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!



YMCA discovers Quince Tarte with Chef Koochooloo

All right, we admit it– we have an obsession for all things Argentine.

Last Thursday, Chef Koochooloo was invited to bring the magic of Argentina to 30 delightful children at the Castro after school YMCA program.

The owner of Baharestan school, (http://www.baharestankids.com) was kind enough to let me pick fresh quinces from her back-yard.  I prepared the paste prior to our lesson, but took a few fresh ones to show the YMCA students and staff, who were surprised to discover this delightful fruit.

What made this lesson truly special was that we had Miss Claudia Auxilir, a Buenos Aires native, join us and conduct the lesson in both Spanish and English. Furthermore, the kids had a chance to sell their beautiful creations at the Castro silent auction the next day, we made over $200 for the school PTA!


Enjoy making this delicious and healthy dessert Quince Tarte with your little special chefs:

Country We Are Exploring:  Argentina

Continent:  South America

Official Language: Spanish

English Recipe Name: Quince Paste Tarte

Spanish Name:  Pasta Frola de Dulce de Membrillo

Fun Fact:

Did you know that the oldest known dinosaur species has been traced back to Argentina and Brazil? Some species go as far back as 230 million years ago, and well-preserved displays of their remains are in the Argentine National Historical Museum in Buenos Aires.

Quince is our delicious ingredient spotlight for the recipe!

Quince is our delicious ingredient spotlight for the recipe!

Ingredient spotlight: Dulce de Membrillo

Quince Paste originates from Quince (Membrillo), a low calorie fruit that contains several vital antioxidants that keep the body young and healthy. The fruit is also full of minerals.

Like vitamins, minerals help your body grow, develop, and stay healthy. The body uses minerals to perform many different functions — from building strong bones to transmitting nerve impulses. Some minerals are even used to make hormones or maintain a normal heartbeat.


  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 butter bars
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons of milk
  • 2 cups of quince paste (dulce de membrillo)
  • ½ cup of pineapple preserves (this is an optional ingredient)
  • ½ cup of raspberry jam (optional too)

Little Chef Duties:

  • Mix the ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder and sugar) in a bowl using a whisk (Make sure mix is not too wet or too crumbly, you can add an extra spoon of flour or milk to get it right)
  • Cut the butter into small pieces and mix into ingredients until well blended
  • Add milk, egg and egg yolk to the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar mix
  • Wrap dough in plastic and chill for about 30 minutes
  • Butter a 9 inch pie dish
  • Roll about ¾ of the dough on a floured surface and make it a circle big enough to cover all of the pie dish
  • Spread the filling prepared by Big Chef into the covered pie dish
  • Make a lattice pattern on top of the tart

Big Chef Duties:

  • Add dulce de membrillo, pineapple and raspberry jam to a small pot with 1 or 2 spoons of water, stir frequently at low heat
  • Remove pot from heat and let it cool
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Help the little chefs add the filling into the pie dish
  • Roll the remaining dough into a circle and cut thin strips of dough
  • Make a lattice pattern over the top of the tart
  • Cook in the oven until golden brown (about 30 minutes)

Learn while you wait: When a pie or cake bakes, the whole protein network in the mix hardens due to the heat in the oven. The color of the dough changes as the protein hardens and that is what gives pie dough or cake dough a darker color.

More about Argentina! Did you know that in Argentina, teachers have the right to spank children who don’t listen to them in class?

Discussion ideas to ask your Little Chef: When kids don’t listen to your teacher at your school, what is the consequence?


  • Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve warm!

As they say in Argentina:

Buen Provecho!


Argentine Rice Veggie Salad

We are very happy to announce yet another milestone for Chef Koochooloo, and our little Delarai.

The Marinero Castro School will be holding their famous annual fundraiser Walkathon on Friday, October 1oth. This will be Delarai’s first ever Walkathon, (she is very excited and is planning to do at least 5 laps). Chef Koochooloo has been invited to host a table offering healthy vegetarian food options for all participants.  We have selected a few Argentinian specialities that we’ll teach and cook with the kids at the YMCA after school program at Castro. What better way to involve the kids in fundraising efforts for their own school?

Of course, we’ll follow the usual Chef Koochooloo lesson plan, teaching kids all about Argentina fun facts, and social issues, while enforcing healthy food choices.

A very special thanks to Mr. Ebin and the team from the “Rose International Gourmet Market”, who donated a few ingredients to the school for the recipe below. The list (fully explored in the INGREDIENTS section) includes rice, fresh carrots, nutritious  celery!

Rose International Gourmet Market

Rose International Gourmet Market

A special thanks to Venus Kalami and Rachel Zarrow from Clearly Kombucha for donating a few cases of the amazing  healthy ice teas for the Walkathon.  We will be selling those at the Chef Koochooloo table on Friday from 2-6pm, or find out more about the health benefits of Kambucha on their Facebook Page.

photo (2)

Clearly Kombucha is ready to refresh with its delicious beverages!

