This recipe was my first ever lasagna. I was looking for a way to use a lot of Hamakua mushrooms we were gifted along with a large container of ricotta, and of course get my iron fix in with fresh Big Island Beef. I am running out of time in general but trying to at least keep note of the basic of my recipes along with nutrition info so I can track how much protein, iron etc. I am feeding this growing baby oven. So this is a quick and dirty post. Hope you get inspired to make your own Italian creations!
Mushroom, eggplant and beef lasagna with ricotta, parmesan and mozzarella
Cook mushroom well in a small amount of oil, set aside
Slice eggplant, salt, leave for 20 minutes and soak up the salt with a towel.
Roast in the oven on baking sheets sprayed with oil for 30 minutes at 350°F, set aside
Brown beef in large skillet with chopped onion and garlic. Drain fat. Add mushrooms, diced tomato and 3/4 of the jar of marinara sauce. Cook and add salt and pepper to taste. Add any fresh Italian herbs you have like parsley, basil, oregano, thyme.
Boil water for lasagna noodles, preparing them like the package as you do the next step.
Mix ricotta, 1/2 the parm and 1/2 the mozz, the eggs, salt and Italian seasoning.
Once all ingredients are prepared pour a little of the jar sauce on the bottom of a large baking pan. then over lap with noodles (About 4). Then add meat sauce, eggplant slices, and ricotta.
Make another layer with noodles, and repeat meat sauce, eggplant, ricotta. To use up all the ricotta and noodles I made another small baking dish with 2 layers because my large pan isn't that tall. The final layer should end with noodles, a little be of the jar sauce (no meat on top) and the rest of the sprinkled cheese.
Bake in oven at 350°F for 45 minutes, let sit for 5-10 minutes and enjoy!
This beef and bean chili gets better the longer it simmers and it is even better the next day, but if you are in a pinch it could be ready in as little as 45 minutes of stewing. It goes great served with rice or fresh homemade cornbread. I also love an excuse to use my homegrown green peppers, hot peppers and green onion.
I just found out I am borderline anemic, which is no surprise because probably about 50% of pregnant women are low in iron stores. So inevitably I have to go on iron supplements. But I am really hoping that I can put a little more effort into consciously increasing iron in my diet so I can reduce the amount of iron supplements, and thus those pesky side effects. (Yeah that one, the one that increased fiber helps with).
So, I bought some beef, rounded up some beans and made a big pot of chili. The heme iron from the beef and the non-heme iron from the beans will both have enhanced absorption from the vitamin C in the tomatoes. Just make sure not to put too much cheese on there because calcium inhibits iron absorption.
In a perfect world I would throw lots more veggies in here, green beans and kale and carrots and and and! But my husband would not tolerate such an nontraditional chili so — that’s why this one is simply called Traditional and Easy Beef Chili. Made with many ingredients you are likely to have on hand. Enjoy!
Traditional and Easy Beef Chili
This is a easy, traditional beef chili recipe sure to please any beef and bean lover.
In Hawaii, ulu is one of those food you should learn to love. This breadfruit pancake recipe is perfect for ripe ulu. Once picked breadfruit have a relatively short shelf life in their “green” or unripe state. After just a few days the flesh becomes mushy and soft and fragrant and sweet. Most recipes feature the green breadfruit as a starch like potato, ulu chips, fries, breadfruit flour, like a potato in soup, cooked in an imu until soft. However, fewer people choose to utilize the ripe breadfruit. I had a roomate that used to make a species of ripe ulu bread. While it was ok fresh and warm I liked it enough but, I found when it got cold I didnt care for it. It’s funny, according to my husband, the opposite is true for my breadfruit pancakes. He doesn’t like my ulu pancakes when they are fresh out of the pan. Instead he prefers them (if at all) when they are cold. I like them both ways. It guess, my point here is that ripe ulu can be somewhat of an acquired taste. It has a somewhat strange aftertaste that is pleasant if you decide that is it pleasant. Haha.
