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
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.
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
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