I think the Rice Thing started back when I had Hailey and we were still receiving dinners from the neighbors. This one sister made her famous curry and I don't know if it was because anything at that point that I didn't have to make tasted amazing or if it really was that good (which I don't doubt!), but that was probably the best dish of curry I had ever eaten in my entire life. Besides the fact that the curry sauce itself tasted so wonderful, the sticky rice inside was cooked perfect and soft. Ever since that day, I made a goal to make rice just like hers.
I did have a few issues. That included I have a BUNCH of long grain rice, which makes for horrible sticky rice. I didn't want to go out and buy special rice because I really had that much long grain rice in my storage. I felt sort of guilty, like I was betraying the rice I already had. Number two, my rice cooker has a mind of its own. More often than not, the rice still comes out crunchy (eww!!). I tried the stove method over a dozen times, each with a new recipe from the internet, but they all failed. My quest for perfect rice continued.
And the Cream of Chicken Soup Thing, it's just fake. That's the only way I can describe it. It doesn't matter which brand I get, it still tastes fake. You can mix it with mayo or sour cream or milk or cheese...and it still tastes fake. I hate it and I avoid it at all possible.
This brings me to my delicious meal tonight. We had a ton of leftover chicken, so Scott said Why not Hawaiian Haystacks? I sort of groaned inside, knowing that I'd have to face the rice AND the cream of chicken for another unsuccessful dinner. But I turned positive and started my search online for a SCRATCH recipe. And guess what? I found it!!
Real Mom Kitchen is the bomb-dot-com. And you know what is so great about this recipe? It uses everything one would usually have as a staple in their kitchen anyway. That is why I like these white-sauce/roux/milk or cream sauce things so much! They are SO versatile and you don't realize how much the "quick and easy" world has pushed it aside and made their own canned version to make dinner time come faster. But this scratch recipe (along with many others that I already use this same method for) is SO worth that extra 20 minutes.
So Cream of Chicken Soup Thing was checked off my list. I had finally conquered the soup!
Next was the issue with rice. I had remembered once seeing a quick "recipe" for rice in a cookbook that we got for our wedding. "Mormon Pantry: Cooking for Two" by Debbie G Harman is the name and I have actually taken a few recipes from that book and already dubbed them as "family favorites." I decided to give this rice a try.
1 cup long-grain rice (me me me!)
2 cups water
1 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt
Bring the two cups water to a boil. Add rice, salt, and butter and stir well.
Reduce temperature to medium-low and place a tight-fitting lid on pan. Simmer 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Serve while still warm.
I wonder if the salt helped do the trick because I had never added salt before. Whatever it was, I liked it! The rice actually came out SOFT. Did you hear that? S-O-F-T. Even my husband was surprised (poor guy having to endure all that crunchy half-cooked rice). Would you blame me if I told you I sat down and ate the left over rice straight out of the pan? Yum!
Combine these two elements together, plus some delicious toppings like pineapple, celery, cheese, and who can forget chow mein noodles, this was probably THE best Hawaiian Haystacks I have ever had.