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.
8:46 AM

Oktoberfest Strudel in die Küche!


Now that Autumn is officially here and Oktoberfest is in full swing across the country, we got the hankerin' for some rich and robust German food.  Since we couldn't travel to Munich for the real thing, we thought "Why not bring a little of the Bavarian festivities to us?"  Right?

Traditionally, the largest meal in Germany is shared during Mittagessen (lunch).  However, dining preferences have changed over the years where more families may choose to wait until Abendbrot (dinner/evening meal) for their heartier meal.  What ever you choose, the recipes were going to be making will disappear fast so watch out!

We decided to pull out one of our "oldies-but-goodies" recipes…the savory, flaky Oktoberfest Strudel paired with a crisp and tangy German Cucumber Salad.  Our mouth is watering just thinking of it.

Humm...come to think of it, wonder if we should have thought to make a sweet version too, you know, for test purposes only, of course.  ; )  Enough with the regrets, let's get cooking!


After removing the sausage from the casing, be sure to break up the meat so that it's easy to spread out when you're adding the filling to your strudel.

  IMG_7842_crop    IMG_7846_crop

TIP:  Be sure to add butter all the way to the edges of the sheet.  If your ends appear dried out and difficult to tuck in, dip your fingers in a little bit of water to moisten the ends.  Then tuck away!

All that's left is to put on those Lederhosen's and Dirndl's, grab some friends and host your own Oktoberfest celebration!

Guten Appetite!


Oktoberfest Strudel with Mustard Sauce


For the Strudel:
  • 1 lb. bratwurst
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2/3 cup onion, minced
  • 1 medium Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 cup sauerkraut, drained
  • 1 tsp. caraway seed
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 16 phyllo sheets, thawed
  • 1/4 cup prepared mustard

For the Mustard Sauce:

  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 2 Tbsp. prepared mustard
  • 1 tsp. paprika


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Remove the bratwurst meat from the outer casing and place into a pan.  Brown the meat, breaking it up into small bits.  Drain fat and set aside.
  3. Melt 1-1/2 Tbsp. butter over medium heat.  Add onion and saute for for 3 minutes.
  4. Add apple and saute for another 3 minutes.  Remove from heat, stir in sauerkraut and caraway seeds; mix well.
  5. Melt remaining butter.  On a large baking sheet, lay out one sheet of phyllo and brush with melted butter.  Repeat to make 8 layers, spreading 2 Tbsp. mustard over last layer of phyllo
  6. Spread half of the sauerkraut filling over the dough leaving a 1-inch border around the edges.  Top sauerkraut with half of the bratwurst, roll up like a jellyroll, starting with the short sides.  Place seam-side down on pan; brush tops with butter and tuck in ends.
  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 to make another strudel.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. While strudel is baking, prepare mustard sauce.  In a saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat.  Stir in flour to form a smooth paste, or roux.
  9. Slowly stir in cream and continue stirring to keep lumps from forming.  Whisk in mustard and heat through.  Slice warm strudel and serve in a pool of mustard sauce.  Sprinkle with paprika.

Yield:  Makes 2 strudels with 6 slices each or (3 large slices each)

German Cucumber Salad

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 small cucumbers, sliced
  • 1 large greenhouse tomato, sliced and chopped
  • 4 slices of red onion, thinly sliced and cut in half
  • 2-4 tsp. lemon juice
  • 3/4 tsp. fresh dill, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • Salt & pepper to taste

  1. In a bowl, combine the sour cream, 2 tsp. lemon juice, dill, salt and pepper.  Taste and add more lemon juice, salt and pepper based on your preference.
  2. Add cucumber, tomato and onion into the bowl and stir until the vegetables are well coated.

Yield:  approximately 4 side servings

8:02 AM

"Pas-ta" Salad This Way! (Excuse the pasta pun....)


Hair pulled back....check!
Hands washed...check!
Mise en place....check!

It's time to get started.  The test kitchen at our corporate headquarters is one of our favorite places to be.  We get the opportunity to test recipes that are created by our talented chefs with a roomful of our best critics, our young chefs.

And since it's still considered the season for outdoor activities, such as picnics and pool parties (yes, you can still do those things even with school is back in session!), we pulled a recipe from the past that was already "to-die-for" and made it extraordinary.  The simplicity of this recipe also lends itself beautifully to a home-cooked dinner during our hectic, back-to-school schedules.  Simply add a piece of grilled French bread, and you have a tasty & nourishing meal!

Now, you might say..."It's just pasta salad...what's so great about that?"

And we would say, "Just wait....just'll get it when you taste it and realize how quick your family can pull this delicious concoction together!"  If you split up the tasks among family members, you could have this together in no time flat!

We also LOVE a striking plate so we added a spectrum of color to this dish:  garden pasta, a variety of grape tomatoes, two different sweet bell peppers and olives.  The capers add even more contrast as well as a hint of salty flavor that compliments the sweetness of the tomatoes and peppers.  Hindsight being 20/20, we probably should have added a few leeks to this recipe to give it even more of a kick but that will have to wait for next time....until then...  : )

We'd love to see your pasta pics!  Share yours on our Instagram @youngchefsacademy !!


Incredible Mediterranean Pasta Salad
Rating:  Two thumbs up from our test kitchen "young chefs!"


