Vacation Favorite Hawaiian Recipes

In honor of our Maui vacation, I’m sharing a few local favorites that we’ve enjoyed dining on. We always enjoy Hawaiian foods, especially the pork and fish meals. And, of course the variety of fresh fish here in Hawaii is amazing! Two of our favorite fish are Monchong and Opah, which are caught locally. So, read on to get some great dinner and dessert recipes and eat like you are on a tropical vacation this week!

Photo of hawaiian water and volcanic rocks

Hawaiian Meals – Lanai Style

Food prices are higher in Hawaii than other part of the United States. And, eating out is even more expensive.

As a Californian, I am used to paying premium for dining out, but Hawaii takes it to a whole new level. It is on par with the cost of dining out in San Francisco.

So, we usually stay in a condominium (with an outdoor kitchen on the lanai) while on vacation in Hawaii. It allows us to prepare some of our own meals and save money. And, it also gives us some extra room since we usually stay for at least 10 days.

Our most amazing dinners there are spent on the lanai, eating dinner while gazing out at the sunset on the Pacific Ocean and feeling the warm tropical breeze.

Read about our Maui trip here. And, part 1 of my vacation planning series here.

Hawaiian Fish and Recipes

One of the perks of being in Hawaii that is the abundance of fresh, local fish and seafood. Many nights we get our dinner ingredients from a local market and grill on our lanai. You just can’t beat freshly caught Hawaiian fish.

There are several different types of fish living off the waters of the Hawaiian Islands. Opah (moonfish), Kumu (goatfish), Monchong, Opakapaka (pink snapper), Ahi Tuna, Uhu, and Hawaiian Butterfish can be found in local restaurants.

This article explores how to prepare these different types of fish: HERE.

Grilled Monchong

We purchased fresh Monchong for dinner from a local fresh fish market. The resort we stayed at had a grill chef that grills food for the guests in the evenings.

So, we decided to have our Monchong grilled by the grill chef. There were several other guests having their dinners grilled, too.But, it was worth the experience.

The grill chef had at least 5 grills going at the same time! It was interesting watching him going from grill to grill, checking temperatures and sprinkling on seasonings.

Our grilled Monchong was perfect. It was lightly broiled on the outside and flakey inside, which is exactly how I like my fish grilled.

a plate with a grilled Monchong fillet, a traditional hawaiian recipe
Grilled Monchong

Grilled Monchong Recipe


  • 1 tsp. kosher salt


  1. Brush the Monchong with melted butter and rub with seasonings.
  2. Heat the grill and brush well with oil to prevent the Monchong from sticking. Grill the Monchong for 3-5 minutes on each side over direct heat, then move to indirect heat until the center is opaque.
  3. Remove from grill immediately when done. Serve Monchong with steamed rice and a salad.

Grilled Shrimp with Fresh Herbs

To keep the Hawaiian meals theme going, we bought fresh shrimp from the local fish market. The shrimp were straight from the ocean and still had their heads attached!

Readying them for cooking was an experience. I’m used to buying shrimp that have been deveined and shell-split, but it was well worth the effort.

Along with the fish, we had the grill chef prepare the shrimp. He used butter and fresh herbs from the resort’s herb garden to season them.

a platter of grilled Shrimp with herbs, a hawaiian dinner recipe

Grilled Shrimp Recipe


  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt


  1. Combine all the ingredients and allow them to marinate for 1 hour at room temperature.  
  2. Heat the grill and brush well with oil to prevent the shrimp from sticking. Grill the shrimp for only 1-2 minutes on each side ,over direct heat, until pink.
  3. Remove from grill immediately when done.

Our Favorite Hawaiian Restaurant Meals and Recipes

During our stay in Maui, we have eaten at a number of local restaurants in Ka’anapali and Lahaina.

Here are some of the most popular Hawaiian restaurant meals and recipes.

Duke’s Macadamia Nut Herb-Crusted Fish

This recipe is a copycat recipe from Duke’s restaurant.

a dinner plate with a Macadamia Nut Opah Monchong fillet with a creamy sauce over rice
Duke’s Macadamia Nut Fish

Macadamia Nut Fish Recipe


  • 4 (6 oz. size) Opah (Moonfish) or Monchong fillets
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese flour meal)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped unsalted macadamia nuts
  • 3 Tbsp. finely chopped basil leaves
  • 2 Tbsp. finely minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. finely chopped thyme leaves
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil


  1. Season fillets with salt and pepper. Combine remaining ingredients except olive oil; coat fillets with mixture.
  2. In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté fillets until golden brown, about 4 minutes on both sides. Serve with Lemon-Butter Wine Sauce with Capers. 
  3. To make in an Air Fryer: After step 1, cook fillets at 350º in air fryer for 8 minutes. Check to see if fish fillets are opaque in the middle and the fish separates easily.

