Sarah Ganser may only be 12, but she's already an experienced cook and now, an award winning one. Next week, she'll head to Washington D.C as the Wisconsin winner of Michelle Obama's Healthy Lunchtime Challenge.
"At first I was like wait this is really happening?" says Ganser. "I didn't really believe it at first, and then it kind of grew on me, and I was like oh my gosh, I'm going to the White House."
Her recipe for African Sweet Potato Stew came from a family friend, but Ganser and her mom tweaked it to be more kid-friendly.
"I just love that aspect of it," says Jennifer Gasner. "I love to share foods that can make us feel good, but then also taste really good."
To qualify, recipes had to meet a handful of requirements, including taste, health, and cost. The two will head to the nation's capital next week, for an honorary lunch with Mrs. Obama and the other winners.
"All that she's done for kids health and healthy eating, it's an honor to be able to share a lunch with her with my daughter."
And while some families may gaurd their best recipes - The Ganser's say this one is open to anyone.
"It's hard enough as it is to eat healthy I think in America with our fast food and junk food," says Gasner. "So when you find a recipe that's healthy and tastes good you gotta share it."
African Sweet Potato Stew
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
½ cup peanut butter
4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½” squares
2 15 oz. great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
6 cups vegetable stock
Heat 3 tbsp. water for sautéing onions and garlic. Add onions and garlic, cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add bell peppers, cover and cook for about 5 minutes.
Stir in brown sugar, ginger, cumin, salt, cinnamon and allspice stirring about 30 seconds.
Add peanut butter, stir to coat.
Add sweet potatoes, tomatoes and great northern beans, stir to coat.
Add vegetable broth, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until potatoes are soft, about 30 minutes.
If you like it spicy, add cayenne pepper as desired for a little extra kick.
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