Kid-friendly Secret Chef Salad Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Secret Chef Salad

Recipe: Secret Chef Salad

Secret Chef Salad

by Erin Fletter
Photo by Charlotte Lake/Shutterstock.com
prep time
15 minutes
cook time
makes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Secret Chef Salad

Picture a bed of romaine lettuce, dotted with vibrant cherry tomatoes, creamy mozzarella cheese, and crunchy fruit slices. The colors are striking – a feast for the eyes! Now, imagine drizzling the whole thing with a tangy vinaigrette that awakens every flavor. Tah-dah! This is more than a salad, it's a masterpiece!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • chop :

    to cut something into small, rough pieces using a blade.

  • seal :

    to close tightly, keeping filling inside.

  • shake :

    to rapidly and vigorously move a covered container filled with food up and down and side to side to combine ingredients and create a different consistency, such as shaking whipped cream to make butter.

  • tear :

    to pull or rip apart a food, like basil leaves, into pieces instead of cutting with a knife; cutting breaks cell walls more, so herbs can discolor faster.

Equipment Checklist

  • Large salad bowl
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
  • Tongs or 2 large spoons to toss salad
scale
1X
2X
3X
4X
5X
6X
7X

Ingredients

Secret Chef Salad

  • Freckle Juice (vinaigrette):
  • 1/4 C red wine vinegar, balsamic, or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 1/2 C olive oil
  • Chef Salad:
  • 1/2 lb cherry tomatoes
  • 2 heads romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 C shredded carrots
  • 4 to 5 slices mozzarella, muenster, or white cheddar cheese
  • 1 apple or ripe pear

Food Allergen Substitutions

Secret Chef Salad

  • Dairy: Substitute dairy-free/nut-free mozzarella or other cheese slices, like Daiya brand.

Instructions

Secret Chef Salad

1.
vinaigrette

First, make the Freckle Juice vinaigrette. (If you're also making the Spotted Bruschetta Buffet (see recipe) as part of a meal plan, you can make the vinaigrette for both recipes at the same time.)

2.
measure + whisk + taste

To a jar or container with a tight lid, measure and add 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 pinch of black pepper. Seal the lid and shake to combine the ingredients, then add 1/2 cup olive oil and shake again. Add more salt, vinegar, or garlic powder to taste.

3.
chop + tear + slice

Next, assemble your salad! Chop or tear 2 heads of romaine lettuce into bite-sized pieces and add to a large bowl. Tear up 4 to 5 slices of mozzarella or other cheese. Slice or chop 1 apple or pear. Slice 1/2 pound of cherry tomatoes in half (or leave whole).

4.
combine + toss

Combine 1/2 cup shredded carrots, the cheese, fruit, and cherry tomatoes to the lettuce in the bowl. Toss the salad with the Freckle Juice vinaigrette or serve it on the side!

Surprise Ingredient: Tomato!

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Photo by Zaitsava Olga/Shutterstock.com

Hi! I’m Tomato!

"I'm a beautiful, juicy red Tomato. Do you pronounce my name: "tuh-may-tow" or "tuh-mah-tow?" Either way you slice it (or say it), we tomatoes are wonderfully adaptable. You'll find us fresh or cooked on sandwiches, in salads, tacos, soups, stews, sauces, and much more." 

History & Etymology

  • The tomatoes we have now descended from the pea-size fruit of wild plants that grew in western South America. Mesoamericans were the first to domesticate the tomato plant sometime before 500 BCE. 
  • Hernán Cortés, a Spanish conquistador, may have brought tomatoes back to Europe in the 16th century after conquering the Aztec city, Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City). 
  • Tomatoes cultivated in North American colonies in the early 1700s may have been introduced from the Caribbean. Thomas Jefferson also brought tomato seeds back from France. Before tomatoes were used in cooking, the plants were used ornamentally due to some people's beliefs that they were poisonous. One reason for this error was that tomatoes come from the nightshade family, including the belladonna plant (or deadly nightshade), which has highly toxic leaves and berries. Another reason may be that the pewter plates they used back then adversely reacted to the acid in tomato juice. 
  • China is by far the largest producer of tomatoes in the world. In the United States, California and Florida produce the most tomatoes.
  • The American and British pronunciations of "tomato" were made famous by an Ira and George Gershwin song from 1937 called "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off." Americans pronounce the word "tuh-may-tow," and the British say "tuh-mah-tow."
  • The word "tomato" comes from the Spanish, French, or Portuguese "tomate," from the Nahuatl "tomatl."

Anatomy 

  • The tomato is a berry from the tomato plant (Solanum Lycopersicum), a perennial vine. It is part of the Solanaceae family, like the potato, pepper, eggplant, and petunia. Since it is a berry, it is a fruit, although mainly used as a vegetable. 
  • A tomato's color is usually red but can also be yellow, orange, green, or purple. Tomatoes can be spherical, oval, or pear-shaped. Their flesh is pulpy with cavities, called locules, that hold the seeds. 
  • There are more than 10,000 tomato varieties. Some are hybrids, and some are heirlooms. An heirloom tomato is a variety that has been grown for generations on a family farm rather than commercially. Unfortunately, in the past 40 years, many heirloom varieties have been lost, along with the smaller family farms that grew them. However, hundreds of heirloom tomato varieties are still available. 