Lemon-Butter Wine Sauce with Capers:
In a saucepan, heat 1/4 cup dry wine, 1/4 cup chopped onion, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, 2 tablespoons chopped chives, and 1/4 cup lemon juice. Cook until liquid reduces to half. Add 1/4 cup heavy cream; simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in 1 1/2 cups softened unsalted butter, a little at a time. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 cup capers, and 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice. Makes about 1 cup sauce. 

Kimo’s Teriyaki Ribs with Mango BBQ Sauce

At Kimo’s restaurant in Lahaina, I had some delicious ribs for dinner. The glazed sauce was soooo good. So, I just had to get the recipe for this yummy Hawaiian dinner.

teriyaki ribs with a bowl of green salad in the background

Serves 4

Teriyaki Ribs with Mango BBQ Sauce Recipe


  • 4 to 5 lbs. pork back ribs (20 ribs)
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp. cracked peppercorns
  • 1-1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
  • 2  tsp. salt
  • 1 cup water

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 cup catsup
  • 2 cups mango puree
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. liquid smoke
  • 2 tsp. sweet chili sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin


Place ribs in a roasting pan. Combine bay leaves, peppercorns, 1 1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke, salt, and water; pour over ribs. Cover tightly with foil. Bake in electric oven at 375°F for 45 minutes. Combine the remaining ingredients to make the mango barbecue sauce. Remove ribs from roasting pan; place on rack of broiler pan. Basting frequently with the sauce, broil ribs in oven 6 inches from broiler unit until browned on both sides.

Hula Pie – a Hawaiian Specialty

A Hawaiian dinner would not be complete without dessert!

For desert, pies are really popular here. It seems like each restaurant has a special pie they are known for. One of them is Hula Pie served at Duke’s and Kimo’s restaurants.

a plate of hula pie, is a traditional hawaiian dessert recipe

I found this recipe for Hula Pie on Hawaiì Magazine’s website. Make it and you’ll know why people love Hawaiian food!

Hula Pie recipe

Bring a little taste of Hawaii into your life this week by making one of these Hawaiian recipes!

a photo of a Hawaiian meal of teriyaki ribs with mango bbq sauce

You’ll love these meal recipe roundups:


A Little Time Off in Paradise: Maui, the Valley Isle

I didn’t post a menu with recipes this week because I am on vacation. Instead, you get some lovely pics of Maui this week! Get my favorite Hawaiian meals and recipes here.

We Love Maui!

This is our third time here on Maui. As we have visited each of the different Hawaiian Islands, I’ve come to appreciate the differences each island has to offer. Maui has beautiful beaches and incredible green mountains.


We are staying in Ka’anapali, which is just north of Lahaina, this time. To the west, we can see the islands of Molokai and Lanai.

I mentioned in a previous post (HERE) that we had a pre-trip issue with our accommodations. About a month prior to our trip we found out that our resort was closing three of their four pools for repairs during our trip. Fortunately, our vacation rental agency allowed us to cancel our reservation without penalty.

We quickly rebooked with another resort and are really pleased with our choice, Ka’anapali Al’ii. The hubby and I stayed at the Hyatt a few resorts south of here almost 3 years ago. We walked by here on the Beachwalk daily.

Ka'anapali Beach in front of Ka'anapali Ali'i.
Ka’anapali Beach in front of Ka’anapali Ali’i

Location, Location, Location

I love it’s close proximity to the Whaler’s Village shopping center. It is always a win-win when you get in a little exercise while shopping in paradise.

This time I made sure to checkout Tommy Bahama early in the trip for a new swimsuit and coverup. I even took a peek in their Louis Vuitton store. They have this limited edition Neverfull there.

Louis Vuitton bag.
Photo Credit: Louis Vuitton

Around the Island

Last time we were here, we took a drive to Hana. This is a gorgeous waterfall along the way.

Twin Falls, on the way to Hana.
Twin Falls, on the way to Hana

Last night, I saw a raincloud over the ocean.


Check back soon for more pics and follow me on Instagram or Facebook for the latest. Aloha!

Here’s More Travel

Read more travel posts:

Florida and Key West:

Pismo Beach, CA:

Travel Planning:

Road Trips:

Girls Trips:

empty nest

The Empty Nest…So, What’s Next?

Eleven years ago, this month, my baby girl went off to college. Even though I’d known it was coming and tried to prepare myself mentally, it was still a blow. Ironically, it almost didn’t happen.

A Little Background…

Though you’d never know it now, our youngest wasn’t the most motivated student. She struggled with ADHD, and though I was never formally diagnosed, I did too. Both of us have learned to survive and thrive in a non-ADHD world.

Homework was always an issue with her. Remembering it, doing it, and turning it in.

