Have you ever seen a recipe in a magazine or on the Internet and thought, “That sounds pretty good, except for the [insert ingredient]”? That happens to me a lot! Sometimes it is an ingredient that someone in my family just doesn’t like. Other times I might be looking to make the recipe a little healthier, simpler or less expensive.
The great thing is that unless it is a home canning recipe, anything can be modified! (In home canning, the proportion/volume of ingredients needs to be maintained for safety.) Most ingredients can be increased, decreased, substituted or removed. Use the original recipe as a guide. There are a variety of resources available to help you make healthy recipe modifications, including Modifying a Recipe to Healthier, Adjusting Recipes to Meet Dietary Guidelines, and Recipe Makeovers.
If you have a recipe that you would like to make larger or smaller, you can do it yourself with some number crunching or find a recipe calculator online. One example is My Kitchen Calculator. This site can increase and decrease recipes by volume or portions and has a tool to convert common kitchen weight and volume measurements.
A few words of caution though:
- Making too many changes in a recipe can make it hard to pinpoint the culprit if the dish flops.
- Try making only 1 or 2 changes each time you make the recipe so you can see how the dish responds.
- When increasing herbs and spices, err on the side of caution. You can always add more, but you can’t take it out.
One of my favorite “Kate Originals” started as a college student survival recipe for clam chowder in a hot pot. It is now a 10 minute ham and corn chowder that is a cold weather staple at my house! Happy cooking!
- Brinkman, P. (2015). Modifying a Recipe to be Healthier. Ohio State University Extension. HYG-5543.
- Franzen-Castle, L., Jones, G. and Albrecht, J. (2013). Adjusting Recipes to Meet Dietary Guidelines. University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension. EC422.
- Garden-Robinson, J., Ryant, J., Gold, A. (2011). Now Serving: Recipe Makeovers! North Dakota State University Extension Service. FN1447.
- My Kitchen Calculator. mykitchencalculator.com.