Marge Perry, Newsday's weekly 3 Simple columnist, also writes, broadcasts, teaches and speaks about cooking, food and nutrition.
PATRIOTIC POTATO SALAD
1 1/2 pounds red, white and purple small (1 1/2-inch) potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard.
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Coat a shallow baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. Cut the potatoes in quarters, so that all the pieces are about 1-inch. Toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, the salt and pepper. Spread out on the baking sheet with a cut side facing down and bake 15 minutes. Turn the potatoes with another cut side facing down and bake until lightly browned and fork-tender, another 10 minutes.
3. Whisk the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, shallots, vinegar and Dijon in a medium bowl; add the potatoes and toss to coat. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 185 calories, 3 g protein, 28 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 7 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 337 mg sodium
No Bake Red, White and Blue Corn Chip Nachos
The cheese sauce may be made ahead and reheated just before serving.
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup low-fat milk
4 ounces shredded reduced-fat white cheddar (about 1 cup)
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 plum tomatoes, chopped
¼ red onion, chopped
1 15-ounce can low-sodium red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 6-ounce bag baked blue corn chips
1. Combine the flour with 2 tablespoons of the milk in a medium saucepan; stir until smooth and slowly whisk in the remaining milk. Place the pot over a medium heat and cook, stirring often, until the sauce is thickened and smooth, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese and cayenne until smooth.
2. Combine the tomato, onion, kidney beans, the cilantro and the lime juice in a bowl; reserve about ¼ cup of the mixture and mash the rest lightly with a potato masher or large fork.
3. Layer about half the chips on a platter; top with half the mashed tomato-bean mixture and pour half the warm cheese sauce evenly over the mixture. Repeat with remaining chips, mashed tomato-bean mixture and cheese; sprinkle with the reserved ¼ cup of tomato-bean mixture and serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 248 calories, 12 g protein, 34 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber, 7 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 321 mg sodium
All-American Cheesecake Parfait
1 1/2 cups blueberries
2 tablespoons sugar
6 ounces Neufchatel cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup light sour cream
¼ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
½ cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup sliced strawberries
1. Combine the blueberries, sugar, nutmeg and 1 tablespoon water in a small saucepan; cook, stirring occasionally, until the berries burst and a thick syrupy sauce forms, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature and refrigerate.
2. Beat the Neufchatel, sour cream and yogurt with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth and fluffy.
3. Assemble the parfaits in four wineglasses. Start with a little of the blueberry sauce in the bottom and alternate layers of the cheesecake mixture, graham crumbs, strawberries and blueberry sauce. Finish each with a small dollop of the cheesecake topped with a light sprinkle of graham crumbs. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 320 calories, 9 g protein, 43 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 13 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 208 mg sodium
TIP: Prepare the components for the cheesecake parfaits and nachos ahead, but wait until close to serving time to assemble; the potato salad may be made early in the day and served at room temperature.