Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Haystacks in a Hurry

Need a dinner on the fly?  Haystacks are a good one!  You can prep everything the night before ... even put the rice ingredients in the rice cooker dish and keep in the fridge until ready.  Any number of toppings work ... I love that it can customize to each individuals taste.  We usually have enough leftover for lunches the next day too.  It's hearty, yet fresh and light - definitely one of our favourites!

Rice  adapted from
1 cup long-grain rice
2 1/4 cups water
1 vegetable bouillon cube (gluten-free)
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
4 ounce can diced green chilies
1 can peaches and cream corn, drained ... or one fresh cob, kernels removed
1 dash pepper
1 dash red pepper flakes 

Topping Suggestions
fresh cilantro
fresh lime
romaine lettuce
black olives (Lindsay are the BEST!)
black beans
kidney beans
multi-coloured peppers
extra sharp cheddar or Monterey jack
taco sauce
pickled jalapeños

Place all ingredients for the rice into the rice cooker and cook according to your machine's directions.  (Mine just has a little lever I push down to cook, then it automatically goes to warm when it's finished.)

If you do a lot of cooking, this tip is probably not new to you ... but since this recipe doesn't use a whole can of tomato paste (as do many other recipes), I thought I'd share. I separate the paste by tablespoons onto plastic wrap, then wrap tightly and twist so each tablespoon is an individual bundle.  I place in a small freezer bag and keep in the freezer until needed.  I can snip with my scissors in between the sections according to how much I need.  It's super convenient ... and a savings!

Here's the rice when it's complete.  Add a healthy scoop to each plate.

Place toppings in  individual bowls so your family can each build their own haystack with ease.

This is one of our favourite sharp cheddars ... it really does make a difference to use a strong, full flavoured cheese.  Kerrygold's Dubliner is also a great choice.

Serve with a few Tostitos and lime wedges ... and call it dinner! (Gluten-free too and/or perfect for a meatless Monday.)


  1. Hi Wendy, another trick for unused tomato paste is using a small ice cube tray with a lid (dollar store purchase) and then pop out a frozen cube when needed!

    1. What a great tip, Elaine! Thank you so much for sharing! :)