Extension Celebrates Family Mealtime by Johanna Hicks

Extension Celebrates Family Mealtime

Join us September, 2015, as Texas A&M AgriLife Extension celebrates family mealtime by MAKING IT FUN!  Eating meals together promotes:

  • Quality time for child and adult interaction.  Family dinner provides time to share activities from the day or discuss upcoming events.
  • A food & health connection.  Eating together provides an opportunity to talk about and model good nutrition and health behaviors.
  • Passing down cultural and family identity.  Family dinners provide an opportunity for sharing family stories and creative memories.

Get children involved and make it fun.  Encourage children to participate in age appropriate tasks.  Let them help plan menu ideas and side dishes.  Take them grocery shopping and let them pick out a new fruit or vegetable to try with dinner.  Reinforce color recognition by instructing them to pick out something orange, red, green, yellow, etc. from the produce section.  Teach them about setting the table.  Guide them in basic food preparation (as they are developmentally ready for and can safely do.)

Here are three things you can do now:

1)      Make it your mission to have meals as a family three or more times each week.

2)      Focus on family interactions during the meal by turning off the TV, video games, cell phones, or other distractions.

3)      Use this time to connect with your family.  Encourage conversations by having each family member talk about their day and share family stories.

4)      If you haven’t signed up for “Dinner Tonight”, it isn’t too late.  Receive weekly updates, recipes, and videos by signing up at http://dinnertonight.tamu.edu.

On another note, I recently corresponded with a volunteer who is associated with the Diner Bell, a free lunch program provided every Wednesday at First United Methodist Church in Sulphur Springs.  She stated that they have served over 20,000 meals since February, 2012, when they first started.  She shared one of their recipes with me, and I wanted to share it with you (with permission).

Beef Tortilla Casserole


1 ½ pounds lean ground beef

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can (14-ounces) mild enchilada sauce

1 can (4-ounces) chopped green chilies

1 bag (6-ounces) corn chips, or more

½ cup chopped onion

½ pound grated cheese (cheddar or Mozzarella)


1)      Brown ground beef.  Drain fat.  Stir in soups, sauce, and chilies until heated.

2)      Place in a 13 X 9 –inch casserole, alternating chips, sauce, onion and cheese.  Repeat layers.  Bake at 350° until bubbly.  Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Freezes well – simply reheat to an internal temperature of 165°.

Johanna’s note: to cut down on sodium and fat content, substitute low-sodium/ low-fat soups and cheese, and lightly salted chips.  You can also rinse the cooked meat under running water in a colander to remove excess fat.


Fabulous Fall Friday

If you enjoy cooking demonstrations, you don’t want to miss this multi-county event!  Fabulous Fall Friday is a joint effort between Hopkins, Rains, and Wood County Family & Consumer Sciences agents to provided tasty and nutritious recipes in a fun, casual atmosphere.  We’ll each provide cooking demonstrations using recipes from the 2015 “Dinner Tonight” Cookbook, featuring the Mediterranean method.  Guest speakers will demonstrate fall home decorating and fashion accessorizing.

Fabulous Fall Friday will take place on Friday, October 9, at Emory Baptist Church in Emory (just a few short miles south of Sulphur Springs).  Doors open at9:00 a.m. and the program will begin at 9:30, ending at noon.  The cost is $10, which covers cookbook, gift bag, refreshments, and a chance for some great door prizes!  Registration forms are available at the Extension Office, or call 903-885-3443, and I’ll e-mail the form.  Registration should be postmarked by September 25.


Closing Thought 

Events unfolding in today’s work are certainly unsettling, but we know Who holds the future!

Johanna Hicks Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Family & Consumer Sciences 1200-B W. Houston P.O.Box 518 Sulphur springs, TX 75483 903-885-3443 – phone 903-439-4909 – Fax jshicks@ag.tamu.edu

Johanna Hicks
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
Family & Consumer Sciences
1200-B W. Houston
P.O.Box 518
Sulphur springs, TX 75483
903-885-3443 – phone
903-439-4909 – Fax
[email protected]

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