Tuna Pie in Mariano Castro Elementary School

We have started our series of lessons in the Castro Mariano Valley Elementary School! This week the kids prepared a delicious and healthy Mexican recipe contributed by one of our team members. Check out the recipes and the photos of the interactive class!

elemetray tuna

Country we are exploring: Mexico (Population: 122 million)

Capital: Mexico City

Continent: America

Official Language(s): Spanish

English Recipe Name: Tuna Pie

Name of dish in native country: Pastel de atún

Type of dish: Appetizer

Recommended season or holiday: The following recipe is very popular at children’s parties in Mexico, specially in the Mazatlán  region. And one of our team members from Mexico mentions is traditional for her family holidays!

Serving Size: for 6 people


When it comes to health, Tuna fish has it all. It is rich in protein, low in fat, and is an excellent source of the essential omega-3 fatty acids, which make your brain smarter!

Ingredient spotlight: Tuna

Fish are vertebrate animals that live in the water. Vertebrate means they have a spinal cord surrounded by bone or cartilage.

When it comes to health, Tuna fish has it all. It is rich in protein, low in fat, and is an excellent source of the essential omega-3 fatty acids, which make your brain smarter!

Tools (optional): knife, blender, glass vessel, spoon


  • 1 package of white bread
  • 1/4 of cream
  • 6 slices of cheddar cheese
  • 1 tin medium of bell pepper
  • 2 cans of tuna in water or oil
  • 1 can of vegetables for salad
  • mayonnaise to taste

Little Chef Duties: Measure all of the ingredients

Big Chef Duties: Mix all the ingredients in a blender

Little Chef Duties: Cut the edges of the bread and mix the ingredients for the salad

Learn while you wait:

Science: we discussed today the difference of mixtures that are homogeneous and heterogeneous, and asked the kids whether they know which mixture our food mixture became.

Heterogeneous and homogeneous refer to mixtures of materials in chemistry. The difference between heterogeneous and homogeneous mixtures is the degree at which the materials are mixed together and the uniformity of their composition.

A homogeneous mixture is a mixture where the components that make up the mixture are uniformly distributed throughout the mixture. The composition of the mixture is the same throughout. There is only one phase of matter observed in a homogeneous mixture.

You can’t pick out components of a homogeneous mixture or use a simple mechanical means to separate them

(Our tuna and cream mixture)

A heterogeneous mixture is a mixture where the components of the mixture are not uniform or have localized regions with different properties. Different samples from the mixture are not identical to each other.

Math: Can you cut your sandwiches in different shapes, (rectangles, triangles), circles?

Also if this recipe asks for 6, and we need to make food for 12, how much more of each material do we need?


Enjoy a sandwich with your favorite cup of soup or beans

Teach the kids how to say Bon Appetit in the language of this recipe: disfrute de su comida

Did you know?

One of the biggest issues affecting kids in Mexico is the increase in child abduction.

Conversation Igniters:

Do you know what abduction means?  What are some ways you can help help find missing children?

Take Action:

Read about some ways you can help with the problem of child abduction, and come to class next week prepared to talk about what you can personally do:


Here some photos of the fun day we had at the Castro Elementary School!



Causa De Atun

Today, we had our good friends, Mahsa, Ramin and their lovely children, Aryan and Ava over to discover Peru through the recipe my friend Shadia Mattar suggested to us. We learned a great deal about this country,  and had a blast cooking.

Girls cooking

Here are the country facts in our traditional Chef Koochooloo format:

Continent: South América

National Language Spanish

English Recipe Name: Tuna Fish Potato Loaf 

Peruvian Name:   CAUSA DE ATUN

 We began our journey by asking the kids whether they knew that Peru had a high rate of 19% child labor.  Aryan and Delarai expressed that they would love to have the right to work instead of going to school, but then we mentioned the kinds of jobs these kids have, they quickly changed their minds.

If you discuss this topic with your kids, be sure to point them to a site such as this one to learn more and take action towards this cause: http://www.sos-childrensvillages.org/where-we-help/americas/peru

We shared some fun facts with the kids about Peru, but mostly they fell in love with Peru knowing that: It is home to  many Llamas and alpacas.  Llamas by nature, are very intelligent, gentle animals. They are relatively inexpensive to maintain, relatively disease-free, and are quick, to learn, cooperative, and patient in training. Their quickness to learn can make them, at times, mischievous. Kids love watching spit on each other.

Ingredient spotlight:  Potato 

There are about 5,000 potato varieties worldwide. Three thousand of them are found in the Andes alone, mainly in Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, and Colombia.

There are about 5,000 potato varieties worldwide. Three thousand of them are found in the Andes alone, Potatoes are believed to have originated in what is now South of Peru!

The potato was originally believed to have been discovered in southern Peru. Potatoes have a lot of potassium. Potassium is an element (and an electrolyte) that’s essential for the body’s growth and maintenance. It’s necessary to keep a normal water balance between the cells and body fluids.


  • 2.2 lb (1 k) potatoes (yellow, if available)
  • ¼ cup oil
  • Juice of 2 key limes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground aji amarillo fresco / fresh yellow aji (chili)
  • 1.1 lb (½ k) fresh tuna fish or 2 6-oz cans of tuna fish packed in oil
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 sliced avocados
  • 2  cups of mayonnaise
  • ½ cup of Parsley
  • 8 Spanish olives
  • 2 hardboiled eggs


Note: If canned tuna fish is used, season with key lime-juice and chopped onion.

If fresh tuna fish is used, bake first with salt and ground white pepper. 

Different fillings for Causa:

  • Avocado, mayonnaise, diced tomato and boiled diced eggs.
  • Shrimps, mayonnaise, ketchup, drops of lime juice and ground yelow aji.
  • Crabmeat and mayonnaise.
  • Octopus in olive sauce.


 Big Chef Duties:

  • Boil potatoes with salt
  • Dice the onion
  • Slice the tomatoes in small sizes

 Little Chef Duties:

  • Peel and mash the potatoes.
  • Combine with salt, white ground pepper, key lime juice, aji or chili and oil.
  • Mix tuna fish with mayonnaise and diced onions.
  • Spread potato mixture on a thin rectangular sheet of plastic. Spread the filling
  • Top with tomatoes, sliced avocado and roll using the plastic to help form a round loaf.
  • Refrigerate for one hour.

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Learn while you wait:  

  • Boil two eggs:

What causes bubbles to form when boiling water? As the water starts to get hot, a lot of bubbles will form down the walls of your water container. These bubbles are AIR. Normally water has a lot of air dissolved on it. This is what allows breathing to fish and other aquatic beings. The solubility of gases decreases when the temperature is raised, and that is why the dissolved air bubbles out from the water.


  • Slice the avocados (with drops of key lime juice to prevent discoloring) and if desired, mayonnaise, serve with kale or red peppers

Causa Atun

As they say in Perú, Mucho Gusto!