A common thing I’ve noticed is that when an Amish or Mennonite family is in need, their local community will hold benefit dinners which often feature “haystacks.” The ingredients differ from dinner to dinner and with the seasons.

I posted this recipe on Facebook the other night during the party…thought those who aren’t FBers might enjoy seeing it, too. The recipe will feed a large group…so keep it in mind if you’re having a big group over. Like, for example, your son’s basketball team.

Here one variation for an Amish Haystack dinner:


• 2 pounds ground beef
• One 1/4-ounce package taco seasoning mix
• One 14-ounce jar (or 1 1/2 cups) Spaghetti Sauce
• Two 9-ounce bags tortilla chips, crushed
• 2 cups hot cooked rice, prepared as label directs
• 1 head lettuce, thinly sliced
• 2 cups diced tomatoes
• 1 cup grated carrots
• 1 cup chopped green onions
• 1 cup sliced pitted ripe olives
• 1 cup diced green pepper
• 1 cup diced celery
• 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
• 1 cup crumbled cooked bacon
• 1 cup sunflower seed kernels
• One jar salsa

1. In large skillet, brown ground beef with taco seasoning over medium-high heat. Add spaghetti sauce; heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; simmer, uncovered, until most of liquid evaporates.
2. Mix crushed crackers and tortilla chips in a bowl. Place ground-beef mixture, rice, and remaining ingredients in individual bowls.
3. Allow guests to serve themselves, layering as suits each individual: lettuce, chips, meat mixture, rice, tomatoes, carrots, onions, olives, pepper, celery, cheese, bacon, sunflower seeds, and salsa.

Here’s another Haystack recipe I found in The Sugarcreek Budget newspaper:

Potato Haystack Casserole

10 potatoes, cooked, peeled and shredded
2 packages Ranch Dressing Mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup milk
4 pounds hamburger
2 packages taco seasoning
salta nd pepper to taste
1/4 cup diced onion

Add sour cream and milk to dressing mix. Fry hamburger with onion and add taco seasoning. Layer potatoes, then hamburger. Then put sour cream sauce on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes and before serving, put crushed nacho chips on top.

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