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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HEARTY BEEF AND PASTA SOUP

1 tablespoon olive oil

12 ounces beef bottom round, cut into 1/2-inch chunks

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 carrot, cut into 1/4-inch dice

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29 ounces lower-sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup ditalini pasta

1 cup frozen corn

1 cup frozen peas

1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium high. Add the beef and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add the basil, thyme, tomatoes, carrot and broth and bring to a boil; immediately reduce heat, cover and simmer gently until beef is tender, about 20 minutes.

2. Add the pasta, corn and peas and simmer until pasta is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with plenty of black pepper and salt, as needed. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 333 calories, 25 g protein, 34 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 10 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 1,055 mg sodium

SAUSAGE, BEANS AND GREENS SOUP

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

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3 minced cloves garlic

8 ounces turkey kielbasa (or other lower-fat sausage), cut into 1/2-inch pieces

32 ounces lower-sodium chicken broth

2 cups water

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes

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1 (19-ounce) can white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

6 cups (about 8 ounces) prewashed kale

1. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium high. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 5 minutes, or until onion is softened. Add kielbasa and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add broth, water and tomatoes and bring to a boil; immediately reduce heat to simmer.

2. Add beans and about 1/2 of greens, allowing them to wilt slightly before adding remaining greens. Cook until the greens are completely wilted and the broth is flavorful, about 5 minutes. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 316 calories, 21 g protein, 39 g carbohydrates, 9 g fiber, 9 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 1,644 mg sodium

SOUTHWESTERN SPICY CHICKEN AND RICE SOUP

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

3 cloves minced garlic

1 teaspoon ground cumin

48 ounces lower-sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup (uncooked) quick-cooking brown rice

1 pound boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon minced canned chipotle in adobo sauce (or to taste)

2 tablespoons lime juice

1/4 cup chopped scallions

Heat oil in large soup pot over medium high. Add onion and garlic; cook 3 to 4 minutes, until somewhat softened. Add cumin and chicken broth and bring to boil; add rice and cook 5 minutes. Stir in chicken, diced tomatoes and chipotle; simmer until chicken is cooked through and rice is tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice and scallions. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 390 calories, 33 g protein, 48 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 6 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 1,268 mg sodium

TIP

Even "lower-sodium" canned broth is very high in sodium. Look for unsalted broth by Kitchen Basics (sold in aseptic boxes), which has great flavor and allows you to control how much salt you add.