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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1 bunch broccoli raab (about 1 pound), trimmed and coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced lengthwise

2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary, divided

3 cups vegetable broth

2 cups rotini (6 ounces)

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2 (15.5-ounce) cans low-sodium white beans, drained and rinsed

1⁄4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1⁄3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Shaved Parmesan cheese (optional)


1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil; add the broccoli raab, return to a boil and cook 3 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking.

2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high. Add the garlic and 1 teaspoon of the rosemary; cook, stirring, until the garlic is lightly golden, about 1 minute. Add the broth and pasta; bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, 8 minutes; the pasta will be softened but not cooked through. Add 2 cups water, beans, broccoli raab, red pepper flakes, remaining 1 teaspoon rosemary and salt; stir and cook until pasta is tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the grated Parmesan. Top with shaved Parmesan if desired. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 425 calories, 20 g protein, 70 g carbohydrates, 11 g fiber, 6 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 722 mg sodium

TIP: Low-sodium canned beans are not only better for you, they also tend to be less mealy.

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2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

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2 ribs celery, cut into 3⁄4-inch pieces

1 red bell pepper, cut into 3⁄4-inch pieces

1 medium zucchini (about 8 ounces), trimmed, quartered lengthwise and cut into 3⁄4-inch pieces

3⁄4 teaspoon salt, divided

1 cup quick-cooking brown rice

1⁄4 teaspoon saffron threads, lightly crushed

2 cups vegetable broth, divided

1 (15.5-ounce) can low-sodium white beans, drained and rinsed

1⁄2 cup frozen peas


1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in the celery, bell pepper, zucchini, and 1⁄2 teaspoon of the salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 3 to minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl.

2. Return the skillet to the stove and heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add the rice, saffron and remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring, until rice is lightly toasted, 1 minute. Stir in 1 3⁄4 cups of the vegetable broth, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the rice is almost cooked, 10 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1⁄4 cup vegetable broth, return the rice to a simmer, cover and cook until the rice is tender but not mushy, about another 5 minutes. Add the reserved vegetables, beans and peas and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 5 minutes. Cover and let stand 5 minutes before serving. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 391 calories, 12 g protein, 67 g carbohydrates, 11 g fiber, 8 g far, 1 g saturated fat, 645 mg sodium



1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons canola oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium red onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

1 (15.5-ounce) can low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed

1⁄2 cup prepared salsa

4 (8-inch) tortillas

1 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar (about 4 ounces)

1⁄2 avocado, thinly sliced


1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high; add the garlic and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and wipe out the skillet.

2. Lightly mash the beans with a fork; stir in the salsa and set aside.

3. Working one at a time, place a tortilla on the work surface. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the cheese on half the tortilla; top with one-fourth the bean mixture. Sprinkle with one-fourth the red onion and top with one-fourth the avocado slices. Top with another 2 tablespoons cheese and fold the tortilla over to enclose the filling. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

4. Brush the skillet with 1 teaspoon of the oil. Carefully place 2 quesadillas in the skillet, cook until golden on the undersides, about 2 minutes, turn and cook until the cheese is melted and the quesadillas are again golden on the undersides. Transfer to a platter and wrap to keep warm while you repeat with remaining oil and quesadillas. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 415 calories, 16 g protein, 42 g carbohydrates, 9 g fiber, 20 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 762 mg sodium