Just before spring break of her senior year, we received a progress report showing she was failing Algebra 2. She had to pass, with a C, to get into college. In fact, she’d already been accepted and we may have even attended her college orientation at that point.

The teacher said she didn’t see how our daughter could pass the class. But, she buckled down, made up her homework over spring break, and passed her final. She passed the class! It came right down to the wire.

photo of me, my husband, and my daughter from her graduation


“The Day” Has Arrived

That story relates to what occurred the day we left our youngest at college, and joined the ranks of empty nesters.

After getting her all settled into her dorm, it was time to go. As soon as we rounded the corner of the hall, I started sobbing. It’s such an ugly sob that my face is buried in my husband’s chest, and he has to lead me out of the dorm, down the street, to our car.

As we get settled in the car, my husband (who is trying to cheer me up) says, “don’t worry, she’ll be home before Christmas.”

His statement is based on the fact that we have had to push, prod, prompt, institute weekly schoolwork monitoring, and generally micromanage her schoolwork to get to this point. He thinks she won’t be able to cope in college without us there to push her.

The good news is that my husband was wrong! And, it’s probably the only time he’s been so thrilled to be wrong. She didn’t turn into the best student overnight, but she stuck with it and graduated from college.

Mission Accomplished

When our girls both graduated from college, my husband and I were almost more excited than they were. Although they’d done all the work, he and I accomplished our goal of providing them with what we considered the best start for adulthood.

empty nest
Heather received her BA in Public Administration (left) and Danielle her MA in Counseling (right), June 2011

What’s Next?

While my daughter was loving college in “The City” (she started at San Francisco State), I was at home wondering what was next for me. Mentally, I was at a crossroads. We lived in a really small town and I didn’t have a real network of friends for support.

This was before Facebook (for non-college students) and blogs. It was the age of My Space and Yahoo Groups. I looked for groups relating to empty nesters and didn’t have much luck. That’s one reason, all these years later, I started this blog.

The empty nest can be a really rough time in some parents’ lives. I was emotionally invested in raising my children, and at the time I only worked 12 hours a week. I enjoyed being a homemaker, but I wasn’t used to the quiet and abundance of free time I now had.

It took me about a year to get my bearings and adapt to this new phase of life.

Getting Your Bearings

Once I got my bearings, my life got so much better. I had the time to focus on myself and doing the things that gave me happiness, like cooking. Cooking was fun again because I didn’t have to satisfy picky teenagers. I had a husband who loved what I made. And, no more chauffeuring kids, monitoring curfews, or supervising homework!

Oh, there were still kid issues to deal with and plenty of worries, like when my daughters didn’t answer their cell phones after a night out. I still worried about their safety, a lot.

Around the one year mark of my empty nest, I left my part-time job for a challenging, full-time sales job. After spending years as the homemaker/house cleaner, I hired a cleaning woman.

My husband’s career was doing well, too, and suddenly, paying for two kids in college wasn’t so financially draining. We started redecorating our home and taking exciting vacations. Life was very good.

me and my husband.
Overlooking San Juan, Puerto Rico, 2011

Welcome to The Feathered Nester

If you find yourself here because this is your new phase and you are struggling, I can relate. In case you missed it, here is my post on coping strategies for surviving and thriving with an empty nest (HERE). If you’re not struggling, that’s awesome. You are way ahead of the curve.

I named my blog “The Feathered Nester” because even though my nest has emptied out, I’m still feathering away. I am all about home and family: creating beautiful memories, working on our dream home, and loving on my husband, daughters, and my grandchildren.

I’m so glad you’ve joined me!

See our ever expanding family…

our lovely family photo near a tree
Hawaii, October 2015
our lovely family photo

December 2016


Meal Plan for the Upcoming Week 8/28 to 9/3

Recapping Last Week’s Meal Plan: We ate well here at our house last week and I hope you did, too! Did you make any of the meals from the meal plan at your house? If so, I hope you’ll share how they turned out. If you missed it, here is a link to last week’s meals (LINK).

As I was preparing the Halibut en papilotte on Thursday, I decided to use my steam oven instead of parchment paper. Here are some pictures of preparation and the finished product.

Halibut en papilotte

meal plan
Enter a caption

Halibut en papilotte Halibut en papilotte

I bought this salad from Costco and it was delicious! And, it’s healthy to boot. I would definitely recommend it.

kale salad kit

kale salad

New For This Week

The higher carb foods in the meal plan are italicized. I’ve cut back on carbs like sugars, starches, and grains in my diet, but my husband hasn’t. I thought that would make it easier for those following a lower carb diet.

To keep the sodium content low, I do not add any salt while cooking to my foods. When preparing the ribs, my husband sets aside my portion for no-salt seasoning. And, since I’m not preparing the ribs, I asked my husband – who is an absolute boss at grilling and smoking meats – to share how he prepares them. Look for the ribs recipe as a separate post later this week.

