Sometimes after a particularly trying day, what I love most is opening a new bottle of wine, settling into the kitchen, taking inventory of ingredients I have on hand, and concocting a new recipe based totally on my mood (and the ingredients I have on hand).

Tonight was one of those nights. And this is what came out of it. I’m not certain that the picture does it justice, but it was quite tasty (in the words of my husband and son).

I threw together the following:

Olive oil (for browning)

Meat: I used a couple of boneless chicken breasts, sausage (I had brats on hand), and pepperoni

Vegetables: mini peppers–red, yellow, and orange; red onion, mushrooms, garlic (is that a vegetable?)

Other: olives (whatever you have on hand–Greek, black, green); pepperoncini

Liquid: 2 cans of Rotel tomatoes, 1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes, chicken broth

Seasoning: Freshly ground pepper, sea salt (also from a grinder); basil, crushed red pepper, cayenne pepper, Slap Ya Mama (from New Orleans!), Penzey’s “smoky” and “spicy” seasonings.

Brown the meat and vegetables, add the rest, and simmer for however long you have–at least 15 minutes. Serve over pasta of your choice (I used penne) and top with cheese, if you like.

I didn’t measure anything, and I don’t regret it. Neither will you. Of course, I made enough for five, not three, because as far as I’m concerned, my daughters (although away at college) still dine here in spirit every night. And I like leftovers, too. Although my son won’t touch them.

By the way–that rose in the picture? It’s from my father-in-law, who has hand delivered a rose to each of his local daughters and daughters-in-law (me) every Valentine’s Day for as long as I can remember.

I am lucky to be surrounded by good people, good food, and to have a good life.

Bon Appetit!