Large one; I used a small one. Tomato, Tah-mah-toe.
3. In a Large mixing bowl, mix all the other ingredients together. Pour the warmed milk over the top and fold it over until everything is looking gooey and good!
4. Press the mixture into your greased pan. At Nigella’s suggestion I used a latex (or non-latex for all you latex-sensitive people) glove. Make sure you press down fairly firmly and pack it well. We had trouble with crumbling. Not that that makes it taste any less delicious!
5. Bake for 1 hour. After it’s cooled about 10 minutes, cut 4×4 length to width and remove from pan to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container. Makes 16.

1. We have used Unsalted Cashews (1/3 Cup); Salted, shelled pistachios–pictured above (1/3+ Cup); Sunflower Seeds (1/3- Cup). They turned out great!
2. When she says natural, unsalted, she means it. Unsalted just seems to turn out better.

Source: Nigella Express:130 Recipes for Good Food, Fast

Pomegranate-Avocado Dip

I hope it’s not too late and that you can still find Pomegranates in the produce aisle. If it is too late, I’m really sorry, but put this recipe away for next year. Don’t be fooled by the variety of ingredients that you wouldn’t normally see together. It has just the right amount of sweet/savory to make it ADDICTING!


1/4 tsp Chili Powder
1/8 tsp Cayenne (Red) Pepper

1 Tbsp Lemon Juice

1 small Onion, chopped (I used a yellow onion)
1 Roma Tomato, chopped
1-2 Avocados, sliced into bite-sized pieces
1 Pomegranate, seeded

1. Mix the chili powder, red pepper, and lemon juice in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Mix all the produce well in a Medium-sized bowl.
3. Pour the lemon juice mixture over and coat well.

Serve with your favorite chips or crackers. We like it with Club Multi-grained or some other multi-grained crackers.

Source: Aunt Beth

Sticky Gooey Caramel Corn

We just got an air popcorn popper. You remember those? I hadn’t seen one since I was a kid. We received one for Christmas and IT IS SO FUN! Delightful! It’s the little things in life, you know?

I digress. The recipe, Kara. The recipe.

The name of this recipe is EASY. Quick and easy. Ignore the header. That’s what it’s name *should* be. And kiddos of all ages (even those of “Mature Years”) will love it.

2 bowls of popped popcorn (I use one scoop full of kernels)
1 C butter
2 C Brown Sugar
3/4 – 1 C Light Karo Syrup
Nuts (opt)

1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
2. Add the sugar and syrup. Stir constantly until it begins to bubble.
3. Boil for 1 min. (Continue stirring. You’d hate to burn it!)
4. Remove from heat and pour over the bowls of popcorn.
5. Stir carefully with a wooden spoon until all the popcorn is covered a fair amount. Add the nuts if you are using them.

Serve immediately–that’s the way we like it! You can put it into balls if you wish. Just lay them on wax paper and let them cool.

Source: My long lost friend, Erika Johanson.

Creamy Hot Chocolate

We found this recipe several years ago and hot chocolate has never been the same! This recipe beats every homemade concoction we’ve tried–and there are some goodies out there.


1 (14 oz) can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk (we’ve used other brands and they work, too.)
1/2 Cup unsweetened Cocoa (we usually use Hersey’s brand)
1.5 tsp Vanilla
1/8 tsp Salt
3 Cups Hot Water
3.5 Cups Milk*
Mini Marshmallows (opt)
Whipped Cream (opt)
Ground Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Chili Powder (opt)

1. In a large sauce pan, over Medium heat, combine Sweetened Condensed Milk, Cocoa, Vanilla, and Salt. Mix Well.
2. Mix in the water and the milk. Heat through, stirring frequently. Do not boil.

Serve with mallows or whipped cream and a dash of spice. Questioning the chili powder? Ever seen the movie “Chocolat“? That’s where we got the idea and it really is quite good.

*The original recipe called for 6.5 Cups Water, but we like it with the milk. It makes it creamy.

Source: All Recipes, with slight variation

Pecan Pie

‘Tis the season of PIE! I love pie. Pecan is my favorite. Or maybe Banana Cream. Or maybe Chocolate Cherry. Or maybe…

Ok, you get it. I love pie.

Last year I wanted to make a Pecan Pie. The trouble was I had all the ingredients except Karo Syrup. No opportunity to go to the store was presenting itself and I was desperate for PIE! So I did what we all do when we’re in a pinch. I went to All Recipes to see if, perchance, there was a Pecan Pie recipe without corn syrup in it. Success!!

I know all my Southern friends will be skeptical. I was. But, like I said, I wanted pie, and with over 1300 ratings with 4.5 stars, I thought I’d give it a go. I’m so glad I did! It’s delish and easy–two requirements of mine.

2 Eggs, room temperature
1/2 Cup (1 stick) Butter, melted
1 Cup light brown sugar
1/4 Cup white sugar
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp Milk
1 tsp Vanilla
1 Cup chopped Pecans
1 9-inch unbaked pie crust
A few whole Pecans for garnishing if you wish

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl, beat eggs until foamy. Stir in the melted butter.
3. Stir in both sugars and flour. Mix well.
4. Add the milk, vanilla, and chopped nuts.
5. Pour into the unbaked pie crust. Garnish the top with pecans (opt).
6. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 300 and bake 50 minutes more, or until done.

