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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TIP Refrigerate in a tightly closed container for up to three days; freeze for up to one month.

The beauty of stews is that they are just as good -- and sometimes better -- reheated a couple of days later. Each of the stews below makes a complete one-pot meal.


Serve topped with light sour cream and/or grated Cheddar.

1 tablespoon olive or canola oil

4 cloves garlic, finely minced

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2 ribs celery, chopped

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons chili powder

2 (6-inch-long) sweet potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice

2 (15-ounce) cans lower-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed

2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans diced tomatoes

2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

1 (8-ounce) zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 (8-ounce) yellow summer squash, cut into 1-inch pieces

1. Heat oil in large soup pot over medium heat. Add garlic, celery, cumin and chili powder, and cook, stirring, 2 minutes, until vegetables are slightly softened.

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2. Add the sweet potatoes, beans, tomatoes and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are fork-tender, about 25 minutes.

3. Stir in the zucchini and yellow squash and cook until crisp-tender, another 5 to 6 minutes.

Makes 5 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 286 calories, 13 g protein, 51 g carbohydrates, 15 g fiber, 3 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 584 mg sodium


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The bacon may be omitted and 1 tablespoon olive oil used to brown the chicken.

3 strips bacon

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces

3 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 cup coarsely chopped onion

1 cup baby carrots, cut across in half

1 pound russet potatoes, cut into 2-inch chunks

3/4 cup red wine

3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1. Cook the bacon in a skillet or Dutch oven; transfer to a plate lined with paper towel. Crumble when cool enough to handle.

2. Toss the chicken with the flour, salt and thyme.

3. Heat the bacon drippings over medium, add the chicken in a single layer and cook, turning once, until lightly browned on both sides, about 6 minutes. Add the onion, carrot and potatoes; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add the red wine and broth and stir, scraping the pan to incorporate the bits stuck on the bottom.

4. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat until barely simmering. Cook 15 to 18 minutes, until carrots are tender and the sauce is thickened. Stir in the crumbled bacon, and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 345 calories, 25 g protein, 33 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 9 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 506 mg sodium


3 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 pound lean stew meat (such as bottom round), cut into 1-inch pieces

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

8 ounces mushrooms, thickly sliced

1/2 cup red wine

1 cup low-sodium beef broth

1 cup (1/2 pound) diced peeled potato

1 cup chopped carrots

1. Combine flour, salt and oregano in a bowl; toss with beef and set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or deep skillet over medium. Add the meat and cook, turning once, until nicely browned, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

3. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until somewhat softened, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, until they just begin to release liquid, about 4 minutes. Add the wine and broth and stir, scraping bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the beef, potato and carrots; cover the pan, reduce heat to medium low and cook until the beef and vegetables are tender, about 1 hour.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 389 calories, 36 g protein, 27 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 13 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 380 mg sodium