Recipes are wonderful tools for teaching the basic techniques of cooking. Each one is a mini-lesson of it's
own, and many of them are interchangeable for a variety of ingredients.
Since necessity is often called the mother of invention (making lack of proper ingredients the father of
invention), it's easy to see how this principle applies.
Whether you're making a stew (braising), soups (stock-making), German sauerbraten
(marinating & roasting), or simply simmering a nice filet of salmon (yup,
poaching), most recipes will give you valuable insights into the required techniques that will eventually
enable you to cook without them.
Always strive to look for the lesson within the recipe, and try to adapt it to other similar food items that the
recipe is using. It is a good possibility that the meat, vegetable, fish, etc. that is called
for, can be interchanged with something either less expensive... or at least much easier to find.
Once you begin to master this technique, you'll find it far less stressful to figure out this whole "cooking
thing". You'll soon gain the confidence to begin creating your own recipes, and wonder why
you waited so long to start.