This is the opposite of a disclaimer. This is permission to change, omit and add almost anything; to break all rules and improvise.
Baking might be about chemistry, but cooking is all about layering.
So, whilst in baking any (relatively) small change or substitution might have a huge (positive/negative) effect, in cooking you have, I would say, infinite flexibility to mess around with things, almost “risk free”.
It is true that if you take away or substitute enough ingredientes, eventually you’ll have an altogether different recipe…. so what!
Go ahead and make all the changes you want to make!
You don’t like fennel- don’t use any, find another spice instead!
You don’t like cauliflower? I understand, I hated it for 90% of my life until I discovered it roasted with parmesan. Maybe give the veg a try (I did and have never looked back); or find another brassica or crunchy vegetable you can stand.
You’re freaked out by kojak noodles but you’re not gluten-free or low carb? Then use normal wheat, buckwheat or whatever noodles. Or maybe try some courgette/vegetable noodles instead.
A meal without meat is not a meal? I used to be one of those- do what you need to do! Replace the tempeh with pork, or chicken, or whatever you have at hand.
In the kitchen (with a minimum of common sense, health and safety-wise), in case of doubt DON’T ASK, just try it out!
By experimenting and trying things out sometimes we create chaos, yes, but other times we can end up concocting our new favourite dish.
I was not kidding when I said I usually don’t know what I’m going to make when I come into the kitchen, no premeditation.
Enjoy the process of putting things together and thinking how one element might work with or in contrast with another.
And in case of doubt, just give it a try.