ChopChop Kids Club offers a series of weekly newsletter, please see links below to view a PDF of each topic. You will find recipes, games, and ideas about food, nutrition, food safety, and health. The Chop Chop Family also offers a quarterly printed magazine, please reach out to a member of the SNAP-Ed team to request a copy.
This month, as the weather grows warmer, we’re thinking about salad and, more specifically, one of the coolest plants around: lettuce. You might not think about lettuce very much. I mean, it’s leafy and green. What else is there to know? A lot, it turns out! Different kinds of lettuce bring different qualities to your salad bowl. Iceberg is pale and very crisp; romaine is crunchy and robust; Bibb or Boston lettuce is soft and tender. Try different kinds to see which ones you like best. Inside this newsletter you’ll find basic salad recipes and skills, along with fun facts, a taste test, and a salad-themed gardening activity. Bring on Summer!
Volume 43: Lettuce
Sesame seeds may be most familiar to you from your bagel or burger bun—but there’s more to this tiny seed than meets the eye (or bread). Sesame seeds are used throughout the world: stirred into soups and stews in India, East Africa, and Mexico; ground into the fragrant paste called tahini in the Middle East; turned into sesame oil that’s used all over East Asia; and made into candies, crackers, and breadsticks in Europe and the Caribbean. Just read on for recipes, fun facts, and more. Open sesame!
This month, we’re jazzing up our food with spices. Spices are the seeds, bark, berries, or roots of a fragrant plant or tree that have been dried and (often) ground to a powder. We use lots of spices in our recipes because they add so much delicious flavor and aroma to food—and, despite the name, spices aren’t always spicy! Keep reading for recipes, activities, and fun facts about this powerful ingredient.
This month, we’re thinking about lemons. From their brightly fragrant zest to their tart juice, these bright yellow citrus fruits add so much flavor to food. Drop a wedge of lemon into a glass of water and you’ll know what we mean—something plain is transformed into something tangy and aromatic. You might not reach for one if you were hungry, but you would if you wanted to add tons of flavor to sweets, drinks, dips, salads, soups, and just about anything else you’d want to eat. Inside, you’ll find lemony recipes, activities, fun facts, and more.
This month, we’re offering up our appreciation for the most humble, inexpensive, and vital kitchen ingredient: salt. You might not think about it much, but it sure can make the difference between a meal that tastes kind of blah and one that really sings with flavor. We’ve got recipes that highlight the craveable flavor of salt (can you imagine popcorn without it?) and experiments, fun facts, and projects that highlight its importance and versatility.
This month, we’re cooking with root vegetables. These are the underground wonders of the vegetable world: They’re harvested in the fall, and then they keep well through the winter—making them a great option for roasting, snacking, and salads all through the coldest months. Plus, they’re sweet and relatively inexpensive, and they can be prepared in lots of family-pleasing ways. We’ve got recipes for those—plus some fun facts and activities too. Happy New Year!
This month, we’re thinking about frozen food—and not just because it’s freezing out where we live (although it is). In the winter, when lots of fruits and vegetables aren’t in season where we are, frozen foods are a great option. They’re easy to keep on hand and super-nutritious. Plus, they’re often already pitted, peeled, and/or cut into bite-size pieces, which makes them really easy to use. We’ve got recipes (of course), plus some cold facts, frosty activities, and chilly games too. Brrr! Stay warm!
This month is all about celery. Celery! You might not think about it that much. Maybe only a few people would call it their favorite vegetable. But we really rely on it! Chopped up, for crunch and flavor, in tuna and egg salad; cut into sticks for easy, juicy snacking; and sautéed with onions and carrots as the basis for so many of the soups and stews we make. We even sliver up the leaves to use as a seasoning! In this newsletter you’ll find recipes, activities, and even a science experiment—plus some fun facts that might surprise you about this ordinary, extraordinary vegetable. Enjoy!
This month, we’re thinking about winter squash, specifically pumpkins. We can’t help it! We get excited about carving them, roasting their seeds, and learning all about them. Do you want to take a where-in-the-world pumpkin quiz? We’ve got that. Make a pumpkin smoothie? Try some estimating experiments? We’ve got those too. If you’re counting the days until Halloween, this newsletter is for you. Enjoy!
