ATK Kids

Kitchen Classroom: Week 2

Week 2 of resources to help kids learn in the kitchen—and make something delicious along the way.

Published Mar. 20, 2020.

Welcome to week 2 of Kitchen Classroom, where America’s Test Kitchen Kids is sharing a daily schedule of kid-tested and kid-approved recipes, experiments, activities, and quizzes. This week, we explore the cool chemistry of salt and cheese, make Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts and a comforting pasta dish with butter and Parmesan cheese for lunch or dinner, dive into the world of food packaging, and celebrate the weekend with pantry-friendly scones.

Don’t forget to share what your family makes by tagging us using #atkkids on Instagram, or by sending photos to And check out the America’s Test Kitchen Kids website for more culinary content, designed especially for kids.

Here’s what in store for the week of March 23 through March 29th.

Be a Salt FarmerThe Gooey Science of Melting Cheese
From left: Be a Salt Farmer, The Gooey Science of Melting Cheese

Monday, March 23 — Be a Salt Farmer

Humans have been harvesting salt since prehistoric times. Kids can try it themselves by creating a model ocean using water and kosher salt. After the water in their ocean evaporates over 24 to 48 hours, kids can harvest (and eat) beautiful, flaky salt crystals. [GET THE ACTIVITY]

What You’ll Need
¼ cup distilled or filtered water
2 tablespoons kosher salt

Learning Moment
Science (chemistry):
Kids learn that the hotter the water, the more salt you can dissolve into it. They also observe the process of evaporation: Liquid water slowly becomes water vapor and moves into the air, leaving the salt behind.


Tuesday, March 24 — The Gooey Science of Melting Cheese

In this edible science experiment, kids learn why some cheeses melt better than others (and make a tasty snack, too). If you can’t find mozzarella cheese, Monterey Jack is a good substitute. You can also swap extra-sharp cheddar or Gruyère for the sharp cheddar. (Or just try this experiment with two cheeses—it’s flexible!) Don’t have a flour tortilla? You can use a large corn tortilla, naan, lavash, or even 3 small slices of bread. [GET THE EXPERIMENT]

What You’ll Need
1 (10- to 12-inch) flour tortilla
2 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese

Learning Moment
Science (Scientific Practices):
Before you put the cheeses in the oven to melt, ask kids to make a prediction: Do they think the three kinds of cheese will all melt the same way? Why or why not? Encourage kids to share the rationale behind their thinking. (Tip from a former teacher: If kids reply “I don’t know,” try then saying to them: “If you did know, what would you say?”)


Pan Seared Chicken BreastsTemperature Time Out
From left: Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts, Temperature Time Out Quiz

Wednesday, March 24 — Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts & Temperature Time Out

This simple chicken recipe teaches kids how even a 30-minute brine in saltwater can change the flavor, and the texture, of meat. If you have fresh parsley and cilantro on hand, make the Chimichurri Sauce included in the recipe (click here for the full list of ingredients)—and save any extra to drizzle on eggs, veggies, and more. Leftover chicken is perfect for sandwiches, salads, or tacos. If you’re starting with frozen chicken breasts, thaw them first.

While the chicken breasts brine, kids can tackle the Temperature Time Out digital quiz, where they can discover the importance of understanding temperature in cooking tasty food. They’ll answer questions about key culinary temperatures, such as when egg yolks turn solid and when meat begins to brown.

What You’ll Need
2 quarts water
½ cup table salt
4 (6- to 8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Learning Moment
Math (Measuring liquids; Conversions):
Our brine calls for 2 quarts of water. Have kids calculate the number of pints and cups of water in the brine. There are 2 pints in every quart and there are 2 cups in every pint. (Answer Key: 4 pints; 8 cups)


Best Ever Pasta with Butter and Parmesan CheeseEndless Pastabilities
From left: Best-Ever Pasta with Butter and Parmesan Cheese, Endless "Pasta"-bilities Quiz

Thursday, March 26 — Best-Ever Pasta with Butter and Parmesan Cheese & Endless “Pasta”-bilities

Just a handful of ingredients transform into creamy, cheesy, comforting pasta. This recipe makes enough for one to two kids to enjoy for lunch or dinner. We like using fettuccine, but any long-strand pasta will work here. As they enjoy their meal, kids can learn some fun facts about the wide world of pasta shapes (did you know there are more than one thousand?!) by taking the Endless “Pasta”-bilities digital quiz.

What You’ll Need
2 quarts water
4 ounces fettuccine or other long-strand pasta
1½ teaspoons salt
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Pinch pepper (optional)

Learning Moment
Math (Time):
There’s a lot of time to keep track of in this recipe, from cooking the pasta for 10 to 12 minutes (or until it’s al dente) to tossing the cooked pasta and letting it sit for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Give kids a watch or use an analog clock—make sure it has a second hand—and put them in charge of keeping track of time.


Design Challenge: Pack It UpSimple Cream Scones
From left, Design Challenge: Pack It Up, Simple Cream Scones

Friday, March 27 — Design Challenge: Pack It Up

In this hands-on activity, kids can explore the world of food packaging by designing their own package to protect a delicate potato chip (or a cracker, a thin cookie, or whatever you have on hand that might fit the bill) from breaking during a fall. This is a perfect way to use materials laying around the house, from brown paper lunch bags to an empty egg carton to tissue paper, pipe cleaners, and more. Encourage kids to be creative with their designs and try out multiple ideas. Decorating their packages is always fun, too!

What You’ll Need
2-3 thin, fragile chips or crackers, such as potato chips, Pringles potato crisps, water crackers, or saltines
Building materials (Use what you have around the house—see the activity for a list of ideas.)

Learning Moment
Engineering and Design:
Design challenges like this one present a wonderful opportunity to show kids that there are often multiple “right” solutions to a problem—there isn’t one correct way to design a chip package! Encourage kids to brainstorm several different package ideas, choose one (or more) of them to build, test it out, and evaluate whether it was successful. If the chip breaks, encourage them to try and improve their design. If their design worked, see if they can build another design that’s totally different.


Saturday & Sunday, March 28 - 29 — Simple Cream Scones

Young chefs can host family tea time this weekend and serve a batch of these flaky, rich scones. Serve them with whatever jam you’ve got in the fridge—and maybe some extra butter, too. [GET THE RECIPE]

What You’ll Need
2 cups (10 ounces) all-­purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup (8 ounces) heavy cream

Learning Moment
Math (fractions):
In step 5 of this recipe, kids have to divide their circle of scone dough into eighths (like a pizza) using a bench scraper or butter knife. Have older kids talk through their approach to dividing up the dough. For younger learners, walk them through first dividing the dough in half, then into fourths, and then into eighths.


The Young Chefs' Club

On sale until March 31, 2020, the next Young Chefs’ Club monthly subscription box is all about BEVERAGES! From recipes such as Flavored Seltzers, DIY Grenadine, and Horchata to science experiments about bubbly beverages to crafting paper drink umbrellas, this box has something fun for everyone!  
Learn More

This is a members' feature.