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Gridiron Grub: Chili Cheese Haystacks

In the belly-filling fare of potluck football parties, who knew a man-pleasing dish could have secret nutritional value? Enter the Chili Cheese Haystack, a recipe I created to appeal to my husband's love of platefuls of flavorful food with fun presentation and man-sized satiety.

Fall games with the Falcons, LSU, Georgia Tech and the Gators happen in warm, breezy temperatures, but chili and bean dishes still abound. It may be balmy, but it's still football, and that means hot food. Whatever your region, football fans will gobble this up just in time for Thanksgiving. Don't let the rice scare off the men, either. In this recipe, it sticks to the ribs.

Chili Cheese Haystacks
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Difficulty Level: Easy
Yield: 4 servings


  • 2 cups rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Fourth-teaspoon salt
  • 2 14-ounce cans chili
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • 24 ounces broccoli florets, cooked to desired tenderness or left raw


Prepare the rice in a rice cooker with water, butter and salt. Pull out four dinner-sized plates to assemble the ingredients of the haystacks.

Trim the stems of the broccoli florets, steam them to your desired texture and season to taste with finish time coinciding with the rice. Place two cups of shredded cheese in a bowl. As the rice cooking completes, heat the chili on the stovetop or in a microwave. Set to the side.

Layer half-cup of rice in a circle on each plate. Smother each bed of rice with half-cup of chili. Sprinkle one-fourth cup of shredded cheese per plate on top of the chili. Add another layer of rice on top of the cheese, using a total of half a cup per plate. Layer once again with half-cup of chili. Top off each haystack by sprinkling another one-fourth cup of cheese.

Arrange the broccoli florets in a circle around the haystack. Serve the dish hot with your favorite libation.

Note: This dish can be made with white or brown rice, regular or vegetarian chili and your favorite cheese. All of these can be found in organic varieties at most grocery stores if you wish to use them.

Now try a corn side dish that will never lack in flavor! Get the recipe here.

Di Chapman has been writing professionally for trade journals, audiobooks and a global business clientele since her early 20s. A coauthor of four books and a regular contributor to numerous blogs, she currently lives in the historic district of Roswell, Georgia, in the greater Atlanta area. Her work can be found at

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