Feeding a Family is as much a game plan for an entire year of dinners as a cookbook. Laid out by season, Sarah Waldman’s new cookbook published by Roost Books presents full menus, a main dish, a suggested side, and sometimes a dessert. There are also recommendations on how to re-purpose leftovers for the next night’s supper. Roasted veggie sushi becomes the filling for tacos. Quinoa burgers become a crispy hash to be topped with eggs. Leftover pumpkin seed pesto becomes a sandwich spread.

Mrs. Waldman developed the recipes, many of them family standbys, over the course of one year.

“It felt like that was the only way I could do it,” she said. She started in winter, cooking for her family, while Island photographer Elizabeth Cecil captured the meals in real time.

Feeding a Family presents full menus and recommendations for how to use leftovers. — Jeanna Shepard

“Living here, we’re pretty aware of the seasonality of food,” said Mrs. Waldman. “It’s important for people to train themselves to be aware of that, not only is it more sustainable, but food in season is fresher, cheaper and tastier and you can find those items grown locally.”

Having studied nutrition, Mrs. Waldman admits to being “such a dork” about seasonal food.

“Fall foods that you store for the winter like sweet potatoes and cabbages are really dense and full of nutrients and carbs and stuff you need in the winter to survive and have energy,” she said. “If you think about what’s growing in the summer here, It’s tomatoes and melons and cucumbers and that’s 95 per cent water, and that’s to hydrate you in the heat.”

Sarah Waldman is the type of person who brings a cookbook to bed with her. As a child, she and her younger sister would host a cooking show that their mom would film on an old camcorder.

“My famous dish was turning a Hoodsie Cup upside down and putting chocolate sauce on it,” she said.

She began cooking in earnest when her husband, Nick, was in graduate school in Providence, R.I. She started a blog, earned a certificate in nutrition and wrote for food magazines and online sites. Her first foray into working on cookbooks was developing the recipes for Little Bites: 100 Healthy, Kid-Friendly Snacks, a cookbook published in 2015.

Feeding a Family focuses on dinner for the entire family, something Mrs. Waldman feels strongly about. She and Nick have two sons, Gray, 3, and Dylan, 6, and lead hectic lives, like all parents. But she feels that eating together is an important bonding time where kids develop social skills and hear family stories. Family meals can also have positive effects in other areas of life, such as academics and emotional behavior.

But she admits it’s not easy for families to find the time these days.

“In this day and age, we’re so overscheduled, what parents are asked to do and all the roles to play these days are really impossible,” she said. “We’ve lost putting value on eating together at the end of the day.”

But Feeding a Family doesn’t reprimand busy parents, who may be running from a music lesson to hockey practice while working a full time job. Instead it offers guidance and tips for making nutritious meals that the whole family can participate in making and eating.

For example, Mrs. Waldman developed two slow cooker chicken recipes that involve little more than filling the slow cooker and turning it on.

“They’re perfect for days where we leave at 7:30 in the morning, go to school, go to work, pick up our kids, have soccer practice at 4:30 to 5:30, get home at 6 p.m. with kids who are covered in mud and starving. If it’s not ready, I’m screwed,” she said. “These are meals that can really make parents feel amazing at the end of those days.”

Each recipe is equipped with a suggestion to get kids involved with the preparation of the meal.

“Children can toss broccolini with oil and salt,” one recipe suggests.

Mrs. Waldman said both Dylan and Gray like to help make dinner, but while Dylan prefers meticulous tasks like snapping the ends off asparagus, Gray likes something a little more energetic, such as spinning lettuce or tearing up kale.

“What I try to do is always invite my kids into the process, because not only does it make it easier for me, but they feel like it’s their project too and then they are more invested in getting excited about the meal and trying it,” she said.

“The goal is for the whole family to enjoy one meal in some way together,” she added. “Everyone doesn’t have to eat everything that is offered . . . some nights my six year old just chooses to eat rice and apple slices off the table, but it’s part of our dinner, I’m not cooking you mac ‘n’ cheese or something else.”

The book features a few recipes developed by her husband, Nick, who has perfected the diner-style hamburger. It’s one of her favorite recipes in the book. The burger is thin and crispy, cooked on a hot cast iron skillet and smashed down with a spatula.

“That’s something that changed the way I eat hamburgers,” she said. “I feel like it’s a very ‘us’ meal. He’s clearly the hamburger, and I made this edamame succotash as a light summer side to go with it . . . it represents us,” she said.

But if you were to ask her boys the winner would be the peanut butter blossom cookies. With only four ingredients, it’s easy enough for Dylan to make nearly entirely on his own.

Sarah Waldman will speak on Saturday, August 5 at 9:00 a.m. at the Harbor View Hotel, and on Sunday, August 6 at 10:15 a.m. at the Chilmark Community Center.