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Kids Club Vol. 50: Cheese



Welcome to the latest issue of our ChopChop Kids Club newsletter!

It’s a new year! We continue to love cheese, whether it’s for eating, melting, or cooking with, because it’s one of our very favorite ingredients, and even a little bit adds a ton of flavor. We like it on a burger or pizza, with crackers, and melted over a tortilla or a piece of toast. We like it with our eggs and on our spaghetti and in our soup. And we like all kinds! Plus, it’s filled with nutrients like protein and calcium, and it satisfies lots of cravings. What about you? Do you love cheese? What are your favorite kinds? Read on for our cheese-related recipes, activities, facts, and skills.

Happy New Year, from all of us at ChopChop!

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Broccoli Soup with Cheese

Broccoli Soup with Cheddar Cheese

Broccoli Soup with Cheddar Cheese

When we were looking for a new idea for broccoli soup, we came upon this recipe by chef and restaurant owner Gordon Ramsay. It was hard to believe that broccoli and water could make a great soup, so we had to test it. And now we are true believers! We added cheddar to ours, but feel free to swap in your own favorite cheese.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 Servings

kitchen gear

  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife (adult needed)
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Medium Pot
  • Slotted spoon
  • Pot holders
  • Blender (adult needed)
  • Cutting board


  • 4 cups water
  • 1 (16-ounce) bag frozen broccoli
  • 1⁄2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 lemon, quartered


  • Put the water in the pot and put the pot on the stove. Cover it, turn the heat to high, and bring the water to a boil (you’ll know it’s boiling when you see bubbles breaking all over its surface). 
  • Add the frozen broccoli. (The water should cover the broccoli by about 1 inch. If it doesn’t, add a little more water.) Put the lid mostly on, but leave a little opening for steam to get out, and cook until the water returns to a boil, about 3 minutes.
  • Remove the broccoli with the slotted spoon and put it in the blender. Put the top on tightly and blend until almost smooth. 
  • Carefully add 2 cups of the hot broccoli liquid. Add the cheese and salt and put the top on tightly. Remove the cap from the center of the lid and hold a towel over the hole to allow steam to escape while blending, then blend until silky smooth, adding more broccoli liquid if you like.
  • Serve right away, and garnish each bowl with a lemon quarter for squeezing into the soup.



If you’d rather use fresh broccoli, use your hands and a small, sharp knife to separate a head into florets. (Florets are the little “trees” all over the top of the broccoli.) Cut any large florets in half. Trim off the ends and tough peel from the thick stem, then cut it into small pieces. You’ll end up with about 5 cups of florets and chopped stem, and you’ll need to boil it in step 2 until it’s just tender, around 5 minutes.

Instant Snack: Quesadilla

quesadilla beauty

Cheese Quesadilla

Quesadillas are quick, easily adaptable and, above all, completely delicious. A quesadilla is like a Mexican grilled cheese sandwich, but instead of using slices of bread, it uses corn or flour tortillas with melted cheese in the middle. This recipe is for a basic cheese quesadilla, but try some of our filling suggestions for even more flavor!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2 Servings

kitchen gear

  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife (adult needed)
  • Large plate
  • Measuring cup
  • Skillet
  • Spatula


  • 2 8-inch whole-wheat tortillas
  • 1⁄2 cup grated Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese


  • Put 1 tortilla on the plate and sprinkle 1/4 cup grated cheese on one side of the tortilla. Try not to get the cheese too close to the edge.
  • Put the skillet on the stove and turn the heat to medium.
  • Put the tortilla on the hot skillet cheese side up and cook until the bottom is lightly browned and the cheese is gooey, about 2 minutes. Using the spatula, fold one half of the tortilla over the other half, to make a moon shape. Cook another 30 seconds. Return to the plate.
  • Repeat with the remaining tortilla and cheese.
  • Cut both tortillas into wedges.


