Food at the speed of life: Perfection not required

I ’m not sure I know what half the recipes I try are actually supposed to taste like.

I often tweak recipes to make them easier or healthier … Or I realize at an inconvenient time I don’t have an ingredient. But by and large, food is flexible if you are.

Awhile back, a soup recipe called for Thai chiles. Can you even get those here?

I used green chiles instead. The soup was really good.

Then there was the pilaf. The recipe called for 2 cups of cracked wheat, but I had 1 1/2 cups and didn’t want to buy another box.

I put in half a cup of brown rice instead. Close enough.

Maybe rice changed the texture, but the pilaf tasted fine.

I’m also big on substitutions that decrease fat: plain yogurt for sour cream or chicken breasts instead of legs, for instance.

Of course, some substitutions won’t work. Baking soda and baking powder aren’t interchangeable, and don’t switch flour for sugar.

Caught off guard by a missing ingredient, I usually search the Internet for a substitution. Plug in, say, “egg substitute,” and you find a variety of options.

I’m no gourmet, but for me, a satisfactory meal doesn’t require perfection.