Pregnancy cravings are weird. They lead me to make, for the first time ever, Hawaiian Haystacks for dinner last night. Now, for those who aren’t familiar with Hawaiian Haystacks, they are a Utah Mormon dish. Utah Mormon cooking, for this Southern girl, leaves a lot to be desired. Usually, it is all about convenience and feeding a crowd. Spaghetti, taco salad, funeral potatoes, Jell-O. However, I found Hawaiian Haystacks to be the perfect pregnancy dish, because everyone makes their own stack to their desired taste.
A Hawaiian Haystack is basically white rice topped with a chicken gravy mixture and then a bunch of random stuff, including but not limited to: pineapple, shredded coconut, crunchy chow mein noodles, chopped fresh tomatoes, slivered almonds, chopped celery, shredded cheese, etc.
The gravy is important. Mine turned out perfectly. I boiled three chicken breasts in just enough water to cover them and three chicken bouillon cubes. I took the chicken out and finely chopped it, then made the gravy by whisking in a can of cream of chicken soup (old school) and half a can of half and half (emptied the carton–I’m sure a full can would be fine). Then I simmered on low (don’t boil dairy) and added back two of the chicken breasts. Three seemed like too much. Later, right before I served, I added some frozen peas.
Yum. The rice was fluffy, the gravy was creamy, and I topped mine with freshly-grated cheddar cheese, coconut, pineapple, tomato, almonds, chow mein noodles, and cilantro. Paired with a green salad smothered in bottled ranch dressing.
Because that’s how they roll in Utah.