Beef and Lamb Air Fryer Burger


This is one of my favorite ways to make healthy burgers. This is a bit different than what you are used to making. For these burgers, we are not going to be using a normal grill. We are going to be using a healthy oil free fryer or “air fryer”. Air fryers work by cooking or frying your food with hot air. The hot air is circulated around the food, cooking it thoroughly all around. I can see a lot of you right now reading this and probably rolling your eyes but trust me, it’s amazing and actually good for you (depending on how lean your beef is). You can make this in pretty much any air fryer with a large basket.

Here’s how it’s done:

Always start off with washing your hands!


-2 pounds high-quality beef (I prefer 70 percent lean as it is the juiciest IMO)

-1/2 pound ground lamb

-1/2 onion

-your favorite burger seasoning (I love Emeril’s Burger Seasoning)

-Sliced pepper jack cheese


-2 tomatoes

-2 tsp basil



  1. Add your ground beef and ground lamb into a large bowl.
  2. Dice your onions and toss those in as well.
  3. Add your burger seasoning.
  4. Add in the ground basil.
  5. Mix everything together nicely until everything is evenly spread out.
  6. Form your lamb/burger meat into 4-5 patties
  7. Cook in your Air Fryer at around 390 degrees for 20 minutes
  8. Take them out and check them after 10 minutes. In most cases they will need further cooking. Cook them for another 10-15
  9. Cook them for another 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees.

That’s it! Take them out and add on the fixings and serve. Such an easy and healthy dinner. The lamb adds a wonderful and juicy flavor to the beef.




Spicy Spaghetti with Fennel and Herbs


I’ve made a few alterations to this dish, which was good but not great in our opinion. The fennel was originally cut into largish wedges, which while pretty, was far too much fennel per bite. I’ve instead advised chopping the fennel, which in turn reduces cooking time and amount of broth used. I’ve also added more spice, because we thought the original recipe didn’t deserve the adjective “spicy” in the title as was.


8 servings

Prep Time

0 hours, 10 minutes

Cook Time

0 hours, 20 minutes


  • 1 three-ounce package pancetta (Italian bacon), chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 large red (or green, if necessary) jalapeño chiles, seeded, finely chopped
  • 2 large fennel bulbs, stalks trimmed, chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound spaghetti (We used whole wheat spaghetti)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups finely grated Pecorino Romano or Pecorino Toscano cheese, divided


  1. Sauté pancetta in large skillet over medium heat until pancetta is golden. Using slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to paper towels. Add 1 tablespoon oil to drippings in skillet. Add garlic and chiles; sauté over medium heat 1 minute. Add fennel; cook until beginning to soften, 5 minutes.
  2. Mix in broth, 2 tablespoons parsley, lemon juice, and fennel seeds. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until fennel is very tender, 10 minutes. Add extra chicken broth as necessary to keep slightly moist. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook pasta until tender; drain. Reserve 1 cup cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot.
  4. Uncover skillet with fennel mixture and return to high heat. Cook until almost all liquid is absorbed, about 4 minutes. Add fennel to pasta. Stir in 2 tablespoons oil, 1/2 cup cheese, and pancetta. Add cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls if dry. Toss pasta; transfer to serving bowl. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons parsley over. Serve with cheese.

Stuff a taco

When you cook with a lot of different vegetables or are a CSA member, you come to see the common tortilla as more than an ingredient. Instead, I think of tortillas as containers, as vehicles, as something in which you can put most anything and somehow make it delicious. At Casa Local Dish, we go beyond the normal taco fillings of chicken, pork, beef and beans. In fact, we’ve been know to stuff a tortilla with:

After all these experiments, I’ve learned a few important things, such as spicy green salsas pair especially well with sweet vegetables like squash. Therefore, I was pretty confident that this latest recipe was going to be a big hit:

Bean and Butternut Tacos with Green Salsa

That’s right, it’s my favorite
squash2.jpg - medium

Butternut is also used in the Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas linked above, but that recipe is a bit of a big to-do. I was looking for something similar but simpler and just as tasty, and these tacos knocked the ball out of the park.

squash.jpg - medium

This lovely squash is from our farm, Greenhorn Acres, as were several other ingredients, including the tomatillos, jalepeno and onion, which are quickly toasted and then thrown in a blender to create the homemade salsa.

sauce.jpg - medium

It’s nice to make such great use of the week’s produce from our CSA, certainly, but please make note: If you have the time to make the salsa, fine. Or, make a big batch and freeze some to skip the step next time around. But to make this meal take half the time and effort and be an effortless weeknight meal, feel free to use pre-made green salsa from the grocery and sprinkle on some avocado instead of blending it into the salsa. There are some great green salsas out there and I don’t think this homemade version was any better or worse, so skip the time and the dishes if you feel like it.

tacos1.jpg - medium

Because once the salsa is out of the way, you roast the squash with chiles and spices, heat up a can of pinto beans with other spices and assemble, topping with sliced cabbage and feta cheese. The beans are a good source of protein, and the squash is a good source of B vitamins, vitamin C and potassium.

