Feeding a Family: A Real-Life Plan for Making Dinner Work

Feeding a Family: A Real-Life Plan for Making Dinner Work

by Sarah Waldman

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40 seasonal meals, 100 recipes, and loads of tips and strategies to make weeknight dinners work
Reclaim the family dinner! In Feeding a Family, nutritionist and mom Sarah Waldman lays out all the tools you need to break out of the mealtime rut and turn dinner into a nutritionally fulfilling and happy occasion—despite busy schedules, long work days, and picky eaters. Through forty complete meals, you’ll discover hearty dinners the whole family will love, including:

· A meal for using up the best summer garden produce: Make-ahead Zucchini, Beef, and Haloumi Cheese Skewers with Chimichurri Sauce paired with Tomato, Peach, and Red Onion Panzanella and Lemon-Blackberry Custard
· A cozy and comforting dinner for a frenzied fall day: Creamy Tomato and Spinach Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons and Pear Pie in Cornmeal Crust
· The perfect meal for the busiest night of the week: Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken with Sweet Peas and Lemon-Pecan Shortbread Cookies
· A warming (and fun) winter meal: One-pot Slurpee Noodle Bowls with simple Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Date Truffles for dessert
· Sunday suppers for when you have a bit more time to play in the kitchen, such as Homemade Pasta with Heirloom Tomato Sauce and Pavlova with Blueberries

With suggestions for including older kids in mealtime prep, tips for feeding baby, and ideas for extending ingredients for “tomorrow’s dinner,” Feeding a Family is a playbook that includes the whole family.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780834840676
Publisher: Shambhala
Publication date: 04/11/2017
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 978,976
File size: 17 MB
Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

About the Author

Sarah Waldman fell in love with food while playing “cooking show” with her little sister in the 1980s. Decades later, she followed that passion to the Institute of Integrative Nutrition to study the connections between food and personal wellness. Now Sarah spends her time being a mother, food writer, and recipe developer. As a health-focused home cook, she develops and offers recipes for simple, whole-food meals appropriate for every member of the family. Her work has been featured in Fine Cooking, Shape, Edible Vineyard, Food52, and The Coastal Table. Sarah lives on Martha’s Vineyard with her husband and two boys. On her blog (SarahWaldman.com) she shares healthy, seasonal recipes that celebrate a family-focused life.
Elizabeth Cecil is a professional photographer. Whether she is shooting food, lifestyle, or travel, her work is inspired by light, color, and her natural surroundings. Elizabeth aims to capture visual authenticity and poetry in everything she photographs. Her work has appeared in Bon Appetit, Saveur, Coastal Living, and the Wall Street Journal. She is a contributing photographer and the founding photo editor of Edible Vineyard. When she’s not making pictures, you can find her out catching waves with her husband or in the kitchen baking a pie. Elizabeth lives on the island of Martha’s Vineard except when she boards the ferry or hops on a plane to travel for work.

Read an Excerpt

Feeding a Family

A Real Life Plan for Making Dinner Work

By Sarah Waldman, Elizabeth Celil

Shambhala Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 2017 Sarah Waldman
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-61180-309-9



Winter dinners do so much. They warm us up physically, from the snow and wind, and mentally, from the idea of five months of snow and wind. Fierce winter storms often cause the ferries to and from Martha's Vineyard to stop running, and suddenly we find ourselves stranded on an island, or perhaps even stranded inside a small cottage, for days upon end. Desperate times call for desperate measures — another Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Date Truffle (page 000), anyone? Despite the challenges, winter may be my favorite cooking season. it is about hunkering down, making do with what you have, and eating filling meals before heading off early to bed. The dark afternoons and evenings are long, so it is the perfect time to focus on family participation in the kitchen, whether that involves looking through a cookbook to pick out a new soup or rolling sushi together for a Roasted Root Vegetable Sushi Bar (page 000). But perhaps most important, winter meals soothe sick bodies, tired and weak with runny noses. Working a variety of winter greens, hot broths, and vitamin C-packed citrus into your family's cold weather diet will help ward off some of the ickiness. Happily, my hardy winter dinners lend themselves to leftovers that taste even better the next day, packed into lunchboxes or transformed into second meals.