This month, with the back-to-school season upon us, we’re focusing on snacks. The morning-break kind, the after-school kind, the grab-and-go boost-of-energy kind, and, yes, the midnight kind too—though shouldn’t you really be asleep? Our snacks give you everything you need, from speed to nutrition to deliciousness. We’ve got something for everyone here, whatever your snacking habits, preferences, or schedule—plus fun facts and snacktivities too. Enjoy!
Whether we’re freezing plain water—or something tastier—ice is a big part of our hot-weather lives! How many different shapes of ice cubes have you encountered? What was your favorite? A plain cube? A tube with a hole through its middle? A wacky shape? This month we’ve got plenty of icy fun, from recipes (not for plain ice cubes, of course), to cool-off activities, to fun frozen facts. What are you waiting for? Get chilling!
Melons are one of our favorite summertime treats! Are they one of yours too? What kind do you like best? We love them all: sweet, orange cantaloupe; juicy, pale green honeydew; ripe red watermelon. Of course you don’t need a recipe for melon. You can just eat it, and it will be perfect! But we have a couple of easy recipes anyway, just in case you want to try something new. Plus, we’ve got fun facts, simple activities, and a summery way to practice gratitude. Happy Melon Season!
Juicy, red cherries are one of our favorite early summer treats (well, along with school letting out). You don’t need to do much to them, since they’re delicious just the way they are. But we have a couple of easy recipes anyway, just in case you find yourself with an abundance. Plus, we’ve got fun facts and sweet ideas to, well, put the cherry on top! (And we’re asking if you know where that expression comes from! Hint: It might involve whipped cream too.) Happy Summer!
Red, ripe strawberries. They brighten up everything from a fruit salad to a bowl of cereal to a glass of sparkling water. And they’re a sure sign that summer is on its way! We’ve got strawberry everything this month: easy, refreshing recipes, plus fun facts, juicy ideas, and simple activities to get you in that strawberry state of mind. What's your favorite way to eat strawberries?
Spring’s got us thinking about the color green. And the color green’s got us thinking about cucumbers! They’re crunchy, fresh, and juicy—and it’s easy to turn them into nearly instant salads and snacks. What’s your favorite cucumber? A plain one? A slice dipped in salad dressing? Or a dill pickle that, yes, started life as just a regular cucumber? We’ve got cucumber recipes, cucumber facts, and cucumber fun. Just in time for warmer weather. Happy Spring!
This month, spring’s got us thinking about salad! Making it, eating it, learning about it, and even drawing it. What’s your favorite kind of salad? What’s the weirdest thing you like to put in a salad? What would you take out of a salad if nobody was watching? We’ve got recipes and activities for you, and some fun facts, too. A whole bowlful! Happy Salad Days!
This month we’re thinking about the color pink! Because, well, Valentine’s Day is coming up, and we’re romantic like that. What have you eaten that’s pink? What have you eaten that’s naturally pink? What flavors do you associate with the color pink? We’ve got a fun pink recipe, some pink food facts, and some pink activities, too. We think you’ll love it all. Happy Valentine's Day!
This month we're eyeing carrots. And not just because they're good for your eyesight! They're sweet and crunchy, tasty raw or cooked - and rabbits love them. So do we! Here's some of what we know about carrots and how to use them, including a recipe for Carrot Fries and some fun activities to boot. Happy New Year! We're root-ing for a great 2021
This month we’re eating oranges! Plus doing a lot more with them—like learning about their flavor and history, using the zest to flavor cooking oil, and even making holiday gifts from them. Plus, we’re peeling and eating them just like that, too. Because we love oranges.
This month we’re eating pears! Plus doing a lot more with them—like ripening them, drawing them, learning from and about them, and turning them into jokes and riddles. Do you know your favorite kind of pear? The firm, brown Bosc? The yellowish and fragrant Bartlett? The juicy green D’Anjou? The crisp Asian apple-pear? Or do you like them all?
This month we're cooking with squash! Plus doing a lot more with it---like jack-o'-lantern-themed math games, rotten science experiments and more. We're also wondering what your favorite things are about this month. Please drop us a line and let us know! Have fun and be well.
