Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Recipeless Success

I think I have mentioned before that I am a bit of a slave to recipes. I actually prefer baking to cooking because it almost requires precision. Most people don't just 'wing' it when baking. No recipe will call for "baking powder to taste." Can I just say how much I HATE it when a cooking recipes says something like, "salt to taste". That basically sends me into a bit of a panic because I just don't trust my palette...

However, on Monday night, I was craving some comfort food but had no desire to sift through recipes.

So I channelled the spirit and capabilities of my younger sister, Abby. You see, Abby doesn't really seem to 'need' recipes. She throws caution to the wind and just wings it much of the time (as does my older brother Kevin). When I was visiting Abby in May, I couldn't believe how little she relied on recipes!!

So on Monday, I decided to try winging it. I had some leftover veggies and chicken in my fridge so I put together my own little rendition of dirty rice:

2 Chicken Breasts, chopped and sauteed
1/2 Green Pepper
1/2 Red Onion
2 cans of Fire Roasted Tomatoes
Salt, Pepper, Cumin, and Crushed Red Pepper - wait for it - to taste

I put this over some brown rice and voila! Dinner is served!



Was it gourmet? Not by any stretch of the imagination. Was it delicious and healthy? Absolutely.

I still prefer to cook with a recipe, but this is definitely a dish that will be added into my rotation since it's great as leftovers for lunch.

Are you a slave to recipes or are you more likely to wing it like my siblings? Also, do you cook much during the week? It's a RARE occasion for me to make an actual meal on a week night. I usually live on left overs, baked potatoes, and salads...

23 comments:

Charbelle said...

Yay!!! This looks amazing and yummy!!! Love the colors!! I wing it 99% of the time and even when I'm baking I reference a recipe but will usually add and subtract stuff at will. Sometimes it turns out better than others and yes I've had to throw whole things away but I like the experimentation of it.

Becky said...

Mmm, that looks great! Oh I definitely use recipes - I hate just "throwing something together."

Salut! chou chou said...

I'm constantly in awe of my mother's capability of just adding things to a recipe and having it still turn out just right. When I'm cooking, I'm totally paranoid that if I don't follow everything in a recipe, that it will turn out wrong. It is actually enough to cause me anxiety! I take cooking way too seriously I guess.

Kelly said...

I would say I actually "cook" maybe 1 night of the week, but even then its usually less than a 30 minute process haha. Much longer than that is saved for Sunday.

This looks like a delicious meal. I don't usually use recipes because the long ridiculous ones drive me crazy and I also can't stand salt to taste. My meals are very simple and usually don't require a recipe which is why I usually just cook for myself haha

Abby said...

Yum, Lisa! That looks delicious!! :)

Just know there are my moments where I "wing it" -- and it's frightening. One time I made this rice and "really" winged it - experimenting with lots of ginger and curry -- it was frightening. It turned out like "Highligher Yellow".

I am proud of you for stepping away from the Betty Crocker book ;)

J said...

I usually am a slave to recipes! I just don't feel confident enough yet as a cook to just make something from scratch.

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

I'm actually really bad at using recipes. I just keep tossing things in until it seems like a good mix...so yes everything I make is like a casserole!

Marlys said...

I like to use a recipe as a basic plan, but add or remove things to my liking. Although, for baked products that doesn't always work! I only change additional ingredients while baking, not the essentials! Glad you tried winging it and it looks delish!

abbi said...

Looks great! I like to wing it now on cooking but I was such a slave to recipes for a very long time. I still tend to use them as a guide but I'm no longer afraid to mix things up.

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

Precision scares me (one wrong measurement or forgotten ingredient and your whole recipe is screwed). But, I also need some structure (I never know whether a dish needs cumin or cilantro to make it taste better). I guess that means I fall somewhere in the middle.

BTW, your dinner looks delicious!

Gracie (Complicated Day) said...

We're so opposite on this...I never use recipes, even if I find one I like. Even then I use it as a flavor guideline and totally wing it. I rarely use measuring spoons and never use a measuring cup! I bet that makes the your mathematical self shudder!
But got to tell you, your dinner looks exciting. Keep up the experiments!

Nora said...

That looks delicious! And now I'm hungry =)

Quite a few of the dishes that I make are not from a recipe; I know the ingredients and suggested guidelines, but I do my own thing (usually Italian dishes, both pasta and otherwise of course). The first time I make a dish, I follow the recipe but after that I tend to experiement a little bit to see how I can improve (or ruin, I suppose) a dish =)

Sassy Molassy said...

nice work, lisa! That looks delish but seems pretty easy...the best kind of week night meal. I usually cook a few meals mid week. Most are fast and easy (spaghetti, salad w/ chicken on top, stir fry, eggs), but sometimes I make a more time consuming dish. Last night I made chicken enchiladas! Yum!

B and B said...

Have you read some of your Grandma McDougall's bread recipes in her collection? Some (mostly recipes from your great grandmother) don't indicate any amount of ingredients, the cook just needed to know by look and feel how much water, flour and salt to add. One of her recipes directs one to bake in the morning with a "good fire", indicating the cook was using a wood stove oven. What a different world!

Rachel @ MWF Seeking BFF said...

I am a strict recipe follower. To the point where if we are supposed to heat the garlic for two minutes and someone wants to move on early, I'm the one yelling "but the recipes says...!!" Every now and then I will wing it as you did, but generally I just don't trust my cooking skills enough. My goal is to one day be a intuitive cook, but for now I live by the rules. It's funny, I think how we cook mirrors how we live. I am a strict rule-follower in general. I don't really like winging it. My brother's girlfriend is more "lets see what happens" in life, and when we took a cooking class together she definitly thought my adherance to the recipe was crazy....

Amber (Girl with the red hair) said...

I'm like your sister - don't really follow recipes when cooking! So often I won't have all the ingredients for something I decide to make so I have to improvise anyways!

Sometimes it doesn't work out, but most of the time it works out and tastes yummy! Your meal looks delish :)

"E" said...

My mouth is watering looking at this delicious-ness!!! Way to go Lisa with your impromptu recipe!!! Maybe you'll have to try it again sometime since obviously your first attempt went well :)

Stephany said...

I usually follow recipes to the tee! I'm not always good at cooking so I need those recipes. Hehe. Sometimes, I'll take out certain ingredients if I know I won't like them but for the most part, I don't stray. :)

meents said...

i love it. that's the way my dad cooks. whatever's in the fridge is fair game. the only drawback is that he can't give me a recipe for anything because he never follows one!

Lisa-Marie said...

Hurrah! I am proud of you, This is pretty much the way I cook. Even when I use recipes, I find myself changing the ingredients.

Shoshanah said...

I'm the exact same way as you. I almost never cook anything without a recipe. Even when I have the idea to cook up something simple, I still wind up searching for a simple recipe online.

pinkflipflops said...

haha.. i wing it. i hate baking because of the precision. i sometimes don't have the necessary stuff or mesauring cups soooo it gets tricky.. i love throwing random stuff together! when i am working, i do not cook 5 nights a week.. my hubby usually cooks. when i am home during the summer i cook more. if i was single i would live on baked potatoes.

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

I cook during the week, but I either follow recipes, or make something I know how to make. I will experiment more on the weekends.