I have this idea in my head that baking requires a recipe, but cooking does not. I guess it is easy enough to make passably okay food without using a recipe, but I find that foods I make following a recipe are vastly more delicious. I might not yet have the skill of cooking incredibly delicious foods without a recipe, but I do have a fairly good eye for finding recipes we really enjoy. And that is a good start.
I also sometimes know exactly which food elements I'd like to combine, and then go searching for a recipe. If the internet fails to deliver, then I might do my best to make something up based on a few different recipes I saw. Here is one such example: SpinApPom Salad. I wanted to make a salad with pomegranate, apple, and spinach. A lot of the search results had feta, which normally I really like, but wasn't really wanting that in this salad. I managed to find one recipe that was nearly what I want, but you know what they did? They mixed a third of a cup of sugar into their dressing! Plus honey! Whaaaa? I always thought the idea of an unhealthy salad was laughable, but now I know!
So here is what I did:
pile of spinach
one chopped apple (I used a pink lady, because I like her.)
seeds from about a quarter of a pomegranate
topped with a dressing made from:
2 T balsamic vinegar
2 T olive oil
a bit of honey
a dash of salt
And it was so tasty! This was more than enough dressing for two salads, in case anyone is keeping track.