Pizza Night


Our oldest son has never eaten a piece of animal meat. This is going on five plus years, and I'm curious to see where it ends up. His brother, on the other hand, dove for a spicy pork taco and gobbled it down in a flash, just after his first birthday. Needless to say they have different tastes. Pizza is one of those simple family dinners that pleases us all. We often top half the pie with something most of the family likes and the other half with another thing most of the family likes — I call that even. Don't let this pizza dough intimidate you. it's something you can throw together the night before and leave until dinnertime the next evening. No kneading necessary. To balance out the hearty pizza, I often slice up a few citrus fruits for a refreshing and simple side. Anything from clementines to blood oranges or grapefruits will do — they all add welcomed winter freshness to our table.


makes one 12 by 18-inch pan pizza

Over the past nine years, Nick has been on a quest to master a variety of pizza techniques at home, from a classic Margherita to this "Grandma" pie. He has experimented with different flour varieties, forms of tomato (fresh, canned, sauce), cheeses, and cooking techniques. Happily, his hard work has led us to some darn good home-cooked pizza. if you're feeding a crowd (or love cold pizza as much as we do), simply make two bowls of dough and put the kids in charge of their own pie to have ready for lunch boxes the next day. in the cold months, this dense pan pizza is our favorite. Here, a simple overnight dough (just mix and leave it in the fridge before bed) is topped with creamy ricotta cheese, pork sausage, and kale. As an added bonus, the 500°F oven is a welcome guest in a cold, February kitchen, always taking the edge off the drafts coming up through the floorboards.

KIDS CAN: Little helpers can tear kale leaves from stems, stir the ricotta cheese mixture, and push the pizza dough into the pan.

1 package (2¼ teaspoons)
active dry yeast
1½ cups warm water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive
oil, divided
4 cups unbleached all-purpose

1 big bunch kale (about 13 kale
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive
oil, divided
¼ cup water
Kosher salt
1 pound pork sausage (hot
or sweet), removed from
1 cup whole milk ricotta
Zest of ½ lemon
Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh
thyme, chopped
Leaves from 1 sprig fresh rosemary,
1 cup marinara sauce (your favorite
brand or homemade)

1. Make the dough the night before your pizza dinner. First, in a large bowl, whisk the yeast into the water until it dissolves. Let the mix stand for 10 minutes (you should see some bubbly foam form on top of the water). Using a wooden spoon, stir in the salt and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, then add the flour 1 cup at a time, stirring after each addition. Mix everything together and turn the dough out onto a floured countertop. Knead for 5 minutes until soft and springy. Place the kneaded dough into a clean bowl coated with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it in the fridge until dinnertime the following day.

2. Take the dough out of the fridge to come to room temperature. When you're ready to make the pizza, set a rack in the lower third of our oven and preheat to 500°F. While the oven heats, slice the kale leaves into thin ribbons. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add the kale ribbons, water, and a pinch of salt, and sauté for 5 minutes, until the kale is wilted. Transfer the kale to a plate and use the same pan to cook the sausage. Cook the sausage over medium heat until brown, about 10 minutes, breaking the meat apart with the back of a wooden spoon.

3. While the kale and sausage cook, mix the ricotta in a small bowl with a pinch of salt, the lemon zest, and the chopped thyme and rosemary.

4. To prepare for baking, coat a 12 by 18-inch rimmed baking sheet with the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Slowly stretch the dough across the pan, pushing it into the corners with your fingers. Top the dough with a layer of tomato sauce, then add the kale, sausage, and small dollops of the flavored ricotta. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the pizza from the oven, cut it into squares, and serve immediately.

FOR BABY: Finely chop a bit of cooked sausage and kale, then mix it with ¼ cup of plain ricotta cheese. Thin out the mixture with water or milk if it looks too dry. Finely dice some citrus fruits for finger food.

