Winning beef recipe earns S.D. teen trip to White House

Farm Forum

PIERRE — Sabrina Swee, age 12, daughter of Troy and Holly Swee of Beresford, S.D., was selected to win a trip to Washington, D.C. on July 18, as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Healthy Lunchtime Challenge.” Swee’s recipe for “Hawaiian Kale Wraps,” was chosen as a healthy, tasty option for the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative, which aims to offer nutritious school lunches and more active lifestyles in the nation’s youth.

The First Lady’s “Healthy Lunchtime Challenge” is hosted by Epicurious, the Department of Education and the Department of Agriculture.

Swee joined 53 other kids for a “State Dinner” at the White House, where Mrs. Obama served some of the winning recipes, as well as gave the kids a tour of the White House Kitchen Garden. Swee’s recipe was chosen out of more than 1,500 recipe submissions.

“Sabrina is excited to see the White House Kitchen Garden because she enjoys gardening,” says Holly Swee, SDBIC director of nutrition. “She also is excited to take the scheduled tour the day before at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and tour the Julia Child’s Kitchen & Food Exhibit.”

The rules allowed for a parent or guardian to help in creating the recipe and meeting the contest requirements, so that the meal fit within USDA MyPlate guidelines and represented 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 veggies making up roughly half the plate or recipe.

“Sabrina has been helping me cook and create recipes since she was six-years-old, so she didn’t need much help with creating this recipe. But I was there for helpful advice when she had questions,” says Swee.

Of course, when it came time to develop a recipe, Swee wanted to use beef, which provides students like her with ZIP, which stands for zinc, iron and protein.

“Beef provides important nutrients that your body needs daily to stay healthy,” adds Swee. “Beef also pairs well with other fruits, vegetables and whole grains, which helps kids eat a more balanced meal.”

For Sabrina Swee, eating healthy is important to her active lifestyle.

“Eating nutritious meals helps to provide nutrients and fuel the body to stay healthy,” she says. “Smart food choices also helps to prevent injuries in my sports and other activities. I’m in cross country, so I try to stay healthy and injury-free by training and eating well.”

Swee’s inspiration for “Hawaiian Kale Wraps” came from a family vacation.

“A year ago, we traveled to Maui for a family vacation and enjoyed many Hawaiian dishes, which inspired us to create this wrap,” says Sabrina Swee. “We wanted to incorporate many ingredients that we can grow locally and/or purchase locally at our small town grocery store. This recipe is very versatile, as you can use a kale leaf or other lettuce for the wrap. It tastes great, too, and has an Asian flavor to it.”

Swee’s winning recipe will be available in the Epicurious 2014 “Healthy Lunchtime Challenge” online cookbook at Or check out her recipe below.

Hawaiian Kale Wraps

by Sabrina Swee, age 12

Makes 5 servings


For the Wrap:

1 pound lean ground beef

1 cup water

½ cup uncooked quinoa

½ cup thinly sliced red bell pepper

¾ cup shredded carrot

¾ cup canned pineapple, drained and chopped

2 cups coleslaw mix or broccoli slaw mix

⅓ cup chopped scallions

10 kale leaves

For the Sauce:

½ cup pineapple juice

⅓ cup low-sodium soy sauce

2 minced garlic cloves

½ teaspoon dried ginger

⅛ teaspoon cayenne

½ teaspoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon cornstarch


1. In a large sauté pan over moderate heat, cook the ground beef until browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Drain any excess fat.

2. Meanwhile, in a small stockpot, add 1 cup water and the quinoa and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes until quinoa is cooked. While quinoa is cooking, combine the sauce ingredients in a medium bowl, mix together, and set aside.

3. When quinoa is done, increase heat to medium-high and add the sauce, red bell pepper, carrots, pineapple, and coleslaw mix. Mix thoroughly and cook for 3 minutes then add the scallions. Place about ¼ or ½ cup (depending on the size of your kale leaf) of the cooked mixture in the middle of a washed kale leaf, wrap, and eat.