Welcome to week 11 of Kitchen Classroom 2021, where America’s Test Kitchen Kids is sharing a weekly kid-tested and kid-approved recipe, hands-on experiment, or activity paired with a “Learning Moment” that brings learning to life in the kitchen.
This week’s Kitchen Classroom features Cooking For You! Pesto Flatbread “Pizza” is a quick and easy lunch or dinner that kids can make for themselves with minimal adult help. The recipe as written makes one pizza, but can easily be doubled to make two pizzas if kids would like to share with a sibling, friend, or caregiver. As they get ready to cook, kids will explore food groups, and decide how to categorize each ingredient in the recipe. As they enjoy their pizza, kids can test their knowledge of herbs with our Name That Herb quiz, inspired by the basil pesto that tops their flatbread creations.
Don’t forget to share what your family makes by tagging @testkitchenkids or using #ATKkids on Instagram, or by sending photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 March 15th through 21st, 2021.
Cooking For You: Pesto Flatbread “Pizza”
This simple recipe uses store-bought naan, an Indian flatbread with a chewy texture and a puffed, slightly charred crust, as a tasty base for a quick pizza. To personalize their pizzas, kids can sprinkle a handful of their favorite toppings on top of the mozzarella. Some topping ideas include: sliced bell peppers, pepperoni, sliced scallions, chopped olives, or dollops of goat cheese or ricotta cheese.
[GET THE RECIPE]
What You’ll Need
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 (8-inch) naan bread
2 tablespoons pesto
⅓ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
12 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Toppings (optional, see above)
Ask kids: Have you heard of food groups before? Can you name any food groups? Discuss what kids may already know about food groups.
Explain to kids that foods can be grouped together based on how they help your body when you eat them. Nutritionists (scientists who study what people eat and how food works in your body) recommend eating a balanced mix of foods from different groups to help your body grow healthy and strong. Tell kids that the United States Department of Agriculture categorizes foods into five different food groups:
- Fruits, which include fresh fruit, dried fruit, and fruit juice
- Vegetables, which include raw or cooked vegetables and vegetable juice
- Grains, which include any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, or other grains (such as bread, pasta, breakfast cereals, grits, or tortillas)
- Protein, which includes foods made from meat, chicken or turkey, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, soy products, nuts, and seeds
- Dairy, which includes milk and foods made from milk, such as yogurt or cheese
Before kids begin cooking, have them lay out all of the ingredients for this recipe (including any toppings, if using) on the counter. Ask kids: Which food group would you put each of these ingredients into? Are all of the food groups represented here, or not? Could any of these ingredients belong in more than one food group, or none of the above? (Hint: have kids look at the ingredient lists on the nutrition labels for any packaged items to see what they contain and help decide where they might go.) Ask kids to sort the ingredients into food groups with their best guesses, and share their reasoning behind the choices they made.
After kids have sorted their ingredients, tell them that nutritionists would categorize the cherry tomatoes as vegetables, the naan bread as a grain, and the mozzarella cheese as a dairy product. The olive oil and pesto would fit into an “other” category: olive oil is a fat, and pesto is a combination of ingredients from several food groups! It usually contains herbs, such as basil, and sometimes other leafy greens, which are vegetables; nuts, such as pine nuts or walnuts, which are proteins; cheese, such as Parmesan, which is dairy; and oil and seasonings like salt and pepper, which would be “other.” Ask kids: Were you surprised by any of these answers? Why or why not?
Take It Further
Trivia (General Knowledge):
As kids enjoy their flatbreads, challenge them to take our Name That Herb quiz on a tablet, phone, or computer! Question 1 should be easy after getting to know pesto while making this recipe, but can kids identify some other flavor heroes of the kitchen? Which herbs give their flavors to sauces, soups, pickles, or even toothpaste? After taking the quiz, ask kids how many of the herbs mentioned they have tried before. Can they remember any dishes they have eaten that included any of these herbs, or other herbs not on this list? Encourage kids to try cooking with herbs in a future recipe, such as our homemade Basil Pesto, Quinoa with Herbs, or Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts with Chimichurri Sauce.