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 cup basil

1/4 cup walnuts

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon water

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan

2 medium zucchini, about 20 ounces, sliced across on the diagonal

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1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup shredded part-skim

mozzarella, divided

3 small tomatoes, about 16 ounces, cut in 1/4-inch slices

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a shallow baking sheet pan with cooking spray.

2. Combine the basil and walnuts in the food processor and pulse; with the machine running, add the oil and water in a slow steady stream. Add the Parmesan, pulse to combine and set aside.

3. Lay the zucchini out in a single layer on the baking sheet and season with the salt. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the shredded mozzarella on the zucchini. Top with a tomato slice. Spread each tomato with about 1 teaspoon pesto sauce and top with the remaining mozzarella.

4. Bake until the cheese is melted and golden and the zucchini is fork tender, about 22 minutes. Makes 4 servings.

TIP: You will use about half the pesto you make for the stacks: the remaining ¼ cup may be refrigerated or frozen.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 225 calories, 11 g protein, 11 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 17 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 392 mg sodium

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2 medium zucchini, (about 20 ounces), halved lengthwise

12 ounces 93-percent lean ground beef

1/2 cup chopped onion

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1 rib celery, chopped

2 plum tomatoes, chopped

2 teaspoons tomato paste

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar, divided

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a shallow baking sheet pan with cooking spray.

2. Use a teaspoon to scoop out the center of each zucchini. Chop the pulp. Place the hollowed boats on the sheet pan.

3. Combine the pulp with the beef, onion, celery and tomatoes in a large nonstick skillet and cook over medium high heat, stirring to break the meat into crumbles, for 3 to 4 minutes until the meat has separated. Stir in the tomato paste, oregano, thyme, parsley salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until the meat is no longer pink, about another 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in about 1/2 cup of the cheese.

4. Spoon the mixture into the zucchini and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake until the zucchini is fork tender, about 30 minutes. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 238 calories, 25 g protein, 10 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 13 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 595 mg sodium



1/2 cup fresh sweet peas

2 medium zucchini (about 20 ounces)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup mint, chopped

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion

1/2 cup crumbled feta

1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil; add the peas and cook until they just turn bright green, about 2 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.

2. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the zucchini lengthwise into 1-inch wide, long strips.

3. Combine the lemon juice, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Whisk in the olive oil. Stir in the mint and parsley and toss with the zucchini, peas and onion. Gently stir in the feta. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 162 calories, 6 g protein, 11 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 12 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 371 mg sodium