Straw Hats (Frito Pie)

We’ve been on vacation this week, so creating in the kitchen has been on the back burner. So to speak.

Well, I did make one thing. I whipped up a vegetarian version of Campfire Beans. I halved the recipe, and they still lasted us for days. And… suffice it to say we are OVER eating beans for awhile.

And actually, this recipe, too, has beans in chili form. But that’s okay. Beans are usually great … unless you’ve had them for lunch and dinner three days in a row.

This recipe is from my other blog, The Hazel Bloom, where I started sharing some of our “One Dish Two Ways” recipes before I decided to create a blog all about it.

We grew up calling this dish Straw Hats, but I’ve also heard it called “Frito Pie” or “Chili Pie.” Chili, cheese, lettuce and all the fixings atop a layer of Fritos… oh yeah. And oh-so easy.

When we go camping, I like to keep the meals good, but super simple and super easy.

Clarification, before I continue: By “camping,” I mean hauling our travel trailer somewhere and hooking up to electric and water, and then using the fairly decent, but tiny trailer-sized kitchen with a gas stove, little oven, a double sink and even a microwave.

So yeah, even though we’re not really roughing it per se, simplicity is still key. For one, we’re on vacation, darnit, and we don’t want to spend our entire time cooking and cleaning up. Another, we don’t want to pack a gazillion and one food items – what a pain. And even with the mini kitchen thing going on and a portable BBQ outside, things get cramped pretty quickly.

Enter… straw hats! Straw hats are one of the meals my awesome Mom used to make regularly for our family, and as a kid, it was one of my faves. I loved Straw Hat Night. And now I understand why my busy Mom made them a lot – because they’re so easy to put together, and that also happens to be perfect for camping.

Straw hats, with their often-canned chili and Fritos, are not exactly slow food. But when camping (or on busy weekdays), sometimes convenience takes precedence. I mean, the only thing you have to heat up for straw hats is some chili. Heck, that’s even something that could be done right over a campfire, if you’re truly roughing it.

Oh, and these are, of course, the perfect use for leftover chili when you’re at home.

Here’s the recipe!

Print Recipe

Straw Hats (Frito Pie)

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Corn chips/Fritos
  • 1 large can of the chili of your choice (about 3/4 cup of chili per person is a good rough guideline)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • Lettuce, sliced into shreds - just about anything works
  • Various toppings like: Chopped tomatoes, onions, pickled jalapenos, black olives, sour cream, salsa, avocado... whatever you want!

Directions:

You put straw hats together right on each individual's plate. Here's how to build a plate:
  1. Heat up the chili.
  2. Put some Fritos on a plate.
  3. Ladle some chili - about 3/4 cup or so - on top of the Fritos.
  4. Sprinkle the chili with about 1/2 cup of the shredded cheddar cheese.
  5. Top with lettuce.
  6. And then add all the other goodies you've got going on, like tomatoes, onions, salsa, sour cream... you name it. Serve.

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3 Responses to “Straw Hats (Frito Pie)”

  1. Holly W posted on August 3, 2012 at 10:56 am

    These remind my of high school football games! Our concession stands sold something very similar, but we called it “taco in a bag.” it was a personal-sized bag of Fritos, topped with chili beans/meat and all the toppings. They you just eat it right out of the bag. Easy to walk around with. No dishes to clean up.
    Basically brilliant.

  2. Deb Cochrane posted on August 28, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. I made (assembled) this for dinner last week and it was very good. My youngest daughter (31) was over for dinner and she is always after me to ‘eat better’. She enjoyed this recipe and even said that she wished I had made it when her siblings were younger. This recipe is a ‘keeper’ now and it will be something I serve when I need a fast easy meal.

  3. Pingback: 45 Easy Camping Recipes - One Sweet Appetite

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