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 Make a complete meal for four people out of any of these recipes with the addition of cooked chicken or pork or rinsed beans, such as chickpeas.

There are many great quick-cooking whole grains on the market; among my favorites are whole-grain couscous, quick-cooking barley and quinoa, all of which cook in less than 15 minutes.


1 1/4 cup lower-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

1 cup whole-grain couscous

1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved

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1 cup small grape tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes, halved)

1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (feta may be substituted)

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/3 cup basil leaves, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Bring broth to boil; stir in couscous, cover and remove from heat. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes (until liquid is absorbed).

2. Combine olives, tomatoes, blue cheese, lemon zest and olive oil in bowl. Use tines of a fork to scrape in the couscous. (This prevents it from clumping). Use fork to stir in basil; season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 217 calories, 8 g protein, 28 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 10 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 508 mg sodium


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1 cup quick-cooking barley

1/3 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 (10-ounce) package mushrooms, sliced

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1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook the barley according to package directions.

2. Meanwhile, place walnuts in a large, dry, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and cook, stirring often, until nuts just become aromatic and very lightly browned. Transfer to a plate. Add oil to skillet; add the mushrooms and black pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are just tender but still have some meaty texture, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in walnuts. Combine with cooked barley and parsley; season to taste with salt and additional pepper. Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 153 calories, 4 g protein, 20 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 7 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 2 mg sodium



2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 cups thinly sliced onion

2 teaspoons fresh sage, chopped

1 cup quinoa

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are golden brown and soft, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the sage.

2. Meanwhile, rinse quinoa under cold running water in a fine mesh strainer. Combine in a saucepan with cranberries and 2 cups water; bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat, cover and gently simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, until liquid is absorbed.

3. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, almonds and lemon juice; toss with the onions and sage, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 253 calories, 7 g protein, 34 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 11 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 4 mg sodium