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APPLETON, Wis. -- Twelve-year-old Sarah Ganser of Appleton's recipe for Amazing African Sweet Potato Stew has earned her lunch with the first lady.

First lady Michelle Obama, Epicurious, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced the winners of the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, a nationwide recipe challenge to promote healthy lunches as part of the first lady's Let's Move! initiative, and Sarah's recipe was the winner from Wisconsin.

Sarah, the daughter of Dr. John and Jennifer Ganser, will be a seventh-grader at St. Francis Xavier Middle School.

Sarah said she enjoys cooking and often partners with her mom to discover new recipes.

"I love being creative and figuring out all of the things you can create with a bunch of different ingredients," she said.

Healthful choices and regular exercise are part of their family's lifestyle, Jennifer Ganser said.

Jennifer and Sarah will fly to Washington, D.C., on July 16 and attend the Kids' State Dinner on July 18.

"This event gives us the opportunity to showcase healthy creations from talented kid chefs from across our country, and I can't wait to see — and taste — this year's selections," Michelle Obama said.

Winners representing all U.S. states, three territories and the District of Columbia will attend the luncheon, followed by a visit to the White House Kitchen Garden.

The recipe competition, in its third year, invited a parent or guardian to work with his or her child ages 8-12 to create a lunchtime recipe that is healthy, affordable, original and delicious. Entries had to represent each of the food groups, either in one dish or as parts of a lunch meal, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy foods, with fruits and vegetables making up roughly half the plate or recipe.

Sarah's recipe was chosen from more than 1,500 entries. Her recipe will be part of a free downloadable and printable e-cookbook of the winning recipes that will be available this month at epicurious.com, letsmove.gov, USDA.gov and Ed.gov.

Amazing African Sweet Potato Stew

Ingredients:

2 medium yellow onions, chopped

5 garlic cloves, minced

2 red bell peppers, chopped

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

1 teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon allspice

½ cup peanut butter

4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch squares

2 15-ounce great northern beans, drained and rinsed

1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes

6 cups vegetable stock

Directions:

1. Heat 3 tablespoons 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.

2. 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, stirring to coat. Add vegetable broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until potatoes are soft, about 30 minutes.

3. If you like it spicy, add cayenne pepper as desired for a little extra kick.

— From Sarah Ganser of Appleton

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