Want to pack more protein and vegetables into your quesadillas? Here are some fillings to make them even more delicious:
  • 1/4 cup cooked or canned black beans
  • 1/4 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1/4 cup fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup cooked or canned kidney beans
  • 1 scrambled egg (for a breakfast quesadilla)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato salsa 

The earliest evidence of cheesemaking has been found in Croatia, Poland, and Switzerland, where clay sieves have been dug up that contain remnants of curdled milk. How long ago do you think it was?

  1. 200 years ago
  2. 7,000 years ago
  3. 300,000 years ago

Answer: 2. Though humans have probably been eating it for longer than that!

Try This Now: Homemade Ricotta

ricotta beauty

Homemade Ricotta

Remember Little Miss Muffet? When you make ricotta cheese, you use acid (lemon juice or vinegar) to curdle the milk, which means you get the protein in it to clump together into a mixture of curds and the watery leftover whey. It might take a little experimenting to get the hang of this recipe, but it’s always edible, even if it doesn’t come out perfect. Try the ricotta spooned onto fresh bread with a drizzle of olive oil or honey, eat it with fresh strawberries, or use it to make our Ricotta Pancakes or our Skillet Lasagna.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 2 Cups

kitchen gear

  • Cheesecloth or a clean dish towel
  • Colander or strainer
  • Large bowl
  • Measuring spoons
  • Large heavy pot
  • Slotted spoon
  • Pot holder


  • 2 quarts (½ gallon) whole milk
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or white vinegar or a combination (try 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 2 tablespoons vinegar)


  • Spread out the cheesecloth or dish towel in the colander or strainer, and put the colander over the bowl.
  • Pour the milk into the pot and add the salt. Put the pot on the stove and turn the heat to medium.
  • Bring the milk to a full, rolling boil, stirring it occasionally to make sure the milk isn’t burning on the bottom of the pot, 15 to 30 minutes, depending upon your stove.
  • Add the lemon juice and/or vinegar, then turn the heat down to low and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture curdles, 1 to 2 minutes. The mixture will separate into curds (the thick, cottage cheese-like part) and whey (the liquidy part).
  • Turn the heat off and let the mixture sit at least 20 minutes and up to 2 hours.
  • Using the slotted spoon, carefully remove the curds from the pot and put them in the colander. Pour the remaining liquid into the colander. Let the curds drain for 15 to 20 minutes (The longer you let the mixture drain, the thicker the ricotta will be). Set aside the whey that collects in the bowl (you can keep it [see below] or throw it away).
  • Eat or use the ricotta right away, or cover and refrigerate up to 2 days.


The liquid whey left over from making ricotta is really healthy. Cover and refrigerate it to use in breads, soups, and smoothies instead of milk or water. You can also use it instead of water when cooking pasta or rice. Or, if you’re really adventurous, try drinking it plain (you’ll make your great-grandma proud).

Kitchen Skill: How to Grate Cheese

  1. Hold the cheese in the hand you write with and the box grater in the other hand.
  2. Grip the block of cheese at the top, leaving plenty of room between your fingers and the grater. Hold the grater steady with your other hand.
  3. Gently pull the cheese down along the holes of the grater, from top to bottom, then lift the block of cheese off the grater and repeat until a pile of cheese accumulates inside the grater.

Be careful! The grater is sharp, and as the block of cheese gets smaller, it will be harder to safely grate it.

Taste Test: Cheese

If you have cheese at home, taste it and write down a few words to describe it. If you have more kinds of cheese at home, taste all of them and pick your favorites. Here are some of our cheesy words, to get you started:

  • American: buttery and gooey
  • Cheddar: tangy and classic
  • Monterey Jack: smooth and mild
  • Mozzarella: creamy and stretchy
  • Blue: strong and funky
  • Swiss: nutty and mild
  • Feta: briny and sharp
  • Parmesan: salty and dense
  • Ricotta: milky and soft

Craving More Cheese? Try These Recipes

Blue Cheese Dressing
Cheesy Green Omelet
Skillet Lasagna
Twice-Baked Potatoes
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