We will be offering healthy, exotic and delicious options at the Walkathon. If you are local, stop by and visit us at the booth, while supporting the Mariano Castro Elementary School!

And for those of you who are not local, here a sneak peak and one of the recipes we’ll be featuring. Enjoy!

Country we are exploring:  Argentina

Continent:  South America

Language(s) spoken: Spanish

English Recipe Name: Argentine Rice Veggie Salad

Spanish Name:   Ensalada Argentina de Arroz con Vegetales

Fun Fact about Argentina:

The first animated cartoon was created by an Argentine cartoonist named Quirino Cristiani. These movies were released to the public many years ago, in 1917 and 1918.

Did you know?

Argentina suffers from inflation. Inflation means that the cost of goods and services goes up very quickly. For instance, if a piece of candy costs $1.00 today, with inflation it could possibly cost $1.50 the next week.

Discussion ideas: How can inflation affect what ingredients families buy for dinner?

Our Ingredient Spotlight today is the PEA

Our Ingredient Spotlight today is the PEA

Ingredient spotlight: Peas

Peas have a variety of excellent health benefits for example they have anti-aging, properties and they also benefit the immune system making it stronger, finally they help the body maintain a high level of energy.


  • ½ Cup White Rice
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 carrot (cut into cubes)
  • ¼ cup of extra virgin oil
  • 2 teaspoons of Red Wine Vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup of corn kernel
  • 1 cup of frozen peas
  • 2 stalks of celery (chopped finely)
  • 1 small red onion (sliced in small pieces)

Big Chef Duties:

  • Chop celery very finely, leave some pieces for garnishing
  • Bring water to a boil
  • Add rice to water saucepan and cook for about 17 minutes
  • Add carrot to second saucepan of boiling water and cook for 2 minutes
  • Transfer cooked carrots to a bowl
  • Add peas to boiling water (where the carrots cooked) and cook for a minute
  • Transfer cooked peas to carrot bowl with vinegar
  • Add the rice to the bowl

Little Chef Duties:

  • Cut carrots into cubes
  • Cut onion in small pieces
  • Open can of peas
  • Fill a saucepan with salted water
  • Add 2 tablespooons of olive oil, vinegar and oregano to bowl with cooked carrots
  • Add the celery and the onion to the bowl
  • Season with salt and pepper

Cook Rice

Learn while you wait: (Introduce a Math, history or science related fact)

Water covers around 70% of the Earth’s surface, and it is essential for sustaining life on Earth.


  • Place salad in a preferred bowl and ad some garnish celery to it

photo (2)


As they say in Argentina:

Buen Provecho!


Kid Friendly Kitchen: The essentials to make your kitchen a perfect and safe place for kids

As many of you know I am now leading the startup “Chef Koochooloo” where part of our mission is to empower families to engage in fun, interactive cooking activities and help parents safely involve their kids in preparing a healthy meal. You can read more about our vision and mission in our last post.

When I started cooking with my daughter I came to the realization that I did not have a kid friendly kitchen. Sadly most of my cooking supplies were adult size, extremely sharp or simply not adequate for my daughter, so I moved fast and bought the appropriate supplies, changed my utensils and made my kitchen a safe and fun space for my girl.

It took me a while to find the perfect kids cooking tools that I wanted my daughter to use during this cooking journey. I spent a lot of time browsing online and found some amazing utensils. Believe me I would have liked to buy them all and make my daughter’s cooking experience something she could safely enjoy at every step, but I had to prioritize based on what she would use the most often. With this in mind, I made a list with the essentials and substituted those for kid-friendly versions, which provided both safety for her and peace of mind for me. Here are some of the items that can be safely substituted and can be used by kids.

  • Cutting tools: Disposable plastic knives are a solution when you first start preparing your kitchen for the little chefs. There’s no risk in giving a young child a plastic knife and it allows them to start getting involved with the hard steps of cooking a recipe, but if you don’t have plastic ware at home or you simply don’t like to use plastic utensils, then you can try the plastic knife from Zliss, is a lettuce knife that allows your kids to be safe while cutting. I use kid-friendly knives I bought from IKEA; they come in a variety of fun colors and they have been very useful for our cooking adventures.



  • Spatulas and Spoons: I have found that silicon spatulas and spoons are better for the pots. This material is safe for kids and is very common. The only recommendation I have is to buy it in a friendly size for the kids to use while making their favorite recipe! Remember that these ones come in a wide range of colors and sizes, pick your favorite one! I haven’t completed my spoon collection but soon would like to have spoons and spatulas from www.cookincolor.com


  • Measurers: These are a classic for children, and very easy to get, a lot of companies make them in a variety of colors and with fun shapes. But sometimes just a quick visit to your local store will pay off with fun colored measures in a variety of sizes; just keep your eyes open.


