There are those who enjoy the rubric of a formal recipe, and cooking by precise measurements and ratios. Then there are the rest of us, busy improvising in the kitchen with a pinch of this and a dash of that. If you belong to the latter group, you’ll love the recipes we’ve listed here, all of which are infinitely adaptable to be vegetarian, lower-carb, or simply more applicable to the ingredients you have in your kitchen at this very moment.
|Swiss Chard & Onion Frittata
Frittatas are arguably the most customizable dish on the planet. Stick to the measurements in this Swiss Chard & Onion Frittata recipe, but try swapping kale, spinach, escarole or another leafy green for the chard, and any type of cheese for the parmesan—an aged cheddar or gouda would be nice. To reduce the cholesterol in this recipe, you can substitute 4 egg whites for 2 of the whole eggs.
|Chicken, Broccoli and Cashew Stir-Fry
While this stir-fry recipe calls for chicken breast, broccoli and cashews, think of it as a general template. Don’t like broccoli? Try subbing celery, asparagus, bok choy or another crisp-tender green vegetable. Don’t have boneless, skinless chicken breast on hand? Consider using chicken thighs or even firm tofu.
|White Bean, Kale and Sage Soup
This greens-and-beans soup is made savory with the addition of pancetta (salt-cured pork belly), but you could use other cured pork products like bacon, salt pork, lardo, guanciale or even ham would work as a flavor enhancer here. In addition to Great Northern or cannellini beans, which are both varieties of white beans, just about any other type of dried bean—cranberry, pinto, kidney, lima, even black-eyed-peas—would be great here.
|Pork and Sage Sausage Patties
There’s no reason to buy pre-packaged breakfast sausage when it’s so easy to make, as demonstrated by this pork sausage recipe. If you aren’t crazy about sage, thyme and rosemary herb combination used here, substitute it with your favorite herbs (anything from oregano to fresh-chopped tarragon would be fantastic). Want to eat a little lighter? Try the recipe with ground turkey instead.
|Spinach and Vermicelli Soup with Fried Egg
This brothy noodle soup is prepared with chicken broth, but would also be wonderful with a vegetable-based broth, a beef bone broth or anything in between. Likewise, you can skip the vermicelli if you’re watching your starch intake, or replace it with another rice-based noodle or angel hair pasta.
The only ingredients that truly define minestrone, a traditional Italian soup, are fresh vegetables, extra-virgin olive oil, and Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese. This rendition contains both ham and ditalini (small tubular pasta), but you don’t have to include either.