Meal Plan for the Upcoming Week

Monday: Chicken Piccata with mashed potatoes and green beans.

chicken piccata

Chicken piccata (unbreaded) recipe:


  • 4 boneless, thinly sliced chicken breasts
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. diced onion
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup no-salt added chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp. capers
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter.


Saute chicken breasts in olive oil on medium-high heat for 4 minutes on each side. While cooking, rinse and dry capers to remove excess sodium. Add onion and garlic and cook 1 minute, then add lemon juice and chicken broth. Simmer until bubbly.

Remove from heat and add butter and capers.  Select your own recipe for mashed potatoes, add no-salt added canned or fresh green beans, and your meal is ready.

Tuesday: Taco Salad with guacamole and salsa

I love taco salad! It’s a quick and easy meal to make and you can substitute ingredients to suit any diet plan. Usually, I use ground beef for this, but you can use any kind of meat or pinto or black beans. My husband likes both meat and beans in his.

For low-carb: After preparing ground beef, I generously layer torn or shredded leaf lettuce, the ground beef, grated cheese, diced tomatoes, onions, sliced or diced avocado, and top with salsa and sour cream. I don’t use any dressing, just the salsa and sour cream.

For my husband, I add tortilla chips and pinto or black beans. I use this seasoning for the ground beef: 1 Tbsp. chili powder, 1 tsp. cumin, 1/2 tsp. of each: onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and a pinch of chili pepper. After cooking the ground beef, I add the juice of one lime for added flavor. The guacamole recipe is in last week’s meal plan HERE.

Wednesday: Tomatillo and Garlic Shrimp with cilantro rice and green salad

Tomatillo and Garlic Shrimp with cilantro rice and green salad


  • 1 pound of shrimp (I use frozen raw shrimp and buy the largest size I can find, usually 21-25 per pound)
  • 1 pound of tomatillos
  • small onion
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 minced jalapeño pepper
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter (divided)
  • 1/2 c. fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice.


Rinse shrimp and remove outer shells/tails. Remove husks and stems from tomatillos, rinse well, and dice. Dice the onion and mince the jalapeño pepper.

Use a skillet that has a fitted lid, as you’ll need the lid later in recipe.

Saute the onions and jalapeños in 1 Tbsp. butter and 1 Tbsp. olive oil until translucent. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, add tomatillos. Then cover with lid and reduce heat to low. Cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add 2 Tbsp. butter and 2 Tbsp. water, and shrimp. Increase heat to medium and cook shrimp turn they turn pink.

For cilantro rice: cook rice as usual, adding the juice of one lime to water. When done, add 1/4 c. minced cilantro and stir. I use bagged green salad.

Thursday: Stuffed Bell Peppers

Stuffed Bell Peppers

This is my favorite recipe: Low-Carb Stuffed Bell Peppers

Friday:  Smoked/BBQ Ribs with coleslaw and garlic bread

My husband likes to use baby back ribs because they are more meaty and less fatty. Here’s a meal plan tip for “How do you know how many ribs to make?” Well, it’s based on a number of factors really.

  • Are you having a lot of sides?
  • Do you want leftovers?
  • It also depends on how hearty everyone’s appetites are.

My husband likes having leftovers, so he makes about 1/2 rack per person. If you don’t want leftovers then plan 3-4 ribs for less hearty appetites.

He says: “I’m no BBQ expert, but this is a method I have tried several times with great success.” Season the baby back ribs the day before you BBQ them. Rinse and dry the ribs. Remove the membrane on underside of the ribs. Apply a light coating of vegetable or olive oil. Then liberally apply the seasoning, wrap them in clear wrap and let them sit in fridge overnight. I use the 3-2-1 method. Three hours on grill/smoker, two hours wrapped in aluminum foil on grill or oven, then one hour back on grill. This is the short version. I’ll post the whole recipe later this week on Wednesday or Thursday, so check back.

Saturday: Roasted Pork Tenderloin with kale salad and Hawaiian sweet rolls

Having a meal plan and knowing what you’re making on the weekends, makes them more carefree! So, here’s my special tip for making roasted pork tenderloin: buy a pre-marinated pork tenderloin! Before cooking, rinse and dry the tenderloin to remove even more sodium. I’ll use the bagged kale salad from Costco, shown above.

Before cutting back on carbs, I was using the Hawaiian sweet rolls. Have you every tried them? They’re low in sodium. If you’ve looked at the sodium content in breads you’ll know what a find they are.

Roasted Pork Tenderloin

Sunday: Dinner out

logo of The Feathered Nester
This is the meal menu for this week. Please share your experiences following along with my meal plans and give me your suggestions for future meals below:

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