ATK Kids

Kitchen Classroom 2021: Week 17

Resources to help kids learn in the kitchen—and make something delicious along the way.

Published Apr. 23, 2021.

Welcome to week 17 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.  

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In this edition of Kitchen Classroom, Kids Cook Dinner! This week, they’re serving up flavor-packed vegetarian Rice and Bean Bowls with Corn and Avocado Sauce—a one-pan recipe that features hearty black beans and rice, sweet corn, punchy salsa or pico de gallo, and tart-creamy avocado sauce. Be sure kids save their avocado pits so they can plant them following the steps in this week’s Learning Moment. As you dig into your bowls, use the conversation starters in Take It Further to spark discussion around the table. 

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 April 26th through May 2nd, 2021.

Rice and Bean Bowls with Corn and Avocado Sauce

Kids Cook Dinner: Rice and Bean Bowls with Corn and Avocado Sauce

Savory rice and beans, creamy avocado sauce, sweet corn: In this edition of Kids Cook Dinner, kids can prepare a vegetarian one-pan meal for the whole family. The rice and beans cook in the same skillet used to saute the corn and the onions, so there’s less to clean up (great news!). Be sure to save the avocado pit in step 1—in the Learning Moment, below, kids will learn how to sprout it and grow their own avocado plant. 

What You’ll Need
1 ripe avocado
6 tablespoons water
¼ cup cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons lime juice, squeezed from 1 lime
2 tablespoons sour cream
Salt and pepper
2 (15-­ounce) cans black beans, opened
1 cup long-­grain white rice
1 tablespoon plus 1 tablespoon extra-­virgin olive oil, measured separately
1½ cups frozen corn
1 onion, peeled and chopped fine
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups vegetable broth
Pico de gallo or salsa

Learning Moment
Life Science (Plants):
As they halve and pit the avocado in step 1 of the recipe, ask kids whether they think an avocado is a fruit or a vegetable. The answer might surprise them! Even though we usually eat them in savory dishes, like guacamole or the avocado sauce in this recipe, avocados are actually fruits! The pit in the middle of the avocado is the seed of the avocado tree. You can actually use it to sprout a whole new avocado plant—though it will take several weeks (be sure to set expectations!). Here’s how to do it. 

1. Rinse and dry avocado pit. 
2. Hold avocado pit with wider, flatter side facing down and pointier end facing up. Gently stick 3 toothpicks into pit, evenly spaced around center of pit and angled slightly upwards (see photo, below). 
3. Fill glass or small jar with water. Place pit into mouth of glass or jar with toothpicks holding up pit so that bottom ½ to 1 inch of pit is under water (see photo, below).
4. Refill water as needed so that bottom ½ inch of pit is always under water. Keep pit out of direct sunlight.
5. Ask kids to observe their avocado pit each day—what do they notice? They might want to leave a pencil and paper (or a notebook) nearby so they can jot down their observations. You should see roots and a stem sprout from pit in about 6 weeks. 
6. When stem is 6 to 7 inches follow these directions to plant your avocado tree in soil and watch it slowly grow bigger and bigger.

Refer to steps 2 and 3, above.

Take It Further
Language Arts (Speaking and Listening):
As you enjoy your rice and bean bowls, use the prompts below to help foster conversation around your table. As kids and other family members answer the questions, help them think through their thoughts and feelings about their answers and what has been said by others. 

  • This is a colorful dish! How many different colors do you see in your rice and beans bowls? What are some other colorful foods that you can think of?
  • There are lots of ingredients in our rice and bean bowls. They all have different flavors and textures, and they all work together in harmony to make a delicious dinner, kind of like how all the people in a family are different, but they work together. How are we different? What are some ways that we work together? 
  • What was challenging about making this recipe? What were the easiest parts?
On sale April 2021

Burger Box

Our May box includes everything kids need to achieve burger bliss—and much more! With recipes for Cheeseburger Sliders, Juicy Turkey Burgers, and Spiced Chickpea Burgers, plus DIY ketchup, pickles, and burger sauces (mixed up with the included mini whisk), there’s a burger combo for everyone! After you eat, play Burger Thrown Down, our fast-paced, family-friendly card game. On sale through the end of April, this box arrives in mid-May.  
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