Marge Perry Newsday columnist Marge Perry

Marge Perry, Newsday's weekly 3 Simple columnist, also writes, broadcasts, teaches and speaks about cooking, food and nutrition. In her long-standing capacity as a Newsday columnist, Contributing Editor for Cooking Light, author of the blog A Sweet and Savory Life, restaurant critic, recent columnist for several leading magazines (Better Homes & Gardens, Prevention); regular contributor to many magazines, (including Self, More, Coastal Living, and Relish) and frequent guest on television and radio, Perry is an accessible and authoritative guide for anyone who cooks, eats and travels.

In addition to Dinner Tonight, the cookbook based on her daily Newsday column, Ms. Perry has contributed recipes and text to nearly 20 other food and nutrition books. Her articles have been syndicated internationally in magazines and books, and her recipes have appeared on the Television Food Network and numerous television news segments.

Perry teaches cooking and food writing at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, food writing at mediabistro.com, and is a guest lecturer at the culinary management graduate school at New York University. Her extensive involvement with the food industry ranges from writing and reporting about cooking and nutrition, chefs, restaurants, growers, producers and manufacturers; restaurant reviewing; menu consulting; consumer trend analysis; and volunteering to bring food and cooking/nutrition know-how to those in need. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Libby Hillman Award for Culinary Excellence and the Food Writers’ Symposium scholarship and the Association of Food Journalists Award for Best Food Essay for an ode to her mother and strawberry-frosted cupcakes.

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TIP: To freeze soup: Be sure to leave at least 1/4 inch of air in the top of the container to allow for expansion as the soup freezes.

1. CHICKEN AND POTATO SOUP WITH SAGE

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 teaspoon dried sage

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1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 pound lean ground chicken

1/2 teaspoon salt

12 ounces potato, cut into 1/2-inch dice

2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

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1 (15-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes

5 cups baby arugula (or other greens, such as spinach or chard)

1. Heat oil in large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onion, sage and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, 4 minutes until somewhat softened. Add chicken and salt and cook, breaking meat into crumbles, for 3 minutes, until it is about halfway browned.

2. Add potato and cook, stirring frequently, another 4 minutes, until meat is no longer pink. Add broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil; immediately reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 30 minutes, until potatoes are tender and soup is slightly thickened. Stir in arugula until it wilts, about 2 minutes. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 327 calories, 28 g protein, 29 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 641 mg sodium

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2. LOADED POTATO SOUP

2 baking potatoes (1 1/4 pounds), scrubbed

6 pieces center-cut bacon

1/3 cup flour

3 cups nonfat milk

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1 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar, divided

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream, divided

1/2 cup chopped scallion, divided

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pierce potatoes all over with a fork and bake, turning once, until tender, about 1 hour. Let cool slightly, cut in half and scoop out the potato flesh from the skin. Mash by hand.

2. Cook the bacon in a large soup pot; transfer to a plate lined with paper towel and crumble when cool.

3. Stir the flour into the bacon fat remaining in the pot; over medium heat, slowly whisk in the milk, stirring constantly until the mixture is smooth. Continue cooking and stirring until the mixture thickens to the consistency of heavy cream, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 3/4 cup of the cheese until smooth. Stir in the mashed potatoes, salt, pepper, 1/3 cup of the sour cream, 1/4 cup of the scallions and about half the crumbled bacon. Ladle into 4 bowls; top each with a dollop of the remaining sour cream, the remaining bacon, cheese and scallions. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 428 calories, 22 g protein, 52 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 14 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, 847 mg sodium

3. SAUSAGE AND SWEET POTATO SOUP

8 ounces spicy Italian turkey sausage

1 cup chopped onion

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

4 cups lower-sodium chicken broth

5 cups torn kale leaves (about 8 ounces)

1. Cook the sausage in a large soup pot until lightly browned on all sides, about 7 minutes; remove and, when cool enough to handle, cut across into 1/4-inch slices.

2. Add the onion and garlic to the sausage drippings in the pan and cook, stirring, 4 minutes, until somewhat softened. Add the potato and broth, and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes; stir in kale and sausage, and cook until the kale and potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if desired. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 256 calories, 16 g protein, 35 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 7 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 523 mg sodium