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.

MEDITERRANEAN SAUSAGE AND SPINACH PASTA

8 ounces penne pasta

1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, slightly thawed

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 cup chopped onion

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

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1 (12-ounce) package precooked chicken sausage (4 links), cut in 1-inch pieces

1/2 cup crumbled feta

Crushed red pepper, if desired

1. Cook the pasta in plenty of lightly salted boiling water for 5 minutes. Add the spinach and stir to break it into smaller pieces. Cook another 5 minutes, or until pasta and spinach are cooked through. Drain and toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.

2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high. Add the onion and cook until somewhat softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the oregano and thyme and add the sausage. Cook, stirring occasionally, 7 to 8 minutes, until the sausage is heated through. Toss with the cooked pasta, stir in the feta and add crushed red pepper flakes if desired. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 497 calories, 28 g protein, 52 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 20 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 709 mg sodium

TIP: Chicken sausage varies greatly by brand, so check nutrition labels to be sure you pick a healthy version.

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TERIYAKI SALMON

3 tablespoons orange juice

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2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

2 teaspoons minced ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

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1 tablespoon olive oil

4 (6-ounce) pieces salmon fillet

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine the orange juice, soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, ginger and garlic in a small bowl and whisk until the honey is dissolved.

2. Heat the oil over medium high in a large cast iron or other ovenproof skillet. Add the salmon, skin side up, and cook until the salmon is browned, about 4 minutes. Turn the fish over and spoon the sauce over it; transfer to the oven.

3. Cook, basting every couple of minutes, until the salmon is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 267 calories, 35 g protein, 8 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 10 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 339 mg sodium

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QUICK PASTA FAGIOLI

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary

2 ribs celery, thinly sliced

2 medium carrots, chopped in 1/4-inch pieces

4 cups low-sodium canned chicken or vegetable broth

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomato

1 1/2 cups small bow tie pasta (about 5 ounces)

2 (15-ounce) cans low-sodium white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1/3 cup grated Parmesan

1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium high. Add the onion, garlic, rosemary, celery and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil.Stir in the pasta and cook 8 minutes or until nearly al dente. Add the beans and cook another 2 minutes, until pasta is cooked through. Ladle into bowls and top with cheese. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 345 calories, 16g protein, 56 g carbohydrates, 8 g fiber, 6 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 537 mg sodium