Recipes are never rules!
Use your judgment; if you've made it before and it has worked by shaking not stirring, try it! If the recipe says something will brown after 12 minutes in the oven and your's hasn't browned yet, leave it until you think its brown enough.
Taste, taste, taste!
Any good chef will tell you to taste your food multiple times as you cook. Stick your spoon in and see if it tastes good. Is your food seasoned well? Can it use more salt or pepper? Would you like it if it were a bit sweeter? Everyone's palate is different, if you think it needs something; Go for it!
Its just food... so have some fun!