ATK Kids

Kitchen Classroom: Week 17

Week 17 of resources to help kids learn in the kitchen—and make something delicious along the way.

Published July 2, 2020.

Welcome to Kitchen Classroom, where America’s Test Kitchen Kids is sharing a weekly set of kid-tested and kid-approved recipes, hands-on experiments, and activities paired with suggestions for how to bring learning to life in the kitchen.

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This week, kids can use our splatter-free technique to cook Sweet and Tangy Glazed Salmon for dinner. Garlicky Skillet Green Beans are a delightful salmon companion, or serve them as a side dish for another meal. Turn snack time into creative time (and use up any bits of cheese lingering in your fridge) with Make It Your Way Challenge: Cheese Snack Plate. Finally, the whole family can bake a batch of Muffin Tin Doughnut Holes as part of a special weekend breakfast.

Don’t forget to share what your family makes by tagging @testkitchenkids or using #atkkids on Instagram, or by sending photos to Visit the America’s Test Kitchen Kids website for more culinary content designed especially for kids, plus all of the Kitchen Classroom content in one easy-to-scan location. 

Here’s what’s cooking for the week of July 6th through July 12th.  

Sweet and Tangy Glazed SalmonGarlicky Skillet Green Beans
From left: Sweet and Tangy Glazed Salmon, Garlicky Skillet Green Beans

Sweet and Tangy Glazed Salmon

This recipe uses a foolproof (and splatter-free) way to cook salmon that’s ideal for young chefs. First, a sprinkle of salt and pepper goes over the bottom of a cold nonstick skillet. This helps prevent the fish from sticking to the pan and seasons the salmon. Then, the salmon goes into the (still cold!) pan, skin-side down. The skin helps protect the fish from drying out as it cooks. It also releases fat into the pan, which is then used to cook the second side of the salmon until it’s golden brown—no extra oil needed! The cooked salmon gets a drizzle of a simple sweet and tangy glaze just before serving. 

What You’ll Need
¼ cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice, squeezed from 1 lime
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
Salt and pepper
4 (6-ounce) skin-on salmon fillets
1 lime, cut in wedges

Learning Moment
Science (States of Matter): 
The sweet and tangy glaze in this recipe is cooked down until its texture turns from thin and watery to thick and syrupy, which is a perfect opportunity to reinforce kids’ understanding of evaporation (when a liquid turns into a gas). Help kids think through what happens to the glaze in this recipe:

  • In step 1, have kids first combine the glaze ingredients in a liquid measuring cup and record its volume (it should be just over ½ cup) before pouring the glaze ingredients into the medium saucepan. Keep the liquid measuring cup handy!
  • Ask kids to observe the uncooked glaze and describe its appearance. 
  • Before spooning the glaze over the salmon, have kids pour the cooked glaze from the saucepan back into the liquid measuring cup (with an adult’s help) and measure how much glaze is left. (It should be less than ½ cup.)
  • Ask kids to observe the cooked glaze and describe its appearance. 
  • Ask: What happened to the glaze as it cooked? What made its texture change so much? (The water in the ingredients turned to steam as it heated up. The steam evaporated, so there’s less water left in the glaze, which gives it a thicker texture.)


Garlicky Skillet Green Beans

This easy side dish is a great way for kids to enjoy fresh summer green beans. Kids will practice keeping track of time during this quick-cooking recipe and will see how the power of steam cooks vegetables to crisp-tender perfection. 

What You’ll Need
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound green beans, trimmed
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

Learning Moment
Math (Measurement):
This recipe requires keeping track of a lot of cooking times—it’s part of every step! If you have a kitchen timer (or a timer on your stove or microwave), review with kids how to use it. Or, if there’s a clock in your kitchen (especially one that shows seconds), make sure kids can see it and know how to read it. When cooking through the recipe, have kids set the timer and/or calculate by the clock what time needs to be showing to be ready to move on to the next step. 

For example, in step 2, if it’s 5:30 now, what time should kids check to see if the green beans are spotty brown yet? (Answer: 5:34). For kids who are still learning to tell time, use downtime during the recipe to review and ask kids:

  • How many seconds are there in 1 minute? (60 seconds)
  • How many minutes are in 1 hour? (60 minutes)
  • If this recipe takes half an hour to make, how many minutes is that? (30 minutes) Can they figure out how many seconds that would be? (1,800 seconds!)

Take It Further 
Science (States of Matter):
After adding water to the skillet in step 3, this recipe tells the cook to put a lid on the skillet and let the beans cook. Then, in step 4, it continues to cook the beans with the lid off. Ask kids: Can you guess why that might be? 

Explain to kids that when the water is added to the hot pan, it begins to evaporate and turn from a liquid (water) into a gas (steam or water vapor). Steam can get VERY hot—hotter than boiling water! Putting the lid on the pan traps that hot steam and keeps it close to the green beans, making them cook through quickly. 

