ATK Kids

Kitchen Classroom: Week 24

Week 24 of resources to help kids learn in the kitchen—and make something delicious along the way.

Published Aug. 21, 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, each paired with a suggestion for bringing learning to life in the kitchen. 

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This week, kids can practice their measurement skills as they bake a free-form Corn, Tomato, and Bacon Galette, cool off with homemade Strawberry-Cream Paletas, and keep track of time as they cook a Cheese Omelet for breakfast. Young chefs ages 5 to 8 can learn how to harness the power of steam while making Fancy Fish in Foil, a recipe from My First Cookbook.

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 August 24th through August 30th.

From left: Strawberry Cream Paletas, Corn, Tomato, and Bacon Galette

Strawberry Cream Paletas

Beat the late-August heat with refreshing Strawberry-Cream Paletas, a type of fruity frozen dessert popular in Mexico. Kids can combine the ingredients in the food processor, pour their paleta mixture into ice pop molds, and freeze them until they’re solid.

What You’ll Need
3½ cups strawberries, hulled
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup honey
1 teaspoon lemon juice, squeezed from ½ lemon
⅛ teaspoon salt

Learning Moment 
Math (Addition, Multiplication)
After putting the filled ice pop molds in the freezer, ask kids to make some time calculations based on the freezing times listed in step 4 of the recipe (paletas need to be frozen for at least 6 hours or up to 5 days before eating). If your young chef gets stuck, remind them that there are 60 seconds in 1 minute, 60 minutes in 1 hour, and 24 hours in 1 day. 

  1. How many minutes are in 6 hours? (60 minutes x 6 hours = 360 minutes, or 60 + 60 + 60 + 60 + 60 + 60 = 360 minutes)
  2. These paletas can stay in the freezer for up to five days. How many hours are in 5 days? (24 hours x 5 days = 120 hours, or 24 + 24 + 24 + 24 + 24 = 120 hours)
  3. How many minutes are in five days (120 hours x 60 minutes = 7,200 minutes)
  4. How many seconds are in five days? (7,200 minutes x 60 seconds = 432,000 seconds)

Take It Further
Language Arts (Poetry)
Challenge your young chef to write an acrostic poem using the word “paleta.” In acrostic poems, the first letter of each line spells out a word or phrase (in this case, “paleta”). Acrostic poems do not need to rhyme, and the lines can be as long or short as your young chef would like. They can write about how the paleta tastes, what it looks like, or how they made it. Here are two examples.

Packed with strawberries
A little honey
Light and refreshing
Excellent on hot summer days
Tempting treat
Always share them with your family

Perfect pink ice pops are
Absolutely delicious and refreshing when 
Lightly sweetened with honey.
Everybody should
A taste!

Corn, Tomato, and Bacon Galette

Take advantage of August’s abundance of cherry tomatoes and corn with this kid-tested recipe. (You can also substitute fresh corn kernels for the frozen-and-thawed kernels.) A galette is like a single-crust pie, except it’s shaped on a baking sheet instead of in a pie plate. In this version, a layer of Parmesan cheese between the crust and the corn, tomato, bacon, and cheddar cheese filling keeps the crust crisp instead of soggy.

What You’ll Need
All-­purpose flour (for sprinkling on counter)
1 recipe Pie Dough (click here for our recipe or use 1 round store­bought)
3 slices bacon
1 cup frozen corn, thawed and patted dry
1 cup (6 ounces) cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese (2 ounces)
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese (½ ounce)
1 large egg, cracked into bowl and lightly beaten with fork
1 scallion, dark green part only, sliced thin

Learning Moment 
Math (Geometry; Measurement)
In step 2 of this recipe, kids need to roll their pie dough into a 12-inch circle, which provides a perfect opportunity for some real-world geometry practice! 

To measure a 12-inch circle, kids will need to find the diameter of the circle. Ask kids to share what they know about the diameter of a circle and how to measure it. (The diameter is the distance across the circle, through its center.) If kids have not yet learned about the radius of a circle, explain that the radius of a circle is the distance from the center to the edge of the circle. The radius of a circle is equal to one-half of its diameter. Ask kids:

  • If the diameter of our pie dough is 12 inches, what is the radius of the pie dough? (6 inches)

In step 9, as their galette cools, ask kids to use a ruler to measure the diameter of the finished galette and, based on their measurement, calculate its radius. 

Take It Further
Math (Geometry)
More advanced kids can practice calculating the area of their galette. The equation for the area of a circle is: Area = 𝜋r2. For example:

  • If their galette has a diameter of 8 inches, its radius is half of that—4 inches.
  • 𝜋 is equal to 3.14
  • Area = 3.14 x (42)
  • Area = 3.14 x (4 x 4)
  • Area = 3.14 x 16
  • Area = 50 inches2

Point out that kids are using the mathematical value 𝜋 (pi) to calculate the area of their galette, which is made of PIE dough! Pi and pie are homonyms: Two words that sound the same but mean different things!