This month we're cooking with tomatoes. Or, more precisely, not cooking with tomatoes. Because they're so good right now you really don't need to cook them. Some kids we know bite right into tomatoes like they're apples: some eat tomato sandwiches: and some, to be honest, don't eat them at all. What's your favorite way? We've got more here, too, including an easy recipe for something called Twinkle Spice, fun facts, questions, and activities to fill this back-to-school season. Have fun!
This month we’re cooking with corn. Or at least we’re sharing our simplest, most delicious way to let this summer star shine. Do you eat corn on the cob around and around? Or in rows, like a typewriter? (Take a poll at the dinner table!) There’s lots more here, too, including from-scratch popcorn, fun facts, questions, and activities to fill these hot summer days.Stay cool and have fun.
This week we’re mixing up some refreshing, thirst-quenching drinks. Sometimes plain water can get boring, but we know we need to stay hydrated in the heat. Our main recipe is for Fruit Water: a deceptively simple pitcher of flavor-kissed deliciousness. Think of it as fancy tap water! You can use whatever fruits and/or herbs you like. And to really amp up the coldness and flavor, make some Fun, Fruity Ice Cubes too! We’ve got more water fun inside: experiments, games, and activities to cool you off and keep you that way.
This week we’re cooking with watermelon. Okay, we’re not actually cooking with it, but we’re making ice pops and salads and other fun cool-off recipes. Do you love watermelon as much as we do? Do you like the seedless kind or do you prefer the seeds? Do you cut it in half moons or wedges or chunks? These are just some of the many questions we have for you.
Volume 19: Watermelon
This week we’re cooking pasta. Do you have pasta night at your house? What’s your favorite pasta shape? Something long, like spaghetti? Short and tubular, like ziti? A fun shape, like wagon wheels or bowties? The main recipe this week is a salad made from orzo, a small rice-shaped pasta that’s fun to eat. The skills you’ll practice will help you cook up any kind of pasta. Imagine the pasta-bilities!
This week we’re making Pineapple Frozen Yogurt (we call it fro-yo for short). Even if you can’t go out for ice cream right now, you can make this recipe—or some of our other frozen treats—right in your kitchen. They’re all very easy, so they’re perfect for when you want to chill out. We’ve also included a few ways to keep playing and moving, even when it’s hot.
This week we’re celebrating the Fourth of July by making a Zesty Potato Salad. We think it’s the perfect dish for this holiday, and we’ve also linked to some other festive dishes you and your family can make together. Independence Day is a great time to practice your cooking skills, which help make you independent! Wherever and however you celebrate, we hope you are able to share a great meal with the people you love.
This week we’re making Smashed Cucumber Salad (and yes, you get to do the smashing). How else do you like to eat cucumbers? Do you add them to your sandwiches or your salads? What about your drinks? (Cucumber Lemonade is one of our favorite drinks for summer!) If you think you don’t love cucumbers, we hope one of our recipes will change your mind
This week we’re celebrating both the official start of summer and Father’s Day, which is this Sunday, June 21 2020. We know not every family has a father, and that’s okay! You can make our burger recipe with or for any father figures or other special people in your life. However you celebrate, we hope you can use some of our ideas to make it a fun day for your family. Note: If you’re too young to cook solo, get help from another adult (even your dad—he’ll still appreciate it!), and if you are old enough not to need one, let it be a surprise!
This week we’re celebrating oats and making a Mixed-Berry Crisp. You have probably eaten oats in oatmeal cookies or granola. They’re fun to cook with, and they’re wholesome and delicious, too! You can make the crisp with different fruits all summer long.
This week we’re making applesauce. Sure, you can buy applesauce from the store, but it’s easy (and so much more fun) to mash it yourself. Plus, you can customize your applesauce by adding other ingredients you may have on hand, such as cranberries, nuts, spices, or even vanilla extract.
This week we’re focusing on chickpeas. “Chickpeas” and “garbanzo beans” are two different names for the same thing, so don’t get confused if you see both on the label of a can. Chickpeas are a member of the legume family, which includes peanuts, lentils, peas, and beans such as black, white, kidney, and pinto. They’re full of protein and nutrients, so they give you lots of energy. Plus, you can eat chickpeas so many ways: in salads, roasted for a snack, and in curries and stews. This week, we’re using them in our recipe for Classic Hummus.
