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While I do have plenty of great recipes I use, more often then not I just wing it. I’ve been cooking for almost 40 years, so I think you get a feel for what works and what doesn’t. For me cooking without guidelines is the most fun, especially when it turns out well and everyone loves it!

I thought maybe I would blog about this and my thought process when I cook this way. I know it doesn’t come naturally to everyone, so maybe some of you will find it helpful. My wish is that everyone could find some freedom and joy in their cooking. We all have to eat, so we might as well enjoy ourselves in the process!

So here are a few thoughts on “spontaneous cooking” and how last night’s dinner (pictured above) came together…

  • What ingredients do you have?
    • What do you have on hand and what goes together? Produce goes bad quickly, so maybe first take a look at what you have on hand in that area. I always try to use what I have. I heard once that in the U.S. 40% of food is thrown out. I do all I can to make sure my family is not wasteful in this way.
    • Last night, I knew I had zucchini, kale, mushrooms and red bell pepper from my organic produce shipment. I always have onion and garlic on hand for flavoring. So I used all of this produce!
    • I had thawed out ground turkey, so I browned this along with some onion. I added all the veggies toward the end of the browning process .
  • What do the people you’re feeding like?
    • I also had some artichokes, three huge ones, but my younger daughter doesn’t like those and my other kids are coming over soon. I’ll save these for people that will really appreciate them.
    • Both of my daughters don’t like mushrooms, but I have found that if I cut them up into very small pieces they don’t mind them so much. I made sure to cut the kale up small too.
  • What will make it taste yummy?
    • What little extras do you have on hand that can help with this? I knew I had the turkey and the veggies, but what kind of sauce should I use?
    • I had a big can of crushed tomatoes in puree, a jar of pesto sauce,  and red wine. This sounded like a yummy mix to me! I ran through other ideas in my head, such as a cream of mushroom based sauce or a curry sauce, but they just didn’t sound good last night with the types of veggies I had. In addition to the items I used to make my sauce, I also included some basic seasonings; salt, pepper and oregano. I once heard someone say “Salt is to food what breath is to life”. This is so true!!!

I hope my ramblings will be helpful to someone. I know some people don’t like to cook or are intimidated by the kitchen. My hope for you is that you’ll learn to play in the kitchen and find your joy there! Not every effort will be a success, but that’s OK. Laugh it off, learn from it and order a pizza!

When you do hit a homerun, go back and write down what you did. If you don’t keep track, you’ll never be able to recreate it! Have fun out there!