Presto Chango

I love for things to be fun. Even the simplest things, I’m happy as long as I find a way to make them fun. For instance, putting on really great music, nice and loud, while I clean the house does wonders for me! So playing with flavors and “What if’s” when I’m cooking keeps me from ever getting bored with the weeknight dinner routine.

Take this recipe for a verrrrry simple vegetable “ragu”–a sort of stewed, cooked down mixture of veggies that can be used lots of ways. The basic idea is to dice your veg, in this case yellow onion, orange bell pepper and tomatoes (use “Petite Diced” ones, it’s quick!) and saute them in a little olive oil over a medium-low heat so they cook down and mellow out nicely, for about 20 minutes. Then…use them for an appetizer: a dollop on top of toasted crusty bread spread with cream cheese! Or; make it a meal and toss the mixture with pasta, or serve it as a sauce over some grilled chicken. Get the idea? Be open to what you might use it for and you’ve got lots of new options. But that’s not all….! (just like an infomercial, right?!)

Now, let’s play with flavors and that same easy ragu can go in lots of directions:

–As it’s cooking, sprinkle in some Italian flavors like Basil, Garlic & Oregano (or use my Italian blend from the shop, called Vinnie the Knuckles! http://www.spicetravelerprescott.com )

–Or go Middle Eastern: Add Cinnamon, Smoked Paprika, Curry powder and Mint! Start with a little of each and adjust from there to your taste. In this case, a little cinnamon mixed in the cream cheese for your appetizer would be awesome, then top with mint.

–How about Latin American? Add a touch of Cocoa powder, Cumin and Chili powder, then some fresh Lime zest at the end.

Same three veggies, but…Abracadabra!…it’s something new  :  )

Keep cookin’ and have FUN!

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