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Grand Prize Winner $1,500
Sydney McCoy
Apex, North Carolina

Eleven-year-old Sydney comes from a family of passionate cooks who taught her how to make not only healthy, delicious dishes—but also how to grow the ingredients, too. In fact, the squash, tomatoes, zucchini, and peppers in her winning kabob recipe came straight from the organic garden Sydney planted with her mom.

One day, Sydney hopes to cook on television, and she’s off to a great start: Earlier this year, she cooked on the Rachael Ray Show alongside Rachael herself, who called Sydney the next big thing! And when she’s not climbing the ladder to kitchen stardom? Sydney loves to craft (her projects have won ribbons at the North Carolina State Fair) and play outside with her friends.

The food she could eat every day: Bagels and cream cheese

Silliest cooking memory: I was making a cooking video while wearing a hula skirt and a short-sleeve top when it started snowing. This happened to be the only day it snowed that winter in North Carolina!

Her advice for wannabe chefs: Don’t just jump in front of the stove right away—watch others cook, have your parents help you, and learn how to measure.

Sydney’s Marinated Vanilla Chicken and Vegetable Kabobs with Coconut Tropical Rice

Active time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

½ cup orange juice
1 tablespoon each Nielsen-Massey Organic Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract, low-sodium soy sauce, curry powder, honey, ground mustard, and lime juice
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into ½-inch pieces
½ cup canned pineapple pieces, plus 1 cup reserved pineapple juice

1 cup jasmine rice
½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
2 tablespoons Earth Balance Organic Coconut Spread
½ cup kiwifruit, diced
½ tablespoon Xlear XyloSweet sweetener
1 cup each sliced cherry tomatoes, red onion, yellow squash, green zucchini, sweet peppers
1 cup white mushrooms, stems removed
6 metal skewers

  1. In a bowl, combine the orange juice, vanilla, soy sauce, curry powder, honey, ground mustard, and lime juice. Mix well to combine into a marinade.
  2. Place chicken into a gallon-size zip top bag. Add the marinade, then close and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350º. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick spray.
  4. While the chicken marinates, make the rice. In a saucepan, bring the pineapple juice and ½ cup water to a boil. Add the rice, coconut flakes, and coconut spread. Cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid, about 10 minutes.
  5. In a skillet over medium heat, add the pineapple, kiwifruit, and XyloSweet and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the fruit to the rice; remove the rice from the heat, and let sit, covered, for 15 minutes.
  6. Remove the chicken from the marinade. Thread the chicken and vegetable pieces onto the skewers. Bake for 20 minutes, or until chicken and vegetables are beginning to brown. Serve the kabobs over the rice.

Makes 6 servings
Per serving: calories 460, fat 24g, protein 27g, carbohydrates 35g, dietary fiber 5g

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