Breadfruit in Hawaii
Breadfruit not only grows easily here, can be found roadside, in gulches, and in tropic forests, but they are abundant. Each can produce 50-150 fruits a year that can range anywhere from 1-11 pounds. Some trees have even been noted as producing up to 700 fruits per year. So really, it is smart to have a small arsenal of ulu recipes for when your neighborhood tree starts going off. For a thorough history of breadfruit in Hawaii see this publication by the College of Tropical Agriculture and Nutrition at the University of Hawaii.
Tips for making breadfruit pancakes
I’ve been working on this breadfruit pancake recipe for a while. Originally, I made these without any added flour. But, they take a really long time to cook and a very very mushy still. So finally I’ve dialed in this recipe to include just a bit of cassava flour. Not tapioca starch, which is much more fine a gummy. Cassava flour is milled straight from shredded and dried cassava. That aside, you can use and flour you’d like. Just make sure you are familiar with how the flour reacts. For example, white rice flour is also very fine and a little gummy. This would have a total different effect that oat flour which is lighter and more airy. I also enjoy using eggs in this recipe for added protein and vitamins. But you could try using flax eggs to keep the recipe vegan.
Ulu Pancakes (Breadfruit Pancakes)
Delicious breadfruit pancakes recipe made with ripe breadfruit, eggs, spices. Can be make gluten-free and dairy free.
This baked chicken marinated in yogurt garlic sauce is inspired by Greek cuisine and the fact that I have a lot of Greek yogurt in my fridge. Did you know strained Greek yogurt has 29 grams of protein in it? Compared to just around 10 grams for regular yogurt. I didn’t know until I was searching for recipe inspiration that yogurt is one of the only substances that actually tenderizes chicken breast.
I really like the idea of cooking with chicken breasts, but it is so hard to get it to actually be moist and tasty unless you a) cook it in a soup or a stew, b) bread it and bake it, c) smoother a sauce all over it after cooking. But simply marinating the breast in yogurt turns boring chicken breast 180 degrees around into a really pleasant dish on its own.
This baked chicken marinated in yogurt dish is perfect served with a side of pilaf, orzo salad, roasted vegetables drizzled in tahini lemon dressing.
Baked Chicken Marinated Yogurt Sauce
This is a Greek inspired recipe. I wouldn't exactly call it traditional Greek cuisine, but yogurt marinade with garlic and lemon is backbone of a lot of Greek grilled chicken recipes. I adapted this recipe for the oven and based on ingredients I have on hand.
I made this recipe for quinoa yucca veggie burgers when we had an abundance of cassava root and an abundance of quinoa from our original covid-19 stock up on protein rush. This recipe is great for making veggie burgers in bulk and then freezing a few for future snacking.
Ingredients for Quinoa Yucca Vegetable Burgers
5 cups cooked quinoa
1 can garbanzo beans
2 large handfuls of fresh herbs
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
4 cups cooked and roughly chopped casssava
1 ½ teaspoons salt or to taste
fresh ground pepper to taste
½ cup or more gluten-free flour or not to coat
Steps for Quinoa Cassava Burgers:
1. Cook the quinoa according to instructions 2. Prepare and cook cassava 3. Meanwhile, chop onion, garlic, carrot, fresh herbs and sauté in pan until soft 4. In a food processor, blend cooked cassava, onion and herb sauté and egg and process until mostly smooth 5. Put cooked quinoa in large bowl and add cassava herb mixture from food processor mix well, season as desired 6. In a separate bowl add gluten-free flour or flour of choice. Place ⅓ cup mixture or so into bowl and form a ball, then squish into a patty 7. Then you can either pan fry, air fry, or bake your patties. 8. If your are using an air fryer I recommend 14 minutes brushed with coconut oil or sprayed with olive oil before and in the middle of cooking time before flipping 7 minutes into the cooking time 9. If you prefer to bake… bake at 425 and coat the pan in oil and brush the burgers in oil. You may then choose to flip halfway through baking at around 15 minutes. 10. If you are pan frying, they need about 3-5 minutes on each side to make sure the egg is cooked through.
