The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) started Family Day – A Day to Eat with Your Children 10 years ago. This year, Family Day will be celebrated on Monday, Sept. 26, 2011.

Since there are so many benefits to eating together as a family, the annual event is a reminder that frequent family dinners do make a difference. Family Day is a day to set aside to make sure that the family comes together at the table for a meal, and more importantly for conversation.


CASA’s website has a Family Dinner Kit with downloads that will help you keep the conversation flowing. For even more ideas to keep the discussion going and linger at the table to enjoy each other, try one of 150 family dinner discussion topics.


Of course, you’re going to need a meal that everyone will enjoy. Gooseberry Patch sent me this Texas Straw Hats recipe to share. It’s a Tex-Mex style recipe that will get everyone helping out in the kitchen crushing tortilla chips, shredding cheese and chopping vegetables. Kids who help cook tend to enjoy the meal more.




  • 1 pound ground beef (organic or locally raised, grass fed ground beef preferred)
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning mix (try this taco seasoning recipe instead of a store bought mix)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 15-ounce bag corn chips
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded lettuce
  • 1/2 cup tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives
  • Garnish: salsa and sour cream


  1. Crumble ground beef in a skillet. Add onion and stir well using a wooden spoon. Cook beef mixture over medium heat until no pink remains and onion is tender. Drain.
  2. Return beef mixture to skillet and add seasoning and water. Stir well and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Cover the bottom of 4 plates with corn chips. This is the bottom of the "hat."
  4. Scoop out seasoned beef and onion mixture with a small ice cream scoop and plate one on each plate. This makes the top of the "hat."
  5. Divide cheese, lettuce, tomato and olives equally between all 4 servings (Or place these items in bowls and let family members decide at the table what they want to top their hat with.)
  6. Serve with salsa and sour cream on the side.

The Texas Straw Hats recipe is courtesy of Gooseberry Patch's “Kids in the Kitchen” cookbook, a family-friendly favorite written and designed exclusively with kids in mind.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Family Day: A day to eat with your children
Set aside Sept. 26 to eat as a family. We've got a recipe for Texas Straw Hats that kids can help prepare and will love to eat.