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.

Stir Fry Vegetables in Brown Sauce

Serve over rice.

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 cup water

¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon honey

¼ teaspoon Asian chili paste

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1 tablespoon canola oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon minced ginger

1 red pepper, cut in thin strips

1 yellow or orange pepper, cut in thin strips

1 pound firm tofu, cut in ½-inch cubes

2 cups (about ½ pound) snow peas

1. Combine the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of the water; when smooth stir in the remaining water, soy sauce, honey and chili paste.

2. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high. Add the garlic and ginger, cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add the red and yellow peppers; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add the tofu and cook 1 minute.

3. Stir the reserved sauce and pour in the skillet. Cook, stirring often, until the sauce is thick and glossy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the snow peas and cook 2-3 minutes, until the vegetables are crisp-tender and the sauce begins to permeate the tofu. Makes 4 servings.

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Nutritional analysis for each serving: 203 calories, 13 g protein, 17 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 8 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 413 mg sodium

TIP: Use water-packed tofu and drain off the liquid: For a firmer, chewier texture, place a plate on top of the tofu, weight it with a large can and press it for 15 minutes to express more of the water.


Cacio e Pepe

8 ounces linguine

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2 tablespoons butter, cut in bits

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or more to taste)

3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano

1. Cook pasta in plenty of lightly salted boiling water until al dente, according to package instructions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water and drain.

2. While the pasta cooks, melt the butter in a large deep skillet; add the olive oil and pepper and cook 1 minute. Remove from heat.

3. Toss the pasta with the pepper-butter sauce, stir in the cheese and add the reserved cooking water, a little at a time, until the sauce is creamy. Add pepper to taste. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 377 calories, 17 g protein, 42 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 17 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, 436 mg sodium


Red Bean Chili Cheese Burgers

Serve on rolls with ketchup

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 15-ounce cans low sodium red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1/3 cup bread crumbs

¼ cup chopped onion

¼ cup chopped green bell pepper

3 tablespoons canola mayonnaise

½ teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon tomato paste

2 tablespoons canola oil

4 slices (about 2 ounces) reduced-fat Cheddar

1. Combine the egg and beans in a bowl and mash into small chunks with a large fork or potato masher. Add the bread crumbs, onion, green pepper, mayonnaise, cumin, chili powder, oregano and tomato paste, stir thoroughly. Form into four ½-inch thick patties.

2. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high. Carefully slide the patties into the skillet and cook until crisp, about 4 minutes, turn and cook 3 minutes and top each patty with cheese. Cover the pan and cook until the cheese is melted, about 1 more minute. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 343 calories, 18 g protein, 36 g carbohydrates, 13 g fiber, 14 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 548 mg sodium