Thyme for Kids - a family, food, and franchising blog
Thyme for Kids - a family, food, and franchising blog
Into food, family, or franchising? You're in the right place. The recipe for blogging here at YCA is to keep it simple, entertaining, educational, and to the point. We take one simple concept and give you our unique perspective.
From our franchisees, our students, or our corporate staff - if you hear it here, you know it's all us, all original and all fresh. We might tell you the story of a bright young chef who taught his instructor a few things, then next maybe the latest culinary trend (beef tongue sliders?). There is nothing ordinary about any of our franchises, and we delight in sharing the extraordinary "scoop"! Enjoy, comment, and please share.
12:12 AM

To Grill or Not To Grill?....We're Grilling!

We just couldn't help it....we had to share another delicious recipe for this star-spangled holiday.

The Fourth of July is a great time for celebrating our independence with family, friends and guessed it...great food!  It's time to fire up the grill for a good 'ol American burger with a twist ~ Bacon Burgers with Grilled Peaches. 


Happy Fourth of July!

Grilling for the 4th_copy

Bacon Burger with Grilled Peaches

A Young Chefs® Academy Recipe


1 ½ lb. ground beef 80/20*
1-2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Tabasco
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 slices of thick cut bacon, cooked
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

4 oz. goat cheese
2 peaches or nectarines, sliced

3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tsp sugar
½ tsp Dijon mustard
1 dash salt
8 oz. spinach, washed and dried
6 buns
Avocado, sliced (optional)


Mixing bowls
Measuring cups/spoons
Clean hands
Large skillet
Grill or grill pan
Plate lined with paper towels
Cutting board


1.   In a large mixing bowl, add the ground beef, Worcestershire and Tabasco. Mix together using your clean hands. Then divide the meat into 6 equal portions. Shape into patties, place on a plate, cover, and refrigerate. Wait to season with salt and pepper until right before cooking.

2.   In a large skillet, add the bacon and set the pan over medium heat. Cook the bacon until crisp. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining bacon. Set the bacon aside to cool. Transfer the bacon fat to a heat proof bowl and reserve.

3.   Add the onions to the skillet and set over medium-low heat and sauté until the onions are caramelized, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Set aside.

4.  Preheat the grill or grill pan. Allow the grill to get hot and then brush the grates with oil.

5.   Remove the burgers from the refrigerator and season lightly with salt and pepper. Place the patties on the grill and cook for 2-3 minutes, then rotate the burger and cook another 2-3 minutes. Flip the burger and repeat. Remove the burger and keep warm in a low oven until they have all been cooked.

6.   Place the peaches on the grill; cook for 4-5 minutes per side until they begin to soften and caramelize. Remove and set aside.

7.   In a small mixing bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat, vinegar, sugar, Dijon and salt. Pour this over the spinach and toss to coat all of the leaves.

8.  Toast the buns, if desired. To assemble the burger, spread the goat cheese on the bottom bun, top with a burger and a piece of bacon broken into 2 pieces. Add the spinach and top with grilled onions, avocado, and peaches. Spread mayonnaise on the top half of each bun and close the sandwich. Slice in half and serve immediately.

 Yield: about 6 burgers

Why use 80/20 meat for grilling?

When buying ground beef, did you know you have choices? What are those choices? Basically it is the ratio of the amount of fat to the amount of beef in the ground meat.

Of course, the different kinds of meat have different purposes. There is:

o   Ground Beef - 73% Lean, 27% Fat

o   Ground Chuck - 80% Lean, 20% Fat

o   Ground Sirloin - 85% Lean, 15% Fat

o   Ground Round - 90% Lean, 10 % Fat

-  What you are cooking will determine which type of beef you need to use. We prefer ground chuck for hamburgers because it is fattier, and this helps hold the burgers together.  Ground round can fall apart on the grill because it's low in fat content and won’t hold together.

-  You can also use a combination of ground chuck and ground round, which holds together well but also reduces some of the fat content per burger.

-   The fattier meat will also help to make your burgers juicier.

-  Use ground round or ground sirloin when browning meat for casseroles or tacos because you won’t lose so much weight due to the fat being drained off.

3:04 PM

Summertime Tacos just in time for the 4th!

Don't you just love all of the fresh, cool ingredients of summer dishes? 