  • 1 (16 oz) package fusilli or rotini pasta
  • 1/2 pound provolone cheese, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1/4 pound sliced pepperoni, cut into halves
  • 1/2 pound salami, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 2 large bell peppers (red, yellow and/or orange), cubed
  • 3 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 (4 oz) jar pimentos, drained and chopped
  • 1 (10 oz) can black olives, drained
  • 1 (4.5 oz) non-pareil capers
  • 9-10 oz of Champagne dressing *

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. 
  2. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente or just slightly underdone.
  3. In a large bowl, combine pasta with tomatoes, cheese salami, pepperoni, bell peppers, olives, pimentos and capers.  Pour in salad dressing and toss to coat.
  4. Serve right away or refrigerate and toss before serving.
Yield:  approximately 10 servings

* We tested this recipe using Girard's Champagne Dressing vs. the traditional Italian or vinaigrette. 

Tips for making pasta salad:

  • It's important to cook your pasta until al dente (cooked, but firm to the bite...not mushy).  The trick is to ensure your pasta is not cooked too long it will absorb some of the dressing and could lead to mushy pasta.
  • This recipe makes quite a bit!  Half the recipe for a smaller batch that will easily feed a family of four!
  • If testing your own pasta creation, be sure to use pastas that will easily trap the dressing for maximum flavor in each bite.  Think "short and small" when choosing your noodles.
  • Add even more veggies to your pasta salad, such as asparagus, broccoli, and carrots.  Saute, roast or blanch your veggies you don't want raw and then toss into ice cold water to stop the cooking process and allow them to remain crisp. 
  • Don't cut your pieces too small as it's hard to get a little of everything in each'll  end up chasing what you want around on your plate!

7:33 AM

Happy "NationalCherryPopoverDay !!


We love food holidays and today is National Cherry Popover Day!  Popovers are a light and airy roll that can be very versatile as a dinner roll or a luscious delight. 

Our young chefs chose a sweet version using a muffin tin pan (vs. a pop-over pan) to produce popovers that would provide a larger pocket and shorter base to fill with a sweet filling vs. a dinner roll.

Let's start making the batter! 

Just so you know, there's nothing wrong with your batter!  Popover batter has a thin consistency, similar to that of a crepe batter.  Some of the liquid evaporates during baking, creating steam that puffs the batter until it "pops" over the tins.  The proteins from the egg causes the batter to stretch and hold the steam. 

Once you get that mixed, it's time to let it rest while we work on the filling!

Popover closeup

We chose a cherry filling...well, it is National Cherry Turnover Day, right?   And here's where the fun comes in...

Pitting cherries but you don't have a cherry pitter?  If you have a straw, that's all you need!  We used a slightly larger straw but a smaller straw will result in less of the flesh of the cherry being wasted in the process.  Young chefs use this technique to reduce the amount of time they need to spend on that activity and get to the end result...heavenly tasty popovers!

CherryPopover5      CherryPopover4

After your batter has rested and your cherries are coated in sugar, it's time to "pop" the popovers into the oven!  Be sure not to open up the oven during the initial bake time!  Opening the oven can cause great fluctuations of the oven temperature causing your popover to fall or deflate.  We want fluffy, airy rolls! 

CherryPopover3  CherryPopover2

That's all there is to it!  Deeelicious.....

The recipe below is an easy and delicious way to make beautiful, delicious rolls or dessert in a short amount of time. 


Popovers with Fresh Cherries and glaze


2 eggs at room temperature
1 cup milk at room temperature
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 Tbsp. canola oil
2 cups fresh, ripe cherries
2 Tbsp. (or to taste) sugar to coat the halved cherries


  1. Crack eggs into a mixing bowl.  Add milk and whisk.  Slowly add flour and salt and continue whisking until mixed together.  Add melted butter and mix again until smooth.  You're batter will have a thin, fairly smooth consistency.  Cover with a clean towel and let rest for 30 minutes.
  2. While the oven preheats to 450°F, pour a quarter teaspoon of oil into the 6 muffin tins and use a pastry brush to spread the oil up the sides of each cup.  Set the oiled tin on a baking sheet and place into the warming oven. 
  3. While the batter is resting, pit and halve the cherries.  Place into a bowl and sprinkle with sugar, coating all sides.  Gently mash the cherries and stir occasionally.  
  4. When the batter is done resting, remove the hot muffin tin pan from the oven and quickly pour in the batter.  Fill the cups about 3/4 of the way full.  Place the pan back in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.  At this time, lower the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.  TIP:  Don't open the door until you're getting close to the baking time as it could result in fallen popovers!
  5. Tear open or fill each popover by spooning the cherries inside.  Dust with a little powdered sugar and serve immediately.

Popover TIPS:
  • Popover batter has a thinner, crepe-like or heavy whipping cream consistency.  Some of the liquid evaporated during baking, creating steam that puffs the batter until it "pops" over the tins.  The proteins from the egg causes the batter to stretch and hold the steam. 
  • Warming the popover pan or muffin tins in the oven during the preheating stage provides the best results.
  • Running low on time?  Warm milk in the microwave to roughly 125 degrees before mixing with the eggs and flour.  The warmer batter helps get the popovers cooking right away and makes for larger, taller popovers.
  • If you prefer, you can spray the popover pans vigorously with cooking spray right before pouring the batter into the cups.
  • Mix batter only until lumps are gone!  Do not overmix!
  • Start with a higher oven temperature (450°F) and turn down after fifteen minutes.
  • NEVER open the oven during the baking process as your popovers can deflate!
  • Serve immediately.

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