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 Potatoes are an excellent source of potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure.

SPANISH TORTILLA (EGG-POTATO FRITTATA)

This is best served at room temperature and can be made a day in advance.

2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled

1 red pepper, thinly sliced

2 cups very thinly sliced onion

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2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

3/4 teaspoon salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided

4 large eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat a large, shallow baking sheet pan with cooking spray.

2. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise, then across in very thin slices. Toss with the red pepper, onion, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper. Spread on the prepared pan and bake, tossing occasionally, until potatoes are tender, about 50 minutes.

3. Beat together the eggs, remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper. Toss with the potatoes and let the mixture stand 15 minutes.

4. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in an 8- to 9-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add potato mixture and cook, shaking the skillet frequently, until the egg is nearly set, about 8 minutes. Run a flexible spatula along the edge of the mixture to be sure it is not sticking to the pan. Place a plate over the skillet and quickly invert the omelet onto the plate. Slide it back into the pan and cook until the underside is golden and set, about 3 minutes longer. Let cool before cutting into wedges. Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 229 calories, 8 g protein, 32 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 8 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 348 mg sodium

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CAESAR MASHED POTATOES

Alter the amount of milk to make thicker or creamier potatoes.

1 1/2 pounds potatoes, rinsed

1/2 cup fat-free milk

1 tablespoon olive oil

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1/3 cup light mayonnaise

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 small clove garlic, minced to a paste (1/4 teaspoon paste)

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1. Prick potatoes in several places with a fork. Place on plate in a spoke pattern and microwave, turning over once, until fork tender, about 10 minutes. Let cool for 2 minutes. Hold a potato with a potholder or kitchen towel and cut potato in half lengthwise. Carefully scoop out flesh with a large spoon and transfer to a bowl. Repeat with remaining potatoes.

2. Meanwhile, warm milk and olive oil together in microwave. (Do not allow to boil.) Add to potatoes and mash into small chunks with a potato masher.

3. Combine mayonnaise, Parmesan, lemon juice, garlic, Worcestershire, mustard and black pepper. Add to potatoes and mash to desired consistency. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 255 calories, 6 g protein, 35 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 11 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 237 mg sodium

CHEDDAR-JALAPENO STUFFED POTATO SKINS

These may be made ahead and baked 15 minutes before serving.

2 large baking potatoes, about 1 pound

1/4 cup skim milk

2 tablespoons light sour cream

1/2 cup shredded light Cheddar cheese (2 ounces)

1/2 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped

1 scallion, chopped

1 large plum tomato, finely chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

2. Prick the potatoes all over with a fork and microwave until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool for 2 minutes. Cut each potato in half lengthwise. Holding each half with a kitchen towel or pot holder, carefully scoop out the flesh, leaving a 1/4-inch thick shell.

3. Transfer potato flesh to bowl and combine with the milk, sour cream, Cheddar, jalapeño, scallion and tomato. Divide mixture evenly among the 4 skins and bake until the cheese is melted and the potatoes are lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 149 calories, 7 g protein, 23 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 4 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 133 mg sodium