Our Young Chefs students went to work this past month making a variety of dishes from the International Kitchen to Cupcake Insanity, but one of the favorites was a delicious mix of refreshing & delectable ingredients that just screams "SUMMER!" during our Summertime Favorites Camp ~ Fish Tacos with delicious Watermelon & Pineapple Salsa. 

This recipe packs a cool, sweet crunch with each bite.... Fish tacos are a savory dish "must" in the summer because fish are readily available.

Be sure to check out some of the YCA tips from the Test Kitchens at the end of the recipe!


Fish Tacos with Watermelon and Pineapple Salsa

A Young Chefs® Academy Recipe


2 cups watermelon, small dice
2 cups pineapple, small dice
½ cup red onion, small dice
3 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
½ - 1 jalapeno pepper, ribs, seeds removed and small dice
¼ cup lime juice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Tabasco sauce, to taste

Salt and pepper, to taste
1 romaine lettuce heart, thinly sliced

1 lb. flounder or any firm white-fleshed fish
½ cup milk

½ cup flour, preferably Wondra or other fine-milled flour
1 ½ tsp chili powder
1 ½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp black pepper, freshly ground

¼ cup vegetable oil, plus more for greasing pan
Pat of butter

12 (6-inch) fresh corn tortillas
Queso fresco or Monterrey jack cheese, to garnish
1 avocado, sliced
1 lime, sliced


Large mixing bowls
Cutting board
Shallow bowls
Sheet pan lined with a wire rack
Large skillet
Cast iron skillet
Warm, clean kitchen towel
Plate lined with paper towels


1.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the watermelon, pineapple, red onion, cilantro, jalapeno, lime and olive oil. Toss to blend all of the flavors. Cover and refrigerate.

2. Slice the lettuce into thin strips. Cover and refrigerate.

3.  Cut the fish into strips, about ½-inch wide and about 3 inches long. Cut the fish across the grain. Pour the milk into another medium bowl, and place the fish into it.

4.  In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, chili powder, salt and pepper.

5.  Remove the fish pieces from the milk bath and dredge them lightly through the flour mixture, shaking to remove excess. Place the coated fish on a sheet pan lined with a wire rack. Transfer the fish to the freezer for 15-30 minutes.

6.   Pour the vegetable oil into a 12-inch skillet and place over medium-high heat until it shimmers and is about to smoke. Add the butter to the pan. Place some fish pieces in the oil, without crowding them, and cook until deep golden brown on one side, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn carefully and cook for 1 minute more.

7.  Remove to a warmed plate lined with paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Repeat with the remaining fish. Keep warm.

8.   Meanwhile, lightly grease a skillet with a drizzle of oil and set over medium heat. Heat the tortillas, one or two at a time, until they are soft and hot. Keep them warm, wrapped in a clean dish towel.

9.   When ready to serve the fish tacos, remove the watermelon salsa and lettuce from the refrigerator. Drain any excess juice from the watermelon salsa and toss the juice with the lettuce.

10. Taste the salsa and adjust the seasonings. Toss the lettuce with the fruit juices to coat.

11. To assemble the taco, take a warm tortilla, line with lettuce, top with 1-2 pieces of fish, sprinkle the salsa on top along with some queso fresco, sliced avocado and a squeeze of lime juice. Serve while still hot.

Yield: about 12 tacos

TIPs from the Test Kitchen:

Why freeze the fish before frying?

-  Once you have breaded the fish, shouldn’t it be ready to fry? It can be fried then, but it’s best to wait a few minutes.   The resting gives the coating time to really adhere to the fish, which means it won’t come off or stick to the pan while cooking. It just provides a little extra insurance that your fish will turn out crispy, golden brown, and delicious. Isn’t that what we want?

-  You can apply this technique to anything that is breaded and fried. Let it rest, either on the counter or in the freezer for up to 30 minutes. Watch what happens while it is resting. The flour becomes less visible and becomes absorbed by the liquid, which results in a super crispy crust, which is so worth the wait.

How do you keep your fish warm but not soggy?

-   pan fried fish will keep in the oven on a low temp (200°F-250°F)

-   do not cover it – if you put foil over it the crisp coating on the outside can turn soggy

-   it will be fine for a little while – while you are warming the tortillas

Tortilla Tips:

-   Make sure you warm the tortillas on a grill or griddle

-   Corn tortillas are much different than flour and need to be warmed on the stove top before eating

-   They will fall apart and make a mess if warmed in the microwave

-   They are made with corn and no flour so they don’t have the elasticity of the gluten from the flour

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