Last night for dinner I was planning to have a super-quick meal of pasta with a tomato-meat sauce. When I got home and checked the pantry, I realized that I had the ground beef and the pasta, but no jar of pasta sauce. Unbelievable, since I almost always have a jar of some kind of pasta sauce on hand. I didn't even have enough canned tomatoes to make a marinara sauce ,so I had to improvise.

I combined one can of Italian-style diced tomatoes with a jar of Vino de Milo bruschetta topping (spicy sun-dried tomato with chianti). I tossed in about 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, and the mixture tasted great, but when I stirred in the browned ground beef, it was a little too thick. Alas, no tomato sauce in the house, but I did have a bottle of spicy bloody mary mix in the refrigerator. Hmmm. Why not? It's close to being tomato sauce!

The result? Delicious, with a just a little "kick". My husband went back for seconds. Of course, it will be just my luck that he'll want to have a bloody mary this weekend. I feel fairly certain that I am not the only one who improvises in the kitchen. I believe that's what cooking is all about. We'd love to hear about some of your successful creations as well as the disasters. And check out some of our recipes that you can make straight from the pantry when you're in need of a super-quick dinner.