And did I mention? They just taste good.

tacos2.jpg - medium

So, there you go. The versatile taco can take just about any combination of ingredients, especially when you experiment to see which veggies and spices balance each other. If you have tortillas and some imagination, you likely have dinner at your finger tips.

Anyone out there have any interesting taco, burrito or enchilada recipes to share?

Spicy Thai Coconut Quinoa – Local Dish

Spicy Thai Coconut Quinoa

Ways in which things are returning to normal at Casa Local Dish:

  • Out with the lunch meat! We’re eating dinner leftovers for lunch the next day, which has been our habit and preference for years. You can only eat so many sandwiches. No matter how you vary the ingredients, it’s still a sandwich.
  • A full pot of tea every morning! No more heating up water in the microwave or kettle to make individual mugs. Our “coffee” maker is full steam ahead, using our favorite loose-leaf teas to make 12-cup pots of warmth for early winter mornings.
  • Also full dishwashers! No more paper plates. No more take-out containers. You wouldn’t think I’d be happy about dishes, but, well, life can be surprising.
  • Welcome back tofu! Welcome back spicy! Welcome back Asian! Three of my favorite things to cook myself, all included in:

Spicy Thai Coconut Quinoa

Is that a Kate dish, or is that a Kate dish? (Hat tip to

Gina on Pinterest

for the recipe.) But not everything is business as usual. How could it be in such new surroundings? What’s not normal:

  • The vast, lovely amount of space I have in my new kitchen to arrange my ingredients for blog photography.
  • The amount of Sriracha hot sauce this recipe calls for: 1/3 cup. Hoo whee.
  • The shiny, white counters, which are awesome but reflect more light than I’m used to when I take food photos.
  • The vast, lovely amount of space I have in my new kitchen to arrange my ingredients for blog photography. Oh, I said that already.

(Sorry, I’ve probably crossed the line into bragging now. I’ll stop.) (I’ll try to stop.) As the last pictures show, the key to this recipe is preparation. This is not something to throw together after a long day of work or on short notice. This requires reading all the steps in advance and staying organized, which at least in the kitchen,

I’m usually pretty good at

. Even so, I wouldn’t label this recipe as the original CHOW post did: “It’s still simple enough for a weeknight dinner and you won’t use every pot and pan in the house.” Yeah, even I don’t consider it simple. Not hard, but not simple. The quinoa, broccoli, carrots and tofu all have to be cooked in separate stages. Then the dressing, tasty but thick and sticky, is difficult to stir evenly through all the ingredients. There were a few pockets of nothing but dressing that took me by surprise. It’s a Kate recipe, and one which I’m glad I made. It was good. Not good enough for me to eagerly put it back into rotation right away, though. Surprisingly, the best part — the new bit I’ll take away to put into use in the future — was simple: the preparation of the quinoa… … which is cooked in broth and coconut milk. Why have I never thought of this? Talk about flavor! The healthy whole grain becomes creamy and craveable all by itself. Perhaps it could be used as a simple side dish? Perhaps the same method would work well with other grains like rice? You eat every day, my friends. Might as well learn something new, too.

special-occasion recipes to re-emerge to be enjoyed at holiday meals — hopefully with some new photos to accompany. Happy holidays!

Eggplant Rollatini – Local Dish

Eggplant Rollatini Image


I love eggplant Parmesan, but not so much the frying involved. This recipe seemed a great solution. Thin slices of eggplant are breaded and baked, then are wrapped around a cheese mixture and topped with marinara. It a good deal of work, but the dish satisfies that Italian craving in a (cheese aside) healthy way.

The drawback is that the process is messy and takes more time than I’d like for a weekday meal. Crisp and delicious straight from the oven, I may steal the method for cooking the eggplant to create a side dish or a component for another recipe.