Slurpee Noodle Bowls


Like most kids I know, Dylan counts peanut noodles among his favorite meals. After serving up my hundredth batch of peanut noodles, I knew we had to shake things up — at least for my own sake! This meal is inspired by the creamy and salty noodles we all love but with fresh, crisp toppings and a warming broth. After a light meal like Noodle Bowls, one of us will almost always request something rich and sweet for dessert. As this request typically falls right before bedtime, a labor-intensive baking project is not in the cards. However, quick Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Date Truffles can be made in under 10 minutes. The slightly sticky, chocolate-scented dough is ideal for little hands to roll and decorate, creating the perfect, nutritious treat to nibble on with a bedtime story or while being coaxed into a warm bath.


serves 4

Don't be turned off by the long list of ingredients — this dinner is really just a dash of this and spritz of that all piled into one simple pot. If your family is not a fan of tofu, simply omit it or replace it with your favorite vegetables or shredded meat. Regular pasta is also a fine replacement for udon noodles if you don't have them on hand.

KIDS CAN: Put older kids in charge of preparing the noodle bowl toppings.

2 garlic cloves
1 yellow onion
1-inch piece fresh gingerroot
2 tablespoons canola oil,
1 to 2 tablespoons green curry
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
5 tablespoons soy sauce
1 package extra firm tofu, cut
into ¼-inch cubes
One 15-ounce can full-fat
coconut milk
3 cups chicken broth
8 ounces udon noodles
Juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon creamy peanut

1 shallot, minced
½ head purple cabbage, finely
1 lime, sliced
1 cup dry roasted peanuts,
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Using a food processor, whiz the garlic, onion, and ginger together until finely minced. In a medium soup pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the canola oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, and ginger mixture and cook until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add in the curry paste, agave, sesame oil, salt, turmeric, and soy sauce and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring everything together. Add in the tofu and gently toss the cubes to coat them with the flavored mixture. Next, pour in the coconut milk and broth. Bring the soup to a strong simmer, then turn the heat down to low and let it cook while you prepare the noodles and toppings.

2. Cook the noodles per the package directions (typically 6 minutes in boiling water). Strain the noodles and toss them with the remaining tablespoon of canola oil.

3. Depending on your time, prepare the topping by hand or use a food processor to shred the cabbage and finely chop the shallot, peanuts, and cilantro in quick batches.

4. Before serving, finish the broth by whisking in the lime juice and peanut butter. Taste the broth and add more curry paste or soy sauce if need be. To serve, pile the noodles in the bottom of individual soup bowls, top with broth, and then pile on the toppings.

FOR BABY: In a small saucepan, warm a handful of minced tofu and cooked noodles in ½ cup of plain chicken broth.


Shred the remaining half head of purple cabbage and, using a large wok, stir-fry the cabbage, some thinly sliced chicken/pork/tofu, garlic, and fresh ginger in canola oil. Serve over brown rice with any remaining noodle bowl toppings.


makes 20 truffles

Not only are these raw truffles the perfect treat before an early January bedtime, but they also make ideal Valentine's Day "candies" for school friends, teachers, or neighbors. Tailor the recipe for your valentine by choosing a favorite food (salty peanuts in this case) to coat the balls with — anything from toasted shredded coconut to crystalized ginger works. If you're feeling extra ambitious (or have a long, dark afternoon on your hands) make a variety pack with a few different toppings.

KIDS CAN: For some sticky fun, kids can be in charge of pitting the dates and rolling the truffles.

2 lightly packed cups pitted
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
¼ cup unsweetened shredded
2 tablespoons natural cocoa
Pinch of kosher salt
1/3 cup dry roasted peanuts,

1. Using a food processor, whiz the dates and vanilla together until a sticky paste forms. Add in the peanut butter, coconut, cocoa powder, and salt. Pulse about a dozen times to combine all the ingredients.

