Hey everyone! How has your week been? Mine has been busy. There’s a never-ending list at work and always cleaning to do at home. But sometimes you just need to let everything go and cook something.

This week let’s discuss recipe variations. How comfortable are you when it comes to making changes to a recipe? I’m probably what some would call “too comfortable.” I will change a recipe in a heartbeat. Sometimes it can be to my own detriment but, hey, you live and learn.

My thoughts - do not be afraid to change it up. In a lot of recipes, the exact measurements are important. However, in most recipes it’s not a huge deal and this makes it easier to transform the recipe. Normally I’ll follow the recipe the first time I make something. Then it’s game on and the variations are on the way.

For example, this week I made ham and cheese mini muffins. They were OK, not great, even my husband said they could be better. They tasted fine warm and we decided to add some gravy on top to make them better. We ended up with a nice dinner and conversation about how to change the muffins for next time.

There just wasn’t enough meat or cheese and they were a little dry. One must be honest about food. No lying. Either it’s good or it isn’t. So, of course, I gave the “OK” muffins to my in-laws. They’ll have them for breakfast with coffee so the dryness won’t be a big deal.

Now, to my transformation of the recipe. I have decided to try it with chopped dried beef instead of cubed ham, a touch more milk, and add extra cheese. The dried beef has more flavor to bring to the table than the ham. I think this will make a tremendous difference in the final product. I plan to make it this weekend and let everyone know next week how it turned out.

What are some ways you change recipes?
• Do you add or remove vegetables? I almost always take out onions or peppers in any recipe that calls for them unless they are cooked into the food. If they are served with the food I may still use them. Onions and peppers add great flavor - I just don’t like to eat the vegetable itself.

• Do you add cheese? I add cheese on a regular basis, my family loves it in most of the casseroles I fix.

• Do you add or remove the spices you prefer when you are baking? I know I take out nutmeg a lot, it is a little strong for us. But I will almost always add extra cinnamon. We love cinnamon.

Any recipe can be modified to your personal tastes. It only takes a little time and creativity. Just think about the flavors you would like to add or take away from the meal. Be willing to step outside of your comfort zone in following a recipe exactly. Instead, take a chance and be flexible.

Let me know what recipes you have made for the better or worse! We all have those stories to share. I know I have my fair share.