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: Press an indentation in the center of your burger; as it cooks, it puffs up into a nice, even patty.

BIG BAD BBQ BURGER

4 slices bacon, cut across in half

24 ounces lean ground beef

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

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1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 ounces thinly sliced Cheddar cheese

6 tablespoons barbecue sauce

4 onions rolls, split

1. Cook bacon in large, nonstick skillet over medium; transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon bacon grease from skillet.

2. While bacon cooks, combine ground beef, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Stir the seasoning into mixture until well combined. Working meat as little as possible, form into 4 patties, each about 3/4 inch thick and 4 inches in diameter. Use your thumb to press an indentation in the center of each burger.

3. Heat the bacon fat over medium high; add the burgers and cook 5 minutes; turn and cook 4 minutes. Top the burgers with the cheese, cover the pan and cook until cheese is melted, about 1 minute.

4. Spoon about 1 1/2 tablespoons of barbecue sauce on the bottom half of each roll; top with a burger and crisscross 2 pieces of bacon on top. Close the sandwich and serve immediately. Makes 4 burgers.

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Nutritional analysis for each serving 628 calories, 49 g protein, 53 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 23 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, 1,327 mg sodium

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GRILLED JAMAICAN JERK BURGER

1 1/4 pounds lean ground beef

1/2 teaspoon salt

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1/2 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne (to taste)

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

4 slices (rings) pineapple, canned or fresh

4 hamburger rolls, split

4 tablespoons light mayonnaise

4 small lettuce leaves

1. Coat grill racks with cooking spray. Heat grill for direct medium cooking (350 to 450 degrees).

2. Combine ground beef with salt, allspice, cumin, thyme, cayenne and cinnamon in large bowl. Cut the seasoning into mixture until well combined. Working meat as little as possible, form into 4 (3/4-inch-thick) patties. Use your thumb to press indentation in center of each burger.

3. Place burgers and pineapple slices on grill. Cook pineapple about 3 minutes on each side, until nicely marked. Transfer to a plate. Cook burgers 4 to 5 minutes on each side, until cooked through. During last 2 minutes of grilling, place burger rolls, cut side down, on the grill and toast until lightly marked.

4. Spread the cut sides of the rolls with mayonnaise. Place a lettuce leaf on each bottom half; top with the burger and pineapple; close the sandwich and serve. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 389 calories, 32 g protein, 34 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 14 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 674 mg sodium

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AVOCADO BLT BURGER

Make these burgers a little thinner to make the sandwich manageable to eat.

1 pound lean ground beef

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

4 slices bacon

1 ripe avocado, cut into thin slices

8 slices toasted sourdough or rye bread

4 slices tomato

4 lettuce leaves

1. Combine ground beef, salt, pepper and garlic powder in a large bowl, and, working mixture as little as possible form 4 ( 1/2-inch-thick) patties. Use your thumb to press an indentation in center of each burger.

2. Cook the bacon in a large, nonstick skillet over medium. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Pour off all but a thin film of the bacon fat from the skillet and return to heat. Add the burgers and cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side (for medium) or to desired degree of doneness.

3. Meanwhile, fan all but 4 slices of the avocado on 4 of the slices of toast and use a fork to lightly mash the avocado. Add the burgers, tomato, lettuce and bacon; top each with a reserved avocado slice and the remaining bread. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 444 calories, 33 g protein, 41 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber, 16 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 912 mg sodium