Welcome to week 37 of Kitchen Classroom, 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.
Give family dinner the steakhouse treatment in this edition of Kitchen Classroom when Kids Cook Dinner! Young chefs will learn how to make impressive, perfectly browned Pan-Seared Strip Steaks, a recipe from our latest cookbook, The Complete Cookbook for Young Scientists. They’ll practice making predictions and keeping track of time as they cook in this week’s Learning Moment, and can serve their steaks with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Roasted Broccoli, or Spice-Roasted Carrots to round out the Maillard-y meal. They can even look back to last week’s edition of Kitchen Classroom to make a delicious Browned Butter Sauce—perfect for drizzling over their cooked steaks!
Don’t forget to share what your family makes by tagging @testkitchenkids or using #ATKkids on Instagram, or by sending photos to email@example.com. Visit the America’s Test Kitchen Kids website for more culinary content designed especially for kids.
Here’s what’s cooking for the week of September 13th through 19th, 2021.
Kids Cook Dinner: Pan-Seared Strip Steaks
Cooking perfectly seasoned steaks that are well-browned on the outside and juicy on the inside is easy with this kid-friendly recipe. The steaks start in a cold pan, so there’s no splatter or smoke, and are flipped every two minutes to build up a deliciously browned crust. That browning is thanks to the Maillard reaction (see the “Food For Thought” section at the bottom of the recipe page to learn more). You can also use rib-eye steaks for this recipe, if you prefer.
[GET THE RECIPE]
What You’ll Need
2 (12-ounce) boneless strip steaks, about 1½ inches thick
1 teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Math (Measurement & Data):
Explain to kids that a key part of this recipe is to flip the steaks in the pan every two minutes. The total time it takes to get the steaks to their target internal temperature (120 to 125 degrees) will vary based on the size and shape of the steaks, and how hot your stove is. Have kids observe the steaks before cooking: Do the steaks look thick or thin? Big or small? Ask kids to also think back to other times they have cooked using this stovetop. Does your stove usually cook things quickly, or does it sometimes need a little extra time?
Based on these observations, ask kids to look at steps 2 and 3 of the recipe and make a prediction: How many minutes total do they think it will take for these steaks to reach 120 to 125 degrees? How many sets of 2 minutes would that be, and therefore how many times will they have to flip their steaks? Kids can use addition, subtraction, or division to figure this out.
Once kids have made their prediction, have them set out a timer, a scrap piece of paper, and a pencil next to the stove before they begin cooking. As they cook, have them time each 2 minute interval, and make a tally mark on the paper every time they flip the steaks. While the steaks rest in step 4, ask kids to count their tally marks. How many times did they flip the steaks? Based on that, how many sets of 2 minutes did it take for their steaks to cook? Tell kids to add or multiply to get their total cook time. Ask kids: How close was the actual cooking time to your prediction? Did it take longer or shorter for the steaks to cook than you expected? Why do you think that is?
Take It Further
Language Arts (Speaking and Listening):
As you sit down to family dinner and enjoy your steaks, 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.
- These steaks have a tasty, browned crust on the outside. Can you think of any other foods that turn brown during cooking? Are there any on the table right now? (Some examples to get kids thinking are roasted vegetables, bread, or browned butter.)
- A steak like this might be served at a fancy steakhouse restaurant. What’s your favorite part of going out to a restaurant to eat? What’s your favorite type of restaurant to visit, and why?
- In this recipe, you had to keep careful track of time. What are some other activities you can think of in which keeping track of time is important? (Some ideas are during games or races; when you have to catch a bus, train, or plane; when baking a cake; or getting to bed on time to get enough sleep.) Are you usually good at keeping track of time, or not? How do you like to keep track of what time it is? (Some ideas may be with a watch, a phone, or a clock on the wall.)