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat

  • If you are growing your own tomatoes, pick them from the vine while still firm, with a slight give, and before their ripe color (usually red) deepens too much. While holding the fruit, twist it off the stem until it snaps off. The leaf on top of the tomato (the calyx) and part of the stem will come with it. You can also snip it off using garden scissors.
  • When you choose tomatoes at the store, pick fruit that has smooth, brightly colored skin with no cracks or bruises, is firm but gives with slight pressure, is heavy for its size, and has a pleasant, aromatic smell. Avoid tomatoes with pale or dark spots.  
  • Store tomatoes at room temperature, as their flavor will decrease in a refrigerator's cold temperature. Wait to wash them until you are ready to use them.
  • If you plan to make a tomato sauce or soup using fresh, raw tomatoes, you will want to peel them first. This can be difficult without some preparation: First, put a pot of water on the stove to boil and fill a large bowl with cold or icy water. Next, after washing the tomatoes, use your knife to cut a shallow 'X' through the skin at the top or bottom of each one. Then use a slotted spoon to place the tomatoes into the boiling water until the skin begins to loosen and peel back at the incision, about 30 to 60 seconds. Finally, immediately dunk them into the ice water. The skin should peel easily now. You can also remove the seeds by cutting the peeled tomatoes in half and scooping the seeds out with a spoon.  
  • Tomatoes are versatile vegetables for cooking. Ripe tomatoes can be prepared fresh, stuffed, baked, boiled, or stewed, and they are the base for many sauces. You can also pickle green, unripe tomatoes, add them to salsa or bread and fry them.

Nutrition

  • Tomatoes are a moderate source of vitamin C, and cooked tomatoes are high in lycopene, an antioxidant, which may help protect your body's cells from damage, strengthen your immune system, and prevent some diseases.

 

Let's learn about England!

Photo by Tomsickova Tatyana/Shutterstock.com
  • England is ruled by a Monarch, a Prime Minister, and a Parliament. Windsor Castle is the oldest royal castle in the world that is still being used by the royal family.
  • England is on the island of Great Britain, along with Wales and Scotland. It is also part of the United Kingdom, which consists of those three countries and Northern Ireland. 
  • Did you know that there's no place in the UK that is more than 70 miles from the sea?! 
  • Stonehenge is a construction of immense stones that the early inhabitants of what's now Wiltshire, England, began building around 3100 BCE. The final sections were completed around 1600 BCE. Scientists are still not sure how or why they built it. One theory for its purpose is an astronomical observatory. It is very popular with tourists.
  • Other popular tourist spots in England include the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and Parliament (Palace of Westminster), the Roman Baths and the city of Bath, and the Lake District.  
  • London, the capital city, wasn't always called that. In the past, its name was Londonium.
  • England took part in the briefest war in history. They fought Zanzibar in 1896, and Zanzibar surrendered after just 38 minutes!
  • There have been several influential English authors, but perhaps the most well-known is William Shakespeare, who wrote classics such as Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and Hamlet.
  • English computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee is credited with inventing the World Wide Web.
  • The British really like their sandwiches—they eat almost 11.5 billion a year!

What's It Like to Be a Kid in England?

  • Most schools in England require students to wear a school uniform. 
  • Sports kids play include football (soccer), cricket, rugby, tennis, netball (similar to basketball), and rounders (similar to baseball). They also play video games, watch the telly, and ride bikes or skateboards.
  • Boxing Day is a unique holiday kids celebrate in England the day after Christmas, December 26. The official public holiday is the first weekday after Christmas if Boxing Day falls on a weekend. When the English created the holiday, it was the day to share the contents of alms boxes with the poor. Today, it is mostly a day off from school and work, although some small gifts may be given out to family and employees, or collected to give to the poor.
  • English kids may have different names for everyday items also found in the United States. For example, a kid will call his mom "mum." Their backyard is a "garden." A big truck is called a "lorry," and the trunk of a car is a "boot." Biscuits in the US are closest to the British "scones," and cookies in England are "biscuits." A TV is usually called a "telly." Bags of chips are referred to as bags of "crisps." French fries, like those from a fast-food hamburger place, might be called "fries," but if they are thicker, like the ones typically served with batter-fried fish, they're called "chips" (fish and chips). Finally, kids call the fish sticks they might have for lunch "fish fingers.

Lettuce Joke Around

What did the policeman say to the suspect? 

You have the right to romaine silent.

THYME for a Laugh

Why should you never float a boat in a salad?  

Because it might hit an iceberg!

Lettuce Joke Around

Why did the tomato blush? 

Because he saw the salad dressing!

That's Berry Funny

We don't have any vegetable jokes yet, so if you do, …

… lettuce know!

That's Berry Funny

What did the DJ say at the salad party? 

Lettuce turnip the beet!

The Yolk's On You

How do you fix a broken tomato? 

Tomato paste!

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