8 servings

Prep Time

0 hours, 30 minutes

Cook Time

1 hour, 0 minutes


  • Cooking spray
  • All-pupose flour
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless French bread
  • 2 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 8 ounces)
  • 18 1/4- to 1/3-inch-thick lengthwise eggplant slices (from 2 medium)
  • 3 cups (packed) coarsely grated whole-milk mozzarella cheese (about 12 ounces)
  • 1 1/4 cup ricotta cheese (preferably whole-milk)
  • 3/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 3 cups marinara sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 3 baking sheets and one 13×9×2-inch glass baking dish with nonstick spray. Place flour in 1 wide shallow bowl, eggs in second bowl, and breadcrumbs mixed with 1 cup Parmesan cheese in another. Sprinkle each eggplant slice with salt and pepper. Coat each slice with flour, then beaten egg, and finally breadcrumb mixture. Arrange eggplant slices in single layer on prepared sheets. Bake eggplant in batches until coating is golden, turning after 15 minutes, about 30 minutes total. Cool on sheets.
  2. Mix mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, basil, and 1 cup Parmesan cheese in medium bowl. Season filling with salt and pepper. Divide filling among eggplant slices (about 3 tablespoons per slice); spread evenly. Starting at 1 short end, roll up eggplant slices, enclosing filling. Arrange rolls, seam side down, in prepared baking dish. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spoon marinara sauce over rolls; sprinkle with remaining 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese. Bake uncovered until rollatini are heated through and mozzarella cheese melts, about 30 minutes.


Related Posts

FAQ – Local Dish

So what are you trying to do here?

Mostly, we’re having a great time. We’ve always loved cooking and eating delicious food, and in the last two years or so, we’ve discovered that eating fresh — right off the vine from somewhere close by — is DEFINITELY the tastiest way to go. But if we have to nail down our philosophy on eating locally, it’s important to say that it’s never all or nothing. Not for us. The Local Dish is not about all-or-nothing philosophies. Instead, we focus on doing what

we personally

are able to do, both physically and mentally. Some people will be able to go further in their localvore tendencies than others. Some will be able to do less. And no one should be discouraged for making even the smallest step in the local direction or shamed for minor deviations. If you’re curious about the “official” Localvore Plegde, however,

click here


What is this whole thing about local food?

Good question. A complex question, but a very good one. There are several reasons people are drawn toward local food:


  • It tastes good! Fresh is flavorful, and you can’t get anything fresher than the tomato you pick from your garden, and most farmers market produce has been picked within 12 hours of your purchase. Many supermarket-friendly items, on the other hand, have been in processing or transport for days — even weeks — all the while losing that fresh flavor. In addition, in order to transport perishable produce from afar, producers are forced to use preservatives, waxes or chemicals to preserve faux freshness and they choose to produce only the hardiest varieties, meaning you will never even have the option of heirloom varieties. There’s a reason they’re called “heirloom”: because they’re quickly falling out of production. Eating local, then, offers both freshness and variety of flavor.
  • The adventure. Focusing on eating locally means focusing on seasonal eating, consuming whatever crops are at the peak of ripeness at the time. Turnips, beets, kohlrabi, cabbage, radishes, choi, squash: These vegetables, though wonderful, are not exactly common fare on most American tables. Local eating is therefore an adventure that expands your horizons and your palate. Check out the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s chart of seasonality to learn more about what’s fresh right now.


  • Transportation. Food trucked or flown or shipped from distant places obviously requires a great deal of fossil fuel and creates emissions. In fact, most produce grown in the United States travels an average of 1,500 miles before it gets sold, making about 180 kg of carbon by plane or 140 kg carbon by car. (Calculate the carbon cost of food from various countries here.)
  • Sustainability. Industrial agriculture drains the soil of its natural fertility and forces us to turn to artificial fertility in the form of chemicals. The U.S. Uses about 23 million tons of chemical fertilizer every year. Where that runoff reaches the Gulf of Mexico, it’s created a dead zone, a 6,000-square-mile area that has no sea life. And it’s not just farming that has sustainability issues. Most livestock are now raised in concentrated-animal feeding operations (CAFOs), where they live haunch-to-haunch. Not only are vast quantities of their waste being released into ground and the water supply, but that waste is full of hormones and antibiotics. So yes, current methods of food production are blatantly unsustainable.


