Friday, April 23, 2010

Freezer Meal Friday Hawaiian Hay Stacks

I have a lot of Polynesian friends. This is not one of their recipes. Not even close. Now I preface this post on that note because many of you have probably seen the segment from Fox 10 Arizona morning with me and Sione Fa from The Biggest Loser making freezer meals. To call this freezer meal today a "Hawaiian" haystack, is like well...American Sweet and Sour Chicken... "Chinese" food...both are very far from the real cuisine of the land. However, slang that it is, it is a well loved dish around my home. One that makes a great freezer meal because I can make the homemade chicken sauce in advance and freeze it in a quart size freezer bag. On the day of the dinner I just have to heat the sauce and make the rice. Usually my biggest challenge with this freezer meal, is keeping these dang fried chow mien noodles around my house! My kids love them! Love!

My solution has been hiding the canister behind the cans of black eyed peas. It works like a charm.

True confessions: I don't like cream of chicken soup from a can. I don't. I've never made a sauce for Hawaiian hay stacks using a can of cream of bla-bla-bla. In a pinch I've used my condensed soup mix which is very cheap to make. However for this one today I like a nice homemade sauce. It's quick and a lot less expensive than several cans of soup needed to feed a growing family. I like the flavor better. If I want more seasonings...I add them. I know exactly what is in this stuff. No MSG or preservatives either. Nice isn't it? This one is what I call, "middle of the road" meaning it appeals to a lot of different people. It's home style. I'm home style most of the time. I can do gourmet if I have to. I can. Today however, it doesn't hurt to learn a new basic skill right?

Hawaiian Haystack Sauce:
4 cups low fat milk (or soy milk-unflavored)
2 cups light coconut milk ( or just 1 15 oz can)
1/2 cup flour
2 tsp granulated onion
1 tsp granulated garlic
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
In a soup bowl, combine the flour and 1 cup milk with a whisk. In a one gallon heavy bottom pot, combine the remaining 3 cups milk, coconut milk seasoning and chicken. Bring to a boil. With a whisk, slowly stir in the milk/flour combination and stir until well incorporated. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to your liking. Some like more...some like less.
This will make about 8 cups of sauce. Allow sauce to cool 10 minutes. I divide it between 2 quart size freezer bags, labeled "Hawaiian Haystack sauce". Lay flat in the fridge to chill quickly. When cool, transfer to the freezer. Do not stack warm gravy on top of each other. We want it to cool and freeze quickly to avoid food born illness.
I put the frozen bag of sauce in a larger gallon size bag along with several sandwich size freezer bags full of toppings for the hay stacks that we like. It just makes it easier on the night of the dinner to have everything together. Topping ideas: pineapple, corn, shredded cheese, shredded coconut, slivered almonds, hot peanuts, Mandarin oranges, peas. We also have fresh topping that my kids chop on the day of the dinner: we include chopped celery, green onions, and bell peppers depending on what we have in the fridge. Isn't that nice?
To serve: Defrost sauce 24 hours in fridge, or in microwave safe 2 quart bowl (out of the bag) on defrost setting 5-7 minutes. Sauce will appear curdled. Don't be alarmed. It will return to it's nice smooth consistency when heated on the stove in a pan for 5-7 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
Cook 2 cups of rice. This is enough for my family of six for haystacks. Mind you, my boys are not yet teenagers.
I did a tutorial on How to cook rice on the stove 101 . I know there are more than a few who have never cooked rice without a rice cooker or instant rice. It's a good skill to have. For brown rice, allow that it will take 45 minutes to cook and more water, as opposed to white rice which is right around 20 minutes.

To serve: Put 3/4 cup rice on a plate and top with a scoop of chicken sauce.
Put toppings in bowls and allow family to pick whatever they want most on their own haystacks.
This also works really well for larger family gatherings.

To each his own.
There you go.


Marylois said...

Looks good. I'm going to try this. I think I will use clear jell instead of flour. I will use half the amount. Thanks for sharing this.

Chef Tess said...

Does clear jell freeze well? I've actually never used it in a freezer sauce. Let me know how it goes. I'd love to hear.

Gourmified said...

Oh my goodness! I have to say we LOVE haystacks! Though, I'm a long time user of that dreaded condensed soup. Yes, you heard me right. Though even more than that soup, I completely {HEART} coconut milk!!! SO, that means I'm going to have to try your recipe.

Did you know you can get Coconut milk powder? I found it thru San Francisco Herb Company, though I'm sure there are other places to get it. That stuff has saved me some serious moola as well as my "bacon" when I've forgotten to pick up a can.