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, 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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4 slices (about 3 ounces) Swiss cheese

4 multigrain English muffins, split

8 tablespoons marinara sauce

1 black olive, cut in tiny bits


1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

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2. Cut a ghost shape out of a piece of paper, taking care that it is slightly smaller than the diameter of the muffin, because the cheese will spread as it melts. Use it as a stencil to cut eight ghosts out of the slices. Shred the trimmings on the finest holes of the grater.

3. Spread 1 tablespoon of marinara on each cut surface of the English muffins. Top with a ghost and sprinkle some of the shredded cheese around the edges. Place two tiny bits of olive on the ghosts for eyes. Bake on a cookie sheet until the cheese is just melted, about 4-5 minutes. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 205 calories, 11 g protein, 30 g carbohydrates, 10 g fiber, 8 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 342 mg sodium

TIP: The toasts make a light supper for excited trick-or-treaters or appetizers for a Halloween party.



This soup gets its name from the pumpkins called Jack-o’-lanterns and Monterey Jack cheese.


2 tablespoons butter

1 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium)

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2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

4 cups lower-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée

1 1⁄2 cup milk

1⁄4 teaspoon smoked paprika

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1⁄4 teaspoon cumin

1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)

1⁄2 cup coarsely grated Monterey Jack cheese

4 slices avocado


1. Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with the flour a little at a time, stirring to incorporate each addition. Stir in the broth, pumpkin, milk, paprika and cumin, reduce to low and cook 20 minutes.

2. Ladle in to 4 bowls; top each with a slice of avocado and the shredded cheese and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 247 calories, 11 g protein, 22 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 14 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 457 mg sodium



2 (14-ounce) cans low-sodium chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée

3 tablespoons lemon juice (or more to taste)

3 tablespoons tahini

Pinch cayenne (or to taste)

Salt to taste

1⁄4 cup pumpkin seeds


1. Combine chickpeas, pumpkin purée, lemon juice, tahini and cayenne in a food processor and blend until smooth. Taste and add salt or lemon if needed. Top with the pumpkin seeds. Makes about 16 servings

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 70 calories, 4 g protein, 10 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 3 g fat, 0 saturated fat, 47 mg sodium