  • Mixing Bowls: No kitchen is complete without the mix and match “mixing-bowls” the ones in the link are from Trudeau. The ones that I have are from my local store.

Trudeau-mizing bowls

  • Cutting Boards: Of course if your kids are going to be cutting, they need a safe space to do so. At home we have plastic cutting boards, since crystal, wood or ceramic ones are just too heavy for my daughter. Recently, I saw these flexible, cheap and small cutting boards from For Small Hands. Aren’t they adorable? Definitely the next acquisition for out child-friendly kitchen!


  • Oven Mitts: There’s more variety for oven mitts. They usually come in different shapes and sizes, but if you want specific kid-size then you may want to try Growing Cooks since they seem to be quite small, perfect for little hands! I’m looking forward to order these ones next time we buy oven mitts.


I also came across this brand: Curious Chef, and I have to say they do have a lot of great cooking items for children. Next time I’m buying something my daughter needs to cook I will certainly purchase it from their website. I can’t wait to try some of their utensils soon!

There are many more items that a kid can use in the kitchen, funnels, timers, fun spoons, containers with different shapes and more! Share with us if your kids have any preference for kid friendly cooking utensils!

Anzac cookies

First of all we want to thank our contributor Holly for this incredible recipe, it will not only make a delicious snack for families it also has interesting fun facts about Australia and the life in the country!

Thank you Holly for sharing this with all the Chef Koochooloo readers!


Country of Origin: Australia

Continent: Australia

National Language: English (with an Aussie accent!)

Recipe Name in National Language: Anzac biscuits

Fun Fact about that Country: In Australia, kids start school at the beginning of the calendar year in January, and they finish the school year in December.

Serious fact about country The sun is much stronger in Australia, so kids always have to wear sunscreen outside. They stay out of the sun in the middle of the day because it’s so easy to get sunburned. Hats are a required part of all school uniforms!

Quiz question: Do you know why the sun is stronger in Australia?

Answer: Because there’s a hole in the ozone layer above Australia. The ozone layer is a layer of gas in the sky that stops the sun from being so harsh all over the world.

Website to take action, learn more, or get involved: sunsmart.com.au

Why is this recipe special? When do people eat this? It’s an Australian tradition to eat Anzac biscuits each year on Anzac Day, April 25th. Anzac Day is a national holiday to honor and remember all the soldiers who have fought hard for their country. The word Anzac stands for the Australian New Zealand Army Corps. It’s the Australian version of Memorial Day – and yes, that means no school!

Why Big Chefs Care: The oats in Anzac cookies contain healthy fiber that will keep your kids fueled for hours. Oats are not only a healthy ingredient that is digested slowly, but they are also a rich source of magnesium and are good for heart health, too. Coconut meat also contains dietary fiber, protein, iron, and zinc. Another great part about Anzac cookies is they won’t go stale as fast as your typical sugar cookie. Keep them in an airtight container and you can munch on them all week long!

Why Little Chefs Care: Anzac cookies taste sweet and delicious, and it’s fun to get your hands all dirty mixing the dough!

Serving Size: approximately 24 cookies

An Anzac biscuit is a sweet biscuit popular in Australia and New Zealand made using rolled oats, flour, desiccated coconut, sugar, butter, golden syrup, baking soda and water.

An Anzac biscuit is a sweet biscuit popular in Australia and New Zealand made using rolled oats, flour, desiccated coconut, sugar, butter, golden syrup, baking soda and water.


  • 1 cup of quick oats
  • ½ cup flaked coconut
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 2 tbsp boiling water


Step 1:

  • Little Chef: Measure out the oats, flour, sugar, and coconut into a bowl and mix them together with a wooden spoon.
  • Big Chef: Put on a small amount of water to boil, and preheat oven to 350° F.

Step 2:

  • Little Chef: Measure out 1 teaspoon of baking soda into a mug or small bowl.
  • Big Chef: In a small saucepan on low heat, melt the butter and syrup together. Add the boiling water to the baking soda, mix, then add to the butter mixture and mix well

Step 3:

  • Little Chef: Grease the cookie sheet with butter or cooking spray so the cookies don’t get stuck.
  • Big Chef: Pour the butter mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon. When the mixture is cool enough to touch, you can let the little chef knead the mixture with his/her hands until everything is mixed in well.

Step 4:

  • Little Chef: Make little balls out of the dough that are about 1 inch thick (about one heaped teaspoon each), and place them on the cookie sheets. Make sure you leave an inch or two between each one so they don’t get stuck to each other.
  • Big Chef: Put the cookies in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Learn while you wait:

  • Question: What kind of trees do coconuts come from? Answer: Palm trees
  • Question: What’s the point of adding baking soda to cookies? What would happen if you didn’t? Answer: Baking soda makes the cookies rise up; if you didn’t have it, your cookies would be flat as a pancake!
  • Question: What shape is a coconut? Answer: Sphere. Challenge: Draw 3 more items in the kitchen that are the same shape.


