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Vail Cuisine to Your Kitchen, on a Budget

From the slopes of Vail, to your table.

Kelly Liken, executive chef and owner of the Kelly Liken Restaurant and Rick and Kelly's American Bistro, both in the ritzy Colorado ski town, came to "The Early Show Saturday Edition"'s New York studios to cook some of the seasonal American dishes that already have her on the culinary map.

Kelly opened her namesake eatery in 2004, when she was only 27. She's appeared on the cover of Bon Appétit magazine as one of six leading female chefs in the nation under 35, and has been dubbed a chef to watch by the likes of Mario Batali.

Not only that - the James Beard Foundation has just named Kelly a semi-finalist for Best Chef in the Southwest.

But how will Kelly do as our "Chef on a Shoestring" and in our "How Low Can You Go?" competition?

We challenged Kelly put her culinary chops to the test by trying to whip up a three-course meal for four on our slim budget of $40. And the "Shoestring" chef whose ingredients cost the least will be invited back to prepare our year-end holiday feast!

• Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad
• Spicy Turkey Chili with Black Beans
• Apple Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream

"Early Show" recipes galore!


Commonly known as the garden beet, this firm, round root vegetable has leafy green tops, which are also edible and highly nutritious. The most common color for beets is a garnet red. However, they can range in color from deep red to white. Beets are available year-round and should be chosen by their firmness and smooth skins. Small or medium beets are generally more tender than large ones. If the beet greens are attached they should be crisp and bright. Because they leach moisture from the bulb, greens should be removed as soon as you get them home. Leave about 1 inch of the stem attached to prevent loss of nutrients and color during cooking. Store beets in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Just before cooking, wash beets gently so as not to pierce the thin skin, which could cause nutrient and color loss. Peel beets after they've been cooked. (Source:

Arugula: A bitterish, aromatic salad green with a peppery mustard flavor. Though it has long been extremely popular with Italians, American palates often find its flavor too assertive. Arugula can be found in specialty produce markets and in some supermarkets. It's sold in small bunches with roots attached. The leaves should be bright green and fresh looking. Arugula is very perishable and should be tightly wrapped in a plastic bag and refrigerated for no more than 2 days. Its leaves hold a tremendous amount of grit and must be thoroughly washed just before using. Arugula makes a lively addition to salads, soups and sautéed vegetable dishes. It's a rich source of iron as well as vitamins A and C. (Source:

Streusel: A crumbly topping consisting of flour, sugar, butter and various spices that is sprinkled on coffeecakes, breads, muffins and cakes. The word streusel is German for "sprinkle" or "strew." (Source:


Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad

3 large red beets
2 cups arugula
2 tablespoons olive oil


With the skin still on the beets, toss them in the olive oil and season with a little salt and pepper. Put the beets in a baking dish, cover with foil and roast at 425ºF for about an hour, until they are tender throughout. Allow the beets to cool to room temperature and peel the skin off. Cut the beets into bite-sized pieces, toss them with the arugula and a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette and serve.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil


Whisk together the shallot, Dijon and balsamic. Drizzle in the olive oil while whisking. Season to taste with salt and pepper.