But most people don’t want to eat watery green beans. After steaming for a few minutes, the recipe calls for removing the lid. This lets the steam escape into the surrounding air (be sure to keep kids’ faces away from the skillet) and allows the green beans to brown a bit in the pan. Ask kids: 

  • Can they think of other times they have seen steam? Where did they see it, and what was it like?
  • Do they know the name of water in its solid state? (It’s ice!) 
  • To learn more about the states of matter, kids can watch this video.


Make it Your Way Challenge: Cheese Snack PlateMini Muffin Tin Doughnut Holes
From left: Make It Your Way Challenge: Cheese Snack Plate, Mini Muffin Tin Doughnut Holes

Make It Your Way Challenge: Cheese Snack Plate

Cheese and crackers are a classic snack pairing, but they can also be an opportunity for creativity in the kitchen! Let kids turn plain old crackers and cheese into a full blown snack plate. They can choose their base (from crackers to waffles to slices of fruit and more), their cheeses (use whatever you’ve got in the refrigerator), and their toppings (berries! honey! salami! nuts!). There are so many cheesy possibilities . . .   

What You’ll Need
Use cheeses and other ingredients that you have in your pantry or refrigerator. See the activity for ideas.

Learning Moment
Language Arts (Vocabulary):
See how creative everyone in your house can be and host a snack plate challenge! Everyone participating can make their own cheese snack plates, following the directions in the activity, and enter them in the challenge. 

Once everyone has their cheese snack plates assembled, line them up on a table so that everyone can weigh in. Grown-ups and kids should observe and taste each snack plate. As they do so, participants should record their observations on a piece of paper and rate each snack plate on a scale from 1 to 5 (5 being the highest) on the following criteria:

  • Presentation (rate from 1 to 5)
      • How did the snack plate look? What words would you use to describe its appearance?
      • Which plate did you want to try the most just based on how it looked? Why?
  • Flavor (rate from 1 to 5)
    • What words would you use to describe the flavor of each snack plate? 
    • Which snack plate’s flavors did you like the best? Why did you prefer that one? 
  • Creativity (rate from 1 to 5)
    • Which snack plate included the most unexpected or unusual ingredients? What surprised you about it? 

Before revealing their scores, ask tasters to describe the appearance and flavor of each snack plate. You might crown an overall Make It Your Way Challenge champion (highest total score) and also give out awards for “Most Creative,” “Best Flavor,” and “Best Presentation.”


Mini Muffin Tin Doughnut Holes

Make a weekend breakfast extra-special with doughnut holes—they’re also a perfect collaborative baking project for the whole family. After they’re baked, kids can brush each doughnut hole with melted butter and roll them in cinnamon and sugar for a deliciously sweet coating. 

What You’ll Need
For the Doughnuts
Vegetable oil spray
1⅓ cups (6⅔ ounces) all-­purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ cup (3½ ounces) sugar
½ cup (4 ounces) buttermilk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg plus 1 large yolk

For the Topping
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup (3½ ounces) sugar

Learning Moment

Science (Food Science):
While the doughnut holes are baking, challenge kids to some food trivia involving the ingredients in this recipe. 

  1. What is buttermilk?
    (A) A mixture of melted butter and whole milk
    (B) The liquid left behind from churning butter
    (C) Watered-down heavy cream

  2. What is nutmeg made from?
    (A) The seed of a tree
    (B) The root of a plant
    (C) The berry of a bush

  3. What is cinnamon made from?
    (A) Sticks that fall from a tree
    (B) An underground plant
    (C) The bark of a tree

  4. Peewee, large, and jumbo are sizes of what?
    (A) Containers for milk
    (B) Blocks of cheese
    (C) Chicken eggs

  5. What are baking powder and baking soda?
    (A) Leaveners
    (B) Spices
    (C) Flours

  6. Which type of salt has the largest grains?
    (A) Kosher salt
    (B) Table salt
    (C) Flake salt

  7. Granulated, dark brown, and confectioners’ are types of what?
    (A) Cookies
    (C) Spices

Answer Key:

  1. B. The liquid left behind from churning butter
  2. A. The seed of a tree
  3. C. The bark of a tree
  4. C. Chicken eggs
  5. A. Leaveners
  6. C. Flake Salt
  7. B. Sugar

Take It Further 

Language Arts (Creative Writing):

The “Food for Thought” section at the bottom of the recipe page includes some information about the possible origin of our favorite sweet, holey desserts: doughnuts. Before kids read this section, ask them: Why do you think doughnuts have holes? Who do you think invented doughnuts? Encourage kids to come up with their own creative stories about how doughnuts and doughnut holes were invented. They can be as realistic—or as imaginative—as they like! 


On sale until July 31, 2020, the August edition of the Young Chefs' Club is full of portable, picnic-perfect recipes, games, and hands-on activities. Whether your picnic takes place in your backyard, at a park or on the beach, or even in your living room, kids will love making (and eating) Italian Picnic Sandwiches, Salad in a Jar, and Berry Streusel Bars, and Watermelon Agua Fresca, and learning about the science of staying cool with a fun design challenge.   
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