  • Nutrition. Despite recent studies that attempt to disprove it, organic vegetables contain 53.6 percent more betacarotene, 11.3 percent more zinc, 38.4 percent more flavonoids and 12.7 percent more proteins. Organic food also has significantly higher levels of antioxidants and lower levels of nitrates. And even if your local food is not certified organic, it’s likely to be higher in nutrients because of its freshness as nutrient content begins to decline after it’s been picked, meaning fresh food will always have more nutrients than food picked many days beforehand.
  • Chemicals. Organic produce — which most conscientious local producers grow — doesn’t contain pesticides, which even the U.S. Government admits are dangerous to health. They note (PDF) that children eating conventional food had pesticide levels six times higher than their peers who ate organic, pesticides that are linked to hyperactivity, behavior disorders, learning disabilities, developmental delays and motor dysfunction. Chemical residue is particularly insidious in meat: When you eat an animal’s flesh, you’re consuming the condensed remains of every chemical that animal ate in its lifetime.
  • Knowing how your food was grown or raised. You can’t trust a label. They say the chickens are “free range” or “cage-free,” but the only requirement to make that claim is that the animals have access to the outdoors, and that could be for five minutes a day on a gravel lot. Similarly, beef can be “grass-fed” if it ate grass for a time, even if at the end of its life, it was stuffed with corn. Only if you know your producer and their methods, you can never be sure of exactly how the food you are eating was raised.
  • Food safety. Spinach, tomatoes, jalapenos, pistachios: These are just a few of the foods that have been found to be contaminated and were pulled form shelves recently. When such outbreaks occur, it often takes weeks or months to track down the source in the labyrinthine food transportation system. When you keep your food local, it changes hands only once, maybe twice, allowing for less chance of contamination.


  • Helping struggling farmers. Fewer than 1 million Americans now claim farming as their primary occupation, and it’s no wonder when commodity prices are at historic lows, often below the cost of production. The farmer now gets less than 10 cents of the retailer food dollar. (PDF) When farmers have a direct relationship with their customers, they can keep the full market value of their crop and continue farming, as opposed to the path of bankruptcy and further farmland consolidation in corporate hands.
  • Keeping your dollars in your community. For every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $45 stays in your community because that owner pays salaries, buys supplies and hires services. When you shop at a chain store, the amount that stays in your community falls to $13. (Source)
  • Saving money. Buying local and/or organic CAN be cheaper than buying conventional produce and meats. Granted, it won’t ALWAYS be cheaper, but it is possible. In season produce is always cheaper than produce that’s out of season and transported from afar, so buy in season, buy lots and preserve it. Local food also cuts out the middle man, meaning extraneous food costs can be avoided. But even if local food costs the same amount as conventional, it’s cheaper in the long run. After all, we haven’t yet begun to pay for the costs of industrial farming, such as water pollution, air pollution, and burned-out soil that are associated with conventional products.


  • Animal cruelty. In order to maximize profit, industrial agriculture is at odds with the well-being of the animals they’re raising. They’re kept in close quarters, fed foods they’re not designed to eat and force fed. Living a life they’re not meant to, they get sick and are given unhealthy doses of antibiotics. But some practices are truly revolting, such as cutting off pig’s tails, feeding cows beef lard or de-beaking chickens. Even those that aren’t overly concerned with providing animals with a happy, healthy life should know that when an animal is subject to stress and pain, it is more prone to disease and can produce lower quality meat, milk, or eggs.
  • Fixing a broken system. The Farm Bill is a mess, controlled by powerful lobbies at the expense of growers and our health as a nation, and corn is usually the main crop cited as a problem. Between 1995 and 2006, corn growers received $56 billion in federal subsidies, and the annual figure may soon hit $10 billion. This keeps prices artificially low, creates low-grade corn fed to animals or made into unhealthy products, and is made into high-fructose corn syrup. Eating local circumvents that system, makes a statement to government and supports farmers that would fail under the current system.

Obviously, there are lots of reasons people choose to eat locally, and the more you research the subject, the more it makes perfect sense to change your habits in the local direction. The best thing to do is learn more about the subject and make up your own mind, and here are a few good places to start. (Only the basics here. More suggestions welcome, email kate AT localdish DOT net.)

Quick-hit, shorter resources

  • The Eat Local Challenge, 10 Reasons to Eat Local Food
  • The Sustainable Table, What is Local?
  • The New York Times, Mountains of Corn and a Sea of Farm Subsidies
  • Time Magazine, Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food
  • Mother Nature Network, Is buying local always better? It’s complicated
  • The Chicago Tribune, The green movement rethinks the way we cook
  • Colorado Springs Independent, Local buying: different from local shopping
  • Colorado Springs Independent, The corporate co-opt of ‘local’
  • Organic is more nutritious according to the French
  • The Nation’s series, Food For All: How to Grow Democracy
  • TruthDig, Food Is Power and the Powerful Are Poisoning Us

Longer, in-depth resources