Dear Kids,Welcome to our new ChopChop Kids Club newsletter! 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!

Click on the link each week to try some awesome new recipes.

Week 1- Cuban Black Bean Soup -  Rich in flavor and soft in texture, black beans are perfect for soup. Black bean soup takes well to the classic Latin American flavors of cumin, chili powder, cilantro, and lime—add more or less of any of these, depending on what you have and like.  Kitchen Skill - Cooking Dried Beans from Scratch - It’s fine to use beans from a can, but it’s very satisfying and inexpensive to cook dried beans from scratch. The method is the same for different kinds of beans; all that changes is the cooking time.

Week 2-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!

Week 3-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!Let’s get started!

Week 4-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!  Click here for a copy of the newsletter.

Week 5- 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.

Week 6- 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!

Week 7- 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.Get ready to rice and shine!

Week 8- We’re celebrating Mother’s Day. 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!

Week 9- 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. We hope it goes smoothie-ly.

Week 10- 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.

Week 11- 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.

Week 12- 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.

Week 13- 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. We hope you love it as much as we do!

Week 14- This week we’re celebrating both the official start of summer and Father’s Day, which is this Sunday, June 21. 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!

Week 15- 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.

Week 16- 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.

Week 17- 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.

Week 18- 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!

Week 19- 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. There’s plenty more inside.

Week 20- 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.

Week 21- 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.

Week 22 - 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.