I know for a lot of people kitchen improvisation is intimidating. A friend of mine had an experience during which she tried to improvise cooking carrots. She massively over-seasoned and then started adding all sorts of weird stuff in a desperate bid to salvage them. The result was evidently disgusting but she had cooked all her carrots in the process so she ended up eating them anyways.
The lesson she learned (hopefully) is taste often and you can always add more but you can’t unsalt. But even with that valuable lesson, making things up in the kitchen is something she is terrified of attempting.
I, on the other hand, am a bit of a kitchen maverick. I use recipes on occasion but a lot of what I do is altered or just plain made up. But I can understand why that is not something most people are willing to do. It requires a foundation of understanding the principles of cooking as well as what flavor profiles go together.
Step one to learning to improvise in the kitchen? Watch every episode of Alton Brown’s Good Eats. My entire foundation in the kitchen came from watching him. Of course, that would take a long time so here is something you can do while you get started.
There are a lot of basic dishes that you can build upon to experiment with different options. One of my favorite basics is greens. And it is a special one for me to give you my basic formula for because I was scared to cook them for years after a disastrous thanksgiving pot of greens.