Feb 17, 2010

Organizing Recipes

As I mentioned in my post about meal planning, I store my recipes in a binder. My mother did this, and it's always worked better for both of us than recipe cards (there's never enough room to write out the recipe!), or shoving hand written or magazine-clipped recipes into a cookbook. It really is a super-simple method that makes both finding the recipe I want and menu planning a lot easier. Here's how to do it:

1. Purchase a binder that's at least two inches wide. It should have a plastic cover so it's easy to wipe clean if you accidentally splatter it during cooking.

2. Purchase plastic sheet protectors.

3. Slip all your hand written or magazine-clipped recipes into the sheet protectors (to protect them from spills and splatters) and place the sheet protectors into the binder.

That's it! If you want to be a bit more organized, arrange the recipes by type and use paper dividers with tabs to sort them. For example, I have a section for chicken recipes, another for breads, another for cookies, and so on.

I admit I do have ancient recipes in my binder that I've never tried, but I attempt to make at least one new recipe each week. If I like the recipe, I keep it in my book. If I don't like it, I remove it from my binder - right away - and throw it away.

If you have cookbooks laying around that you rarely or never use, it's also a great idea to take some time to sort through them. If there are a handful of recipes you'd like to try, make photocopies of them and stick them in your binder. Then donate those space-hogging cookbooks to your favorite charity.

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