I do this all the time. I find a recipe that looks tempting and then I make it my own by changing ingredients, the cooking instructions, or both. My latest success in this category ~ Roasted Pepper and Pumpkin Soup.
When it comes to ingredients, I like to use items already in my pantry before going out and acquiring something new, especially if it’s novel, because I hate waste and like the challenge of using everything to the last drop. I am sure this recipe is delicious with pumpkin, but I made it with butternut squash simply because I had chopped fresh butternut squash in my refrigerator.
Half the time, I think recipe writers incorporate extra (often complicated) steps because it makes their recipe somehow different or new. I just want healthy and delicious. In the original recipe for this soup, the squash, red peppers and sweet potato are oven-roasted in advance. I get that oven-roasting adds flavor, but it also adds a lot of time. Instead, I purchased roasted red peppers, saving time, preserving flavor, and yep – making it my own. Once I did that, I changed the cooking instructions to mirror the standard method for soup-making with ingredients like squash and potatoes. It turned out great!
That said, I kept the seasonings in tact. Chinese Five-Spice Powder is a common blend of spices that I happen to keep around. It’s a great seasoning for soups (and roasted chicken!). If you don’t have Chinese Five-Spice in your pantry, and prefer to use spices on hand, you can make your own blend. Enjoy!