It has been a while since I have made this ginger beef stew for my hunny. For some reason I was re-inspired. Maybe it was the fresh shipment of Big Island Beef stew sent to my corner grocery store here in Pāpaʻaloa. I used to make this ginger & squash version of beef stew almost weekly for my hunny. My method is pretty dialed. I hope you find this recipe easy to follow. It is pretty forgiving. The most important part is that you cook the beef long enough. If you use tamari instead of soy sauce, and a gluten-free thickener this recipe is gluten-free and dairy free.
Ingredients for Pumpkin & Ginger Beef Stew
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound grass-fed beef stew meat
3 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
1 large carrot, sliced in whole, thin rounds
1 medium onion roughly chopped
1-2 inches thick ginger, peeled and chopped in big slices
about ½ cup dry red wine
½ medium size tropical winter squash like Kabocha.
2 potatoes, washed, skinned, quartered and chopped
2 tablespoons organic soy sauce
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
salt and pepper
about 2 tablespoons flour or thickener of your choice (I alternate with whatever is closest to reach – tapioca starch, cassava flour, rice flour)
fresh herbs of your choice – I use whatever I have growing which right now was rosemary, oregano, stick thyme, and parsley. I skipped the basil because the others were more potent spices when cooked down.
2 Hawaiian chili peppers if desired
(optional: more veggies like red pepper, herbs, green beans, peas, etc).
Steps for Ginger Beef Stew with Pumpkin
Sauté onions, garlic, and ginger until aromatic in 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot
Add stew meat and stir consistently until the meat starts to brown
Once browned and sticking to bottom, deglaze pot with ¼ cup red wine and scrap brown bits until pot is clean.
add 6 cups of water bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and bring to simmer for about 2 hours, adding more water as need to keep the beef stew submerged.
add the squash in one whole piece and potatoes quartered
simmer another 30-45 minutes until beef begins to fall apart
add 2 tablespoons soy sauce and 1 tablespoon maple syrup
add salt and pepper to taste
stir in fresh herbs and finish for another 10 minutes, making sure beef is tender and easy to cut in half with fork.
Remove some of the broth and taste it for flavor. Then, stir in 1-2 tablespoons flour with a whisk into hot broth to dissolve.
Add flour broth mixture to pot and allow to thicken for a few minutes before removing from heat.
Enjoy over a scoop of rice!
If you like this recipe maybe you will be interested in my Big Island Beef Shepards Pie.
This vegetarian bean load is pretty good for being so incredibly easy. And it is a great way to use all those beans you stocked up on! This recipe is adapted from the Spicy Bean and Lentil Loaf recipe from the book… “Vegetarian: The Greatest Ever Vegetarian Cookbook”. This is my quick and dirty recipe. Enjoy your own variations!
Recipe for Vegetarian Bean Loaf
Ingredients and steps:
Sauté these first:
1 clove garlic chopped
1 carrot copped
1 onion chopped
2 celery stalks chopped
large handful fresh herbs like parsley, basil, dill, rosemary, thyme etc.
Then in a food processor blend…
sautéed veggies and herbs
1 can garbanzo beans drained and rinsed
1 can kidney beans drain and rinsed
After blended until smoother move to a bowl and add these remaining ingredients ½ cup breadcrumbs ( I use ½ frozen ends of loafs and ½ oatmeal)
½ cup cheese (I use shredded Parm)
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon or more to taste cayenne
salt and pepper to taste
Bake at 350 degree in an oiled loaf pan for 45-60 minutes and serve warm or cold.
This holiday season, I am always reminded to be more grateful, and more industrious with the food we grow on our farm. We just harvested a large amount of taro – and of course my first thought was to make another large batch of taro burgers. This time I didn’t have the ingredients I had on hand for my last taro burger recipe, Taro Millet Burgers so I had to experiment again! The taro burger recipe below features taro, rice and fresh herbs and vegetables. You could probably make it vegan if you left out the eggs but I think the little bit of extra protein from eggs is a bonus in this recipe.
