Cilantro is just one of the ingredients Laura puts in her Backyard Garden Salsa and Chicken Black Bean Tortillas. She adds onions, tomatoes, peppers and a squeezed lemon for zing.
"It's fun to chop stuff up and just throw it in and make it taste good," she said.
Today, she's feeding her family at their home in Essex. But soon this little cook will lunch with the first lady.
"I hope she really enjoys it," Laura said.
Laura's been picked to attend a "Kids' State Dinner" at the White House later this month. Her dish will be prepared. Laura submitted her recipe into Michelle Obama's "Healthy Lunchtime Challenge" along with a photo of her creative cuisine-- and she won!
"We were really excited to be a finalist and it was even more cool when we found out I won," she said.
One child from each state got picked. And the first lady's office says Mrs. Obama plans to try each dish.
"I'm kind of nervous she might not like it," Laura said. "But I think she will. So, I'm pretty confident."
The judges certainly did. One of them being the White House Chef, Sam Kass. He told WCAX News, "As a judge I tasted the finalists' dishes, including Laura's delicious Backyard Garden Salsa Tortillas. Her recipe was nutritious, but also a fun creation that will help kids eat healthier. I know the First Lady looks forward to welcoming Laura and all the winners to the White House... and congratulating her in person."
"It's going to be pretty cool to go inside the White House," Laura said. "So I'm really looking forward to that."
Laura's mom gets to go, too. Her daughter may have screamed when she learned of the White House invite, as for mom...
Reporter Darren Perron: What was your reaction?
Cathy Printon: Tears.
She thinks Laura's love of the arts, cooking and growing some of her own veggies used in the recipe set her dish apart. But they knew the competition was tough; 1,200 kids entered.
"Let's just be cool and be calm. This might not happen. And when it did, it was a great surprise," Cathy Printon said.
The day she meets the first lady, Laura expects a whole host of emotions.
"It's going to be hard to control it all at once," she said.
But she plans to soak up every minute of her White House visit.
"I'm going to be sad when it's over," Laura said, "but my third grade teacher taught me don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."
Laura's Backyard Garden Salsa and Chicken Black Bean Tortillas Salsa
3-4 garden fresh tomatoes - med/large
3 Roma or plum tomatoes
1 medium/large red onion
1 pepper - can be orange, red, green (green or orange add color)
1 bunch of cilantro
1 teaspoon of lemon juice or add to taste
Chop tomatoes, onion, pepper and cilantro into small chunks. Mix garden ingredients in a large bowl. Add lemon juice to taste. Mix all and chill.
Can use corn tortillas or flour tortillas depending on dietary restrictions
4-6 grilled chicken breasts - boneless and skinless - cut in strips
2 cups cooked/prepared black beans
2 cups shredded cheese combo of cheddar (Cabot Vermont sharp preferred), Jack and Mozzarella.
2-4 cups shredded lettuce (iceberg or romaine)
Can substitute chicken with grilled tofu. Or just bean and cheese!
Lay strips of chicken (pre-grilled) on the bottom of a no-stick baking pan, add a few spoons of black beans, a bit of cheese and warm in oven until cheese melts well - at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
Remove from oven and place tortillas on plates. Roll/fold tortilla over filling and top with lettuce and salsa. Serve with a few slices of avocado and kiwi on the side.
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