From left: Cheese Omelet, Fancy Fish in Foil

Cheese Omelet

What’s a better way to start the day than a cheesy omelet? This basic omelet is very customizable, so kids can get creative with ingredients. Try sprinkling the eggs with 2 tablespoons of cooked vegetables, cooked bacon or sausage, or swapping in a different type of cheese before folding the omelet in half in step 5. Be sure to use a nonstick skillet to ensure the eggs do not stick to the pan. 

What You’ll Need
2 large eggs
Pinch salt
Pinch pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese

Learning Moment
Math (Measurement)
Many steps in this recipe include specific heating or cooking times. Before beginning the recipe, have kids calculate how long it will take in total to cook their omelettes. Ask kids to read each step of the recipe and write down the cooking times they find. (Answers: 1 minute (step 2), 10 seconds (step 3), 1 to 2 minutes (step 4), 20 seconds (step 5).)

Ask kids if they know how many seconds are in a minute. (Answer: 60 seconds.) Then, ask them to add together the times above to calculate how long it will take to cook their omelets in minutes and in seconds. (Note: In step 4 the cook time is listed as “1 to 2 minutes”. Instruct kids to use 1 minute for their calculations.)

(Answers: 1 minute + 10 seconds + 1 minute + 20 seconds = 2 minutes and 30 seconds or 2½ minutes; 60 seconds + 10 seconds + 60 seconds + 20 seconds = 150 seconds)

Explain to kids that their calculation does not include the time it takes to complete the other actions involved in making the omelet, like whisking the eggs in step 1 or folding the omelet in half in step 5. It will take a bit longer for them to go through the whole recipe. If you have a stopwatch, kids can time themselves from the beginning of step 1 until their omelets are ready to serve.

Fancy Fish in Foil

If you harness the power of steam—cooking fish is like a dream! This super simple recipe, designed for kids ages 5 to 8, bakes cod fillets in foil packets in the oven. Butter, lemon, and thyme create a simple sauce right inside the packets while the fish steams, making for a “fancy” main dish that young chefs can contribute to a family dinner.

What You’ll Need
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest, plus lemon wedges for serving
½ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon pepper
4 (6-ounce) skinless cod fillets, 1 to 1 ½ inches thick
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces

Learning Moment 
Science (States of Matter)
As you assemble the foil packets in steps 2 and 3, ask kids why they think you are wrapping up the fish this way. What do they think the foil packets do when the fish cooks in the oven? Tell kids that the packets help to trap steam inside them as the fish heats up. Ask kids: Have you heard of steam before? What do you think it is?

While the fish cooks in the oven in step 4, explain to kids that steam is water in its gas state. When water is very cold, at temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, it is a solid (ice). When it is above freezing, it is a liquid (water). And when it heats up above 212 Fahrenheit, it boils and turns into a gas (steam). The fish in this recipe has water inside it. When the foil packets are sealed up and put into the oven, that water gets hotter and hotter. When it gets hot enough, it turns into steam. Because that steam is trapped by the foil packet, it stays right next to the fish, and helps to cook it. Since steam is hotter than boiling water, it cooks food quickly, but also helps it stay moist and tender instead of drying out.

To demonstrate how this works for kids, add 1 inch of water to a small saucepan. Explain that this is like the water that is inside each fish fillet. Cover the pot with a lid, and explain that this is like sealing the fish up in its foil packet—the lid will trap the steam inside the pot. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Carefully remove the lid and have kids observe the steam escaping (from a safe distance—remember, it will be very hot!). Explain that the foil packets keep the steam inside rather than letting it escape, just like the lid does with the pot.

Take It Further
Language Arts (Poetry)
The title of this recipe is “Fancy Fish in Foil,” which is an example of alliteration. Tell kids that alliteration is when the first consonant sounds in words are repeated in neighboring words. In this case, the three main words in the title start with the letter “F” and the sound “fff.” 

Challenge kids to come up with alliterative titles for other recipes they like to cook or foods they like to eat. First, think of the name of a dish (like “meatballs”). Then, think of adjectives (or describing words) that start with those same beginning consonant sounds (“mmm” like “marvelous” or “magnificent”). How many words with similar consonant sounds can kids string together to make their title—two, three, even four? (Like “Marvelous Meatballs,” “Beautiful, Buttery Broccoli,” or “Practically Perfect Pepperoni Pizza!”)

On sale from August 1st through August 31, 2020, the September edition of the Young Chefs’ Club celebrates COOKIES! Kids can bake five different cookie recipes, from a Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie to Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies to Glazed Sugar Cookies they can cut out (using cookie cutters in their box) and decorate. They’ll learn about the science of sugar in an edible—cookie-based!—experiment and enjoy some sugar-free time putting together a cookie-themed jigsaw puzzle.  
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