2. When you're ready to roll the truffles, put the chopped peanuts in a shallow bowl and turn the truffle dough out onto a clean counter. Using your hands, grab a golf ball–size piece of dough and roll it into a ball. Place the ball into the peanuts and gently roll it around to adhere the nuts. Continue rolling out all the truffles. The finished truffles can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days, or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. They are best served at room temperature.

FOR BABY: Finely chop a couple of dates and roll the sticky pieces in a sprinkling of coconut.

The One-Skillet Wonders


Who doesn't love a dinner that involves just tossing everything into one pan?! It makes preparing dinner a cinch, and won't add more pots and pans to the already aggressive pile of sink dishes. Often times one-pot meals (I'm thinking women's magazine casseroles here) call for too many cans of processed ingredients filled with sodium and additives, to be mixed together into an unidentifiable mush. Not here — in this dish, whole grains, leafy greens, tomatoes, and chicken are layered together and popped into the oven. If you have time in the evening, early morning, or during naptime, this skillet can be assembled in five minutes, covered, and left in the fridge, waiting for you. Now go put that time saved on dishes to some good use (with a warming whisky cocktail, perhaps?).


serves 4

When I first came up with this simple one-skillet dinner, I shared it with my sister Anna, knowing it was right up her alley. Later that day, she sent me a picture of her cast iron skillet meal, along with the note: "Toss in a cup of barley with the veggies — it's great." Genius! The liquid from the veggies and chicken plumps up the barley beautifully, and in just forty minutes you have a complete meal ready to go. If mushrooms aren't your thing, or if you are throwing this together in the summer, use halved cherry tomatoes or thinly sliced zucchini rounds instead — both work perfectly.

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 bunch Swiss chard, leaves removed
from stems and torn
into small pieces (stems can
be saved for soup or stir-fry)
8 ounces white button mushrooms,
stemmed and
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus
more as needed
1 cup barley
1 cup low-sodium chicken
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken
Freshly ground black pepper
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 lemon, sliced

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Brush 2 tablespoons of the olive oil across the bottom of a 10-inch cast iron skillet. In a large bowl, toss together the tomatoes, chard, mushrooms, garlic, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Place half of the vegetable mixture in the bottom of the cast iron skillet, then pour the barley over the top. Add the rest of the vegetable mixture and, finally, the chicken broth.

2. Arrange the chicken thighs on top of the veggie and barley layers, pushing them gently into the vegetable mixture. Sprinkle the chicken with the remaining teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of pepper, then drizzle the skins with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Toss in the thyme and sliced lemon. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast for 35 to 45 minutes until the skin begins to brown and the barley is tender. If you like extra-crisp skin, put the pan under the broiler for the last few minutes. Serve immediately.

FOR BABY: Mash a small bowl of chicken, barley, and vegetables with the back of a spoon or purée the mixture with an immersion blender.


Create a simple chicken, barley, and vegetable soup. Heat a small pot of chicken or vegetable broth and stir in any leftover diced chicken and vegetable-barley mixture. Simmer over low heat, just to warm it through. Serve with Parmesan cheese and crusty bread.


serves 4

The mild flavor and creamy texture of chickpeas allow these beans to be easily transformed into a high-protein treat. Here, I toss them with coconut oil, cinnamon, and sugar and sauté them until crisp and golden. Your house will smell as good as they taste.

19 ounces canned chickpeas
2 tablespoons coconut oil
Pinch of kosher salt
3 tablespoons granulated
sweetener (coconut sugar,
pure cane sugar, or date
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoon coconut oil

1. Drain and rinse the chickpeas, then dry them on a kitchen towel. If the skins pop off during the drying process, simply discard them.

2. Melt the coconut oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.

3. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the chickpeas, salt, granulated sweetener, cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon of the melted coconut oil (leave the remaining coconut oil in the skillet). Ask your little helper to stir until all the chickpeas are coated.

4. Turn the skillet up to medium-high heat. Toss in the flavored chickpeas and arrange them in a single layer. Let the chickpeas crisp up for about 2 minutes without stirring, then toss them and repeat the crisping/tossing process until they are caramelized and smell delicious, about 2 to 5 minutes more. Cinnamon and Sugar Crispy Chickpeas are best eaten warm right out of the pan.

