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I have found that over the past 3 or 4 years my cooking has changed. I used to collect cookbooks and used them. A lot. Now, I know what we like, about how much I need to make, and with experience I have found what tastes good together. So I end up doing what I call punting. I just dump stuff together and simple preparation. No more long involved complicated stuff. Most of the time what I make turns out pretty well. Sometimes I have a disaster, but most of the time it bears repeating. Nothing is spectacular, but that is okay. Is this a sign of experience, old age, or just being tired of being the head cook in the family. I know folks who still use their cook books and recipe files every day. I just don't want to go to the bother of looking everything up. Are there others out there like me?
 

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I'm a little bit like you; whatever sounds like it will go together, goes together. I have at least a thousand cookbooks and very occasionally I will look at them and check all of the same type of recipes in several books and then pick the things we like about each recipe and make up my own, i.e. a Spanish rice recipe. We both love it and it's very easy! Here's what I did:

SPANISH RICE

1 pkg bacon, cut small (1”)
1 onion or equivalent, chopped
¾ c uncooked regular rice
½ cup chopped green pepper
2 – 14-16 oz cans diced tomatoes, undrained
Salt
Pepper

Fry bacon crisp and drain, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings to fry onions and rice until it is opaque. Add green pepper and tomatoes and drained bacon. Salt & pepper to taste. Use Dutch oven to brown bacon, onion, & rice & after adding other ingredients, cover and bake in a 350° oven for 30 minutes. Covered 15 minutes; ajar 15 minutes.

My recipe, a combination of several. Delicious! In late 60’s or early 70’s. When I increase the rice to 1 ½ cups, I use 4 cans of tomatoes. Just makes more. Bake for 45 minutes and then check for doneness of the rice. Go in 15 min increments until rice is done. My husband didn’t like green peppers in anything (now he does like them), I would cut a green pepper into ¼’s and nestle them down into the rice mixture, cut side down to get the flavor; but I would eat the ¼ peppers and love it!
 

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Of course. I find I cook more and more from my sense of what flavors blend or enhance one another and what DH and I generally like to eat. Occasionally I use a recipe, mostly for baking which is less forgiving than cooking. And I immodestly admit I am an excellent cook and pretty much never have an unsalvageable disaster in the kitchen. Now that I've said that I fear the kitchen gods are out to savage me. i'll let you all know if they do so you can avoid the same fate.
Ellie
 

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Yes. Some things I need a cookbook for and others not so much. I am blessed to have a husband who will eat almost anything. And he loves leftovers. Some of my best dishes have been from my imagination or from friends. If you want a truly wonderful chip dip try: cream cheese, salsa, and a few jalapenos. Put the room temperature cream cheese in a bowl and beat until creamy, add the salsa (I usually use an entire jar of it but use as much as you like) and the jalapenos (again, as much as you like) and mix. Just to let you know, the jalapenos do not make it hot due to the cream cheese. I have tried it without them and it is just not the same. Use it with your favorite potato chip and enjoy.
 

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I seldom really 'cook' anymore. As a widow I'll graze on cereals, fruits, veggies, chicken, yogurt, etc throughout the day, then maybe have popcorn in the evening. So many visitors or guests have trouble with gluten, corn allergies, dairy intolerance, cholesterol, etc that when they come for a few days I let them decide what we'll have, and I help them prepare it. When I do have guests who don't have any food restrictions, I still love to prepare special meals, but those events don't happen often.
 

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I also have tons of cooking books and receipies but I only use them mostly now for baking. For everyday cooking I don't fuss hubby and I eat healthy and what is fast and easy. I do fuss a lot for holidays
Or when we have company. Everyone says I am an excellent cook but this cook is tired of cooking so I am just taking easy now.
 

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Most of my meals are made like yours, but I still like to use a recipe for something new.
I love making cakes and when I worked at the hospital and I got a new recipe, I would make the cake and take it for the doctors to "sample". If it was a hit, I would keep the recipe.
 

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I have found that when it comes to hunting up a recipe, it's usually for dessert. I would never try winging it to make a cake. Occasionally I browse through my other recipes and am reminded of something I 'd like to make again.
 

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Mu husband is the "head family cook" - and he always follows written recipies. I... always change things. And they are rarely eatable. *blush*.
 

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I love to look at cookbooks and magazines with recipes in them. I sometimes get an idea for something different, but seldom follow the recipe once I get started. I always think maybe some other ingredient would be better than what they have listed and maybe don't like one or two items, so I leave them out or add something different and when I get through..... I have something that doesn't even resemble what the recipe said..... but tastes pretty good.
 

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When I am home by myself I am the queen of one-pot meals, usually a piece of meat or fish and frozen veges. The "sauce" to bind it all together is usually ranch dressing or bbq sauce. I know, sounds gross. But it's actually not bad at all.

When I have family or friends over, I will get ideas from cookbooks - what I refer to as opening suggestions - and make substitutions based on on the preferences of my guests.

I really enjoy cookbooks, and have a small collection of them, but to actually use them and follow a recipe step by step doesn't usually happen.
 

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rotarian1 said:
I seldom really 'cook' anymore. As a widow I'll graze on cereals, fruits, veggies, chicken, yogurt, etc throughout the day, then maybe have popcorn in the evening. So many visitors or guests have trouble with gluten, corn allergies, dairy intolerance, cholesterol, etc that when they come for a few days I let them decide what we'll have, and I help them prepare it. When I do have guests who don't have any food restrictions, I still love to prepare special meals, but those events don't happen often.
Same here. My 20 y/o GD lives with me but is seldom home for a meal so I graze also and supplement with Ensure. I don't like cooking for myself and find leftovers are rarely eaten. Eat lunch out several times a week and consider that my "big meal." Another GD with children will occasionally come in a we cook for a meal together. Son and DIL live two blocks away and often either invite me down or bring me a plate. Suits me fine!!
 

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Love reading recipes but rarely use them these days. Since DH passed I don't cook very much. As another poster said, I "graze" throughout the day and always have Ensure on had as a supplement. Eat lunch out several times a week and that's my "big meal." Family nearby often invite me in or bring me a "plate."
 
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