  • Put the cookies on a cooling rack and wait until they are room temperature
  • Arrange the cookies on a nice plate, and then enjoy!

As they say in Australia, “Cheers mate!” 

anzac cookies2


  • Whole wheat flour instead of regular flour
  • Maple syrup, honey, or agave instead of golden syrup
  • Brown sugar instead of white sugar
  • Rolled oats or muesli instead of quick oats
  • You can also make your own variations by adding different types of nuts or dried fruit.

Outback Carrot Soup

Carrot Soup main ingredients, the carrot, is a great source of vitamin. Lear more about it reading our recipe here!

Carrot Soup main ingredients is… the carrot! And carrots are a great source of vitamin. Lear more about them reading our recipe!

Country we are exploring: Australia

Continent: Australia

National Language: English

English Recipe Name: Outback Carrot Soup

Australian Name: Outback Carrot Soup

Did you know that Australia has been through many droughts, which is when there is not enough rain for a very long period of time. The worst recent drought lasted from 1995-2009 – that’s 14 years! When there is a drought, there are also water restrictions, which means you can only use a little bit of water. If you were a kid in Australia, you would have to forget about taking long showers and running through sprinklers for fun.

Discussion questions: How would you feel if you knew that your country was running out of water? What would you do differently to help save water?

Click here to take action and save water! 

Kids love this country because…

Australia is the only place where koalas live. They are not bears, but they look like cute and cuddly teddy bears with grey fur and big, round, black noses. Koalas live high up in trees, sleep all day, and only wake up for 4-5 hours at night. They only eat eucalyptus leaves, which are poisonous to most animals. Koalas are hard to see in the wild, but you can pet them at the zoo!

Carrots have a lot of Vitamin A, which is good for your eyes and your tummy. Many years ago, carrots were originally purple, red, yellow, and white, but not orange. Over time, humans grew carrots on farms and mixed together different colored carrots to get orange ones.

Carrots have a lot of Vitamin A, which is good for your eyes and your tummy. Many years ago, carrots were originally purple, red, yellow, and white, but not orange. Over time, humans grew carrots on farms and mixed together different colored carrots to get orange ones.

Ingredient Spotlight

Carrots have a lot of Vitamin A, which is good for your eyes and your tummy. Many years ago, carrots were originally purple, red, yellow, and white, but not orange. Over time, humans grew carrots on farms and mixed together different colored carrots to get orange ones.

INGREDIENTS (Makes 12 servings)

  • 8-10 carrots, chopped into 1 inch chunks
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp grated lemon rind
  • ½ cup celery, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp of minced garlic
  • 2 cups of sour cream
  • Whole wheat bread rolls, sliced
  • Low fat vegetable oil spread or butter
  • A few sprigs of fresh rosemary for garnish
  • 1-2 cups hot water
  • 1 jar of vegemite (If you can find it! Vegemite is a popular dark brown spread that Australians usually eat on bread or crackers. You can find it in some specialty food stores that sells international foods. If you don’t have vegemite, this will still be a delicious classic carrot soup. As they say in Australia, “No worries mate!”)


Little Chef Duties:

  • Wash carrots and celery
  • Grate ginger and lemon rind
  • While the veggies are cooking, spread butter on each piece of bread and arrange them on a plate (If you can get vegemite to make it even more Australian, spread a tiny bit on the buttered bread).
  • Once soup is in bowls, add a spoonful of sour cream to each one.

Big Chef Duties:

  • Chop up the onion, celery, and carrots
  • Sauté onion, garlic, celery, ginger, carrots, and lemon until onions are transparent
  • Pour in broth, 1 tbsp vegemite, salt & pepper, and simmer until carrots are soft (about 20 minutes).
  • Pour into food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Add hot water until soup is desired consistency.
  • Use a ladel to pour soup into bowls


  • Add a sprig of rosemary on top of the sour cream as a garnish.

Learn while you wait: (Introduce a Math, history or science related fact to your kids while the food is ready!)

Name 5 more foods that grow under the ground like carrots do!

Possible answers: Potatoes, Beets, Onions, Yams, Ginger

As they say in Australia, cheers mate!


Possible substitutions:

  • Yogurt instead of sour cream
  • Crackers instead of bread

Finally we want to thank our incredible contributor Holly, she made this recipe to share with all our Chef Koochooloo readers and she did an amazing job sharing fun, interesting and important facts about Australia, the country and the culture.

Thank you Holly for the delicious recipe! We would’ve love to have more recipes from you soon!