FOR BABY: Smash a few crispy chickpeas with the back of a fork for finger feeding.

Japanese Take Out at Home


I know it is the start of the long, dark season when I find myself turning the car's headlights on while driving home from school. When dinnertime rolls around, the sky is pitch black and I feel like it could be midnight, despite the rambunctious kids playing nearby. These long evenings need a spark to keep my spirits up. When we lived in a city, the spark was a stroll down to our favorite Thai or Japanese restaurant, but these days that is not an option. Martha's Vineyard's winter food scene is far from diverse (you won't find Pho or curry anywhere), so we have to do it ourselves. This sushi bar and miso soup dinner is our best attempt at making a takeout meal of our own. To top it off, I am sharing the boys' most loved 1-minute dessert.


makes 5 to 6 rolls

Meals that encourage family collaboration, like this Roasted Root Vegetable Sushi Bar, rolled along to a little music, help to keep me out of the winter dumps. Our sushi bar allows for family members to build what they like and take charge of their dinner. P.S.: You only have to cook rice and roast a tray of vegetables!

KIDS CAN: For dinner, kids can peel the root vegetables, mix the sushi rice with vinegar and sugar, and assemble the nori rolls.

1 sweet potato
3 carrots
2 parsnips
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 avocados

2 cups sushi rice
2 cups water
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons pure cane sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt

5 to 6 nori sheets
Low-sodium soy sauce
Pickled ginger

1. You want to get the vegetables in the oven first, as they take the longest to cook. To save time, you can always peel and slice the root vegetables the night before and store them in a bowl full of cold water in the refrigerator. So, preheat the oven to 425°F. Peel the root vegetables and slice them into ¼-inch sticks. Toss the vegetable sticks with olive oil and a sprinkling of salt, then arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes, until tender and edges begin to brown.

2. While the veggies roast, prepare the rice. Combine the sushi rice and water in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, uncovered, then reduce the heat to low and cover the pan. Cook the rice for 15 minutes, then remove the pot from the heat and let it stand, covered, for 10 minutes.

3. Whisk together the vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small bowl. Pour the vinegar mixture over the rice and toss with a fork to thoroughly combine.

4. When you are ready to assemble the sushi rolls, pit and slice the avocados. Set up a rolling station with the roasted root vegetables, sliced avocado, sushi rice, nori wrappers, and a small bowl of water close at hand. To roll, cover a nori sheet with a layer of sushi rice, leaving one-quarter of the sheet clear. Next, pile up a horizontal strip of roasted root vegetables and avocado slices in the middle of the sushi rice. To roll, wet the top of the exposed nori sheet, then fold the bottom of the sheet in on itself, tightly rolling it along to the top. Seal and lay the roll on a cutting board. Slice with a wet, sharp knife. Serve the sushi with low-sodium soy sauce, pickled ginger, and wasabi.

FOR BABY: Infants can enjoy a bowl of rice topped with smashed or minced vegetables and sprinkled with bits of nori.


Double the amount of vegetables you roast for the sushi rolls, so that you have leftovers. Tomorrow night, make tacos with black beans, tortillas, roasted root vegetables, and toppings (avocado, sour cream, cheese, lime, and cilantro).


Excerpted from Feeding a Family by Sarah Waldman, Elizabeth Celil. Copyright © 2017 Sarah Waldman. Excerpted by permission of Shambhala Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

How to Feed a Family 3

The Benefits of Family Dinner 3

Family Nutrition and Seasonal Whole Foods 4

Planning, Shopping, and Preparation 7

Involving the Whole Family 8

Feeding Kids and "Picky Eaters" 10

Building a Family Pantry 13

My Pantry Staples 13

Quick Dinners from Pantry and Fridge Staples 14

Winter 17

Spring 85

Summer 153

Fall 219

With Gratitude 272

Index 273

Customer Reviews