Recipe: Fast, yummy veggie pie

Recipe-Fast-yummy-veggie-pie-NTIM3TB-x I am a passionate and serious cook. But in the '90s, when I was food editor of a national magazine, I struggled to get dinner on the table. After a long day at work, I'd open the fridge and stare in despair. Hand me a recipe and I knew what to do. But for busy weeknights, I needed to cook without one.

To learn, I looked to the past. My mother and grandmother rarely used recipes. Instead, they cooked with techniques and formulas they had internalized.

People today have less time to cook and more choices. So I developed my own techniques that would work with my limited time and vast array of ingredients.

Published in 2000, How to Cook Without a Book was my solution. Learn a few different formulas and you can, indeed, cook confidently without a recipe.

Eleven years later, I'm still cooking by heart. But a couple of years ago my husband and I made a big decision: Eat less meat and fish so we could afford better meat and fish. I quickly found it was a new way of eating and cooking.

Once again I found myself floundering. On meatless days I wasn't as agile in the kitchen. So I did my homework and came up with a new set of basics. Now, on meatless days I cook confidently.

So here's my "recipe" for vegetable pot pie, which exemplifies a larger approach. Depending on the season or what you have around, you can create your own pot pie, and that knowledge is what keeps me happily cooking nearly every night of the week.

USA Today

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