This week we’re making sweet potato fries. We love sweet potatoes! Why? They’re delicious and versatile, for one thing: You can roast, steam, or mash them, or cut them up and add them to soups or stews, where they turn creamy and luscious. Plus, they’re full of vitamins and nutrients, and that’s pretty sweet.
This week we’re making smoothies. Yogurt is something we usually have in the refrigerator, and we love combining it with fresh or frozen fruit and even some leafy greens to make smoothies. Take a look at what’s in your kitchen right now, and then use our mix-and-match chart to create your own combinations. Maybe you will invent a smoothie no one’s ever tried before! Of course, we also have activities you can do after you’re done blending and some other yogurt recipes you can make, too.
Welcome to a bonus issue of our new ChopChop Kids Club newsletter! We’re celebrating Mother’s Day, which is
this Sunday May 10, 2020. Not all families have mothers, and that’s okay! We believe that anyone can be your “mother”—like your
grandmother, aunt, a close neighbor, or even your father! Spend Mother’s Day honoring any and all motherly figures
in your life. It’s fun to make someone feel special, which is why we’ve filled this issue with ways to create a special
celebration for the mother in your life—or anyone at all!
Note: If you’re too young to cook solo, get help from another adult, even your mom—she’ll still appreciate it!
This week we’re focusing on rice. We like to keep a big bag of rice in our pantry to add to soups, top with beans, serve with stir-fries, use to make rice pudding, and so much more. Our Double Vegetable Fried Rice is a great way to use up all sorts of leftovers. We even prefer using leftover rice, so make this recipe when your family needs a refrigerator clean-out.
This week we’re making bread. Yes, you can make your own bread at home— just like you see in the store or bakery!—and it’s easy. Baking bread is like one big science experiment. (Wait until you see how the dough rises!) And the results are delicious. This recipe does require some waiting, but we’ve got plenty of activities for you and your family to do in the meantime. Get bready, get set, get baking!
This week we’re focusing on birthdays. Even if your birthday isn’t happening during this time, it’s pretty likely that you know someone who will be celebrating their birthday a little bit differently this year. It can be kind of a bummer to not have a party with friends and family, but we’re here to help create a special celebration under these special circumstances. We’ve heard from lots of kids who have had birthday parades, thrown parties on Zoom, received videos from all over the world, and more. And if it’s not your birthday, we think it’s always fun to make a batch of cupcakes and celebrate an unbirthday … or any day at all.
This week we’re making a frittata, which is like a cross between an omelet and a quiche. We’ve given you lots of ideas for variations so you can use whatever ingredients you have in your refrigerator or pantry. Don’t love broccoli? Add chopped greens instead. Have cauliflower in the fridge? Throw it in. It’s a great way to use up leftover odds and ends, like cooked potatoes or stale bread, so you can use what you already have
instead of buying new ingredients. Plus, it’s a terrific make-ahead breakfast and a satisfying lunch or dinner, too. You can use your new egg skills to make some of the other recipes we link to here, too! Egg-cited? We are!
This week we’re focusing on canned tomatoes. Canned tomatoes are convenient because they last a long time in your pantry—and so does pasta, which is a great partner for tomatoes! There are ways to make tomato sauce that involve cooking on the stove for many hours, but we like this recipe, which is nice and fast. You can start your sauce, and by the time you finish cooking your pasta, it will be ready!
This week we’re focusing on older bananas. You know the kind: they’re brown and spotty and past the point of slicing into your cereal. But they’re perfect for banana bread! If you have a little brother or sister at home, they can help you mash the bananas for this recipe. It’s a fun job, it’s pretty much impossible to mess up, and they’ll feel so good about getting involved! And if you’ve got an older sibling at home, maybe they can help you with the parts you’re not so sure about—like using pot holders to take the loaf out of the oven. And if it’s just you? There’ll be more banana bread to go around. Have fun going bananas!
Are you home from school right now? This is the perfect time to learn to cook—or, if you already know how to cook, to master some skills. Plus, if you can make a meal or two, you’ll be helping your family in such an important way (and your adults will be so happy). You might not be shopping much, so the trick will be using what you’ve already got at home. We have ideas about that. Let’s get started!