More about Taro
Taro is Native to South India and Southeast Asia and in Hawaii is considered a “canoe plant” (it was brought here by the first Polynesian settlers. Kalo (the Hawaiian word for Taro) has extreme significance in Hawaiian diet and culture. In the Native Hawaiian creation story , taro is the the older brother of mankind. Throughout Hawaii’s history, taro remained a staple crop and a significant part of the diet. Today, on the Hawaiian Islands kalo is still consumed regularly, but does not make up as large of a percentage of the diet as it had previously.
The scientific name for taro is Colocasia esculenta. It belongs to the Araceae (aroid) family, in the large genus, Colocasia. There are many varieties within 2 main types, dryland taro and wetland taro. We grow dryland taro in our garden, in raised rows. We get plenty of rain here on the Hāmākua coast of Big Island so this method is suitable and there is no need for us to grow wetland taro in Lo’i (taro ponds).
All of the taro plant is edible. However most people who are referring to taro, are referring to the root or corm when they say taro. In addition to the root, both the leaves and the stems of taro are also edible. But, all parts of the plant need to be thoroughly cooked; otherwise they contain too much calcium oxalate, which is considered toxic and will result in a very itchy and uncomfortable throat when consumed undercooked.
You can even put all of the taro plant in the pressure cooker at once. First the steam basket, then taro root, then stems and then leaves. The stems have a delicious nutty taste when they are freshly cooked and warm. The corms are often compared to potatoes, but they are stickier, starchier, and tastier. The also have a slightly nutty taste.
Health benefits of taro
Taro has so many health benefits. Many people believe that eating taro is an essential part of a healthy diet. It is not easy to harvest and cook it, you have to dig it up, wash it, cook it, then process it. It sticks to everything and leaves quite a mess! But it is worth it. The whole process, (including digestion) slows you down and makes your truly appreciate the food. Taro root is high in fiber and potassium and also contains some folate, Vitamin E, Vitamin C and a small amount of calcium. See the nutrition facts in the chart below.
Taro nutrition Facts
(Colocasia esculenta (L.) schott), raw, Value per 100 g, (Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Cook white rice (2.5 cups water, 2 cups rice, bring to boil and cover for 20 minutes)
Sautee onions and carrots in olive oil, add garlic and cook until soft, add chopped greens and cook until wilted.
While you got the veggies going, chop taro into chucks and place food processor
Pulse taro in processor until mostly uniform and not very chunky. This may take several batches.
Remove and place in large mixing bowl
Now in food processor blend ½ the amount of cooked rice, eggs, herbs, soy sauce, salt, pepper.
Mix into the large mixing bowl with taro and add the other ½ of the rice
Mix by hand until thoroughly combined.
In another bowl empty about a cup of breadcrumbs. Make balls out of the taro mixture, cover them in breadcrumbs and then press to make a patty. Add more breadcrumbs as needed to complete covering the taro burgers in breadcrumbs.
You can panfry the taro burgers or baked them. In this bulk recipe I did both. The panfried ones had a nice crispy outside. The baked ones didn’t crisp up so well but will be great frozen and then crisped up in a pan.
To fry them place 2 tablespoons oil in a heated pan, fry for about 5 minutes on each side being carfeful not to burn. Add more oil as needed to get em crispy.
To bake, oil a baking pan or sheet and place patties in preheated oven 375-400 degree F, flip burgers after about 20-25 minutes.
Enjoy! Make an exotic aioli and enjoy these on fresh buns or sourdough – snack on the them cold straight outta the fridge.
This is the first salmon burger recipe that I have felt confident posting. Canned Wild Alaskan salmon is a staple in our house. It is relatively inexpensive, especially when bought in bulk at wholesale stores like Costco. We get 6, 6oz cans for about $13. That’s 36 ounces, 2.25 pounds, equalling less than $6 a pound for wild salmon. It is already cooked and it is easy to incorporate in quick meals like my salmon salad recipe, a quick pasta or mac and cheese, or even my fried rice dish. But we get sick of all those options so every once in a while I have to make salmon burgers, or salmon croquettes as Adam likes to call them.