*As per reviews, I made a slight change to the original baking time which began at 400 degrees and reduced to 350 for lessor times.

Happy Holidays to you!

Source: allrecipes.com, Elaine Helms

Chicken Noodle Soup

Soup Season is here for sure and Chicken Noodle Soup always hits the spot somehow!

2 1/2 Cups wide Egg Noodles
1 tsp Vegetable Oil
12 Cups Chicken Broth (I use Bouillon Cubes or granules)
1.5 Tbsp Salt
1 tsp Poultry Seasoning (optional)
1 Cup Chopped Celery
1 Cup Chopped Onion
1 Cup Chopped Carrots
1/3 Cup Cornstarch
1/4 Cup Cold Water
3 Cups Cooked, Diced Chicken

1. Cook your noodles according to package directions. Rinse under cool, running water.
2. In a Large saucepan or dutch oven, combine broth, salt, and poultry seasoning. Bring to a boil.
3. Stir in the vegetables. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until the veggies are tender.
4. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and water together. Add gradually to the soup, stirring constantly.
5. Stir in the noodles and chicken. Heat through and serve!

Source: allrecipes.com, with variations

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

These are so tasty that my kids ask for them *almost* every morning! (It couldn’t have anything to do with the chocolate…) The syrup that comes with this recipe is so easy, and SO DELICIOUS! Definitely  one of my favorites!

Pancake Ingredients:

2 Cups all-purpose Flour
1/4 Cup White Sugar
2 Tbsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
2 Eggs
1.5 Cups Milk
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil (We use Canola.)
1/2 Cup MINI-Chocolate Chips

1. Sift all the dry ingredients together in a Medium-Large Bowl.
2. Combine the wet ingredients together and the add them into the flour mixture.
3. Stir in the Chocolate Chips*.
4. Pour onto a lightly greased hot griddle. Flip over when bubbles form on top; cook until second side is golden brown.


1 Cup Honey
1/2 Cup (1 stick) Margarine or Butter
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon

1. Combine all the ingredients into a 2 cup microwave-safe bowl. (I use my Pyrex Measuring Cup.)
2. Microwave, uncovered, on high until the butter is melted, stirring occasionally until the syrup is hot.

Ghost Cupcakes

We brought in October by serving these little babies at a lunch date. My four-year-old daughter was SO EXCITED to help me with the eyes. They turned out cute and were a tasty treat for all!


1 (15.25 oz) box chocolate cake mix with pudding added (I used Betty Crocker’s Devil’s Food Cake)
1 Cup Buttermilk
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
3 Eggs
1 Cup Mini Chocolate Chips
4.5 Cups white candy melts or coating wafers
24 Large Marshmallows
48 Mini Chocolate Chips (about 1 Tbsp)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place paper baking cups in 24 regular-sized muffin cups.
2. In a medium bowl, mix cake mix, buttermilk, oil, and eggs on low speed about 30 secs, then increase the speed to Medium for 2 minutes.
3. Stir in 1 cup mini chips. Divide batter evenly between the muffin cups
4. Bake 18 – 20 mins, until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes. Remove muffins from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack.
5. In a large microwavable bowl, microwave the white candy according to package directions until nice and smooth.
6. Place one marshmallow on each cupcake and spoon the white chocolate over to cover letting the excess drip down on the cupcake. Cool slightly. This “cooling slightly” is essential to success. If you put the eyes in too quickly, you’ll end up with LAAA-AAAZZZZY EEEYYYEEES.
7. Press two mini chocolate chips into the side for eyes.
8. Let stand, until set–about 15 minutes.


Note: I frosted my cupcakes (as you can see) before I put the mallows on so they would stay in place. It worked well, but the original instructions did not say to do that.

Source: Pillsbury

S’mores Treats

I remember coming home from school to these. I LOVE S’mores and these are perfect for an after-school snack without getting all smokey.

2/3 Cup Corn Syrup (I use white)
1 (12 oz) package Chocolate Chips (your favorite–I used Semi-Sweet)
1 tsp Vanilla
6 – 8 Cups Golden Grahams Cereal (I use closer to 6 Cups because I like them well coated)
3 Cups Mini Marshmallows

1. In a Large mixing bowl, pour your Graham Cereal and Mallows in. You don’t need to mix them yet.
2. In a Medium saucepan, bring just to a boil (not quite!) corn syrup. Remove from heat and immediately add the chocolate chips. Stir until smooth.
3. Add vanilla and stir until smooth, again.
4. Pour over the mallows and graham cereal. Stir until will incorporated. The chocolate may seem a bit thick, but persevere! Also, don’t worry if the mallows melt a little. That’s the best part!
5. Press into a greased 9×13 pan and cut into squares when cool.

Source: My mama, Karri H.