Health Benefits of Wild Salmon
I like including Wild Alaskan salmon in my monthly diet. Often, the frozen fillets at the store are disappointing and the smoked salmon packages are severely overpriced here in Hawaii. Wild Salmon has so many amazing health benefits. Salmon is high in omega-3s and Vitamin D, Vitamin B12 and B3, and B6. It is high in selenium, a great source of protein, and a good source of potassium. Wild Alaskan Salmon is also low in mercury and it has less exposure to bisphenals and heavy metals. Moreover, the pink rosy pigment in salmon is an phyto-chemical or carotenoid, called astaxanthin. Studies in animals show that Astaxanthin acts as a antioxidant and reduces inflammation and tissue damage.
Is the Burger a Croquette?
This recipe isn’t for a plain, gooey, salmon burger. Instead this salmon creation is breaded and shallow fried in healthy oils. My recipe also is not traditional for either the salmon burger category or the salmon croquette category. Potato is one of the main ingredients in croquette recipes across cultures. Chefs mix mashed potatoes with poultry, meat or fish, adding onions, herbs, and milk or eggs, etc. Then they bread and deep fry the croquettes or patties.
My salmon croquette recipe skips the potato (although you could try adding potato and cut out adding the breadcrumbs into the mixture). Instead of potato, this croquette recipe uses egg and just a little breadcrumbs inside the mixture. Then they are coated in breadcrumbs before giving them a solid shallow fry in olive oil or coconut oil.
Like many of my recipes this one is simple, easily made with several ingredients that you are likely to have on tap. The salmon burgers are flexible, you can leave out the carrots, add red pepper, chop fresh herbs etc. Oh, of course they are also gluten-free if you use gluten-free soy sauce and gluten-free breadcrumbs.
Recipe for Gluten-free Salmon Burger
yield: about 8 burgers about 3 inches diameter by ½ inch thick
special equipment: maybe a blender for making your breadcrumbs
olive oil or refined coconut oil for sauté and pan-fry
2 cans of salmon (Wild Alaskan, boneless and skinless is preferred), drained
2 stalks celery chopped fine
½ large carrot (or 1 small carrot) chopped fine
1 small onion chopped fine
1 heaping tablespoon chopped garlic (2-4 cloves)
¼ cup parsley chopped fine
2 eggs beaten lightly
1 large pinch of salt (½ teaspoon or so)
2 tablespoons gluten-free tamari or soy sauce
½ cup gluten-free bread crumbs for the mixture and another 1 cup or so for breading the outside of the burger. (I save the end or slices of our gluten-free bread, add a little bit of uncooked quick oats and blend on high until fine).
Pour enough olive oil to cover the pan and sauté chopped onion, celery and carrot and garlic for 5-10 minutes until carrots are soft. Add the chopped parsley for the last 2 minutes.
In the meantime add canned salmon, salt, pepper, soy sauce, and bread crumbs and mix well
When the sautéed vegetables are done, add them to the salmon mixture and check for taste (salt, pepper, soy etc).
Then add the egg and ½ cup of breadcrumbs
In a separate bowl place ½ cup or more breadcrumb mixture
Form salmon patties and fry lightly on each side until golden brown about 4-5 minutes on each side.
Serve warm or cold with whatever side dish you feel is appropriate
This easy fried rice recipe is a perfect way to use left over rice, meat and vegetables. It can be made vegetarian and gluten-free making it a flexible meal to serve for guests with allergies and vegetarian principals. I make this recipe at least once a week, sometimes more. It’s great for using up whatever garden veggies I have and any other left overs (like ground beef, turkey, chicken etc). You can even add canned salmon or tuna to this. You can make this a veggie stacked as you desire or just put a little in there for color if you are low on produce. I would not try skipping the ginger, garlic, or onion, and especially not the soy sauce and the eggs. Hope you enjoy and make lots of easy fried rice recipes!
If you like other meals that can be made with flexible ingredients, try my frittata recipe.
Recipe for Easy Fried Rice
some sort of cooked meat (chopped chicken, ground beef, even canned fish, turkey, or just vegetarian)
1.5 – 2 cups cooked rice
ginger – 1 inch piece peel and chopped into large pieces