Today I’m going to share my system for organizing recipes. If I could choose a few adjectives to describe my recipe binder I would choose:
- Extremely Functional
- Basic and
Words I would NOT choose to describe my system.
- Visual perfection
- Great hand-writing 😛 or
- Type-A perfect
If you’ve learned anything from my past organization posts, it’s that I like things orderly, but have given up striving for perfection. Perfection is overrated, in my opinion, and too hard to keep up with anyway! I use my recipe book to stay in budget and have all my tried-and-true recipes at my fingertips when I want them, but I haven’t used fancy printables or identical recipe cards to do it.
Let’s jump right in…
First off, in the front of my binder, I have mini plastic page protector I’ve used to corral my to-try recipes. I try to keep these minimal by only keeping what I really, really want to try. Everything else in my binder has been tried before. That’s right. NOTHING gets taped inside unless I’ve tried it and liked it. I don’t want my experimental recipes cluttering up my beloved ones.
Note: I also have a Pinterest board where I keep my online to-try recipes, but otherwise that’s it. I actually got up the nerve to GIVE AWAY *gasp* all of my dusty recipe books a few years ago and haven’t missed them. I’m just a child of the modern age, I suppose. I like being able to read the online reviews before I try something and I’ve put our recipe book shelf space to more efficient use housing toddler school supplies.
I only sort my recipes into four categories.
- Main Courses
- Sides and
I know it’s in vogue now to get super-specific with recipe categorization (Pastas, Breads, Chicken, Beef, Salads, Vegetables…), but when I’m about to make dinner, there are usually only two categories in my head I’m concerned about. (What’s my main dish and what am I going to serve with it?)
Prepare yourself for some construction paper and crayon dividers…
Inside, I literally just TAPE whatever it is I’d like to keep. Some of my recipes have been taken out of magazines, printed offline, hand-written on recipe cards, or just penned in directly onto the page.
If it’s an easy, memorized recipe I still write the name of it in my binder so I’ll remember it as an option when I menu plan.
One of the perks of not having a ‘perfect’ set-up, is that I don’t feel badly at all writing notes to myself on top or along the side of the recipe.
If you’ve read my Keeping Our Household Budget under $300 a Month series, you know that serving budget recipes are a huge part of our secret. Do you see those tiny numbers along the side of my recipe cards? Those are price estimates. I won’t claim that they’re 100% accurate (ingredient prices vary all the time anyway), but it’s helpful in knowing the price range of the dish.
I’ve also transferred my deep freezer inventory page from my Home Management Binder, where I received a marvelous tip from one of my readers. (See, I learn things from you girls too!) Thanks to her, I’m planning on converting this page to dry-erase, which should make for much less scribbling and become a bit easier on the eyes.
This is also a great place to include any dietary notes or reference information, as well as a reminder list of healthy snacks. That way it’s right there when you menu plan or just when you’re starving and exploring the dessert section. 🙂
I know this isn’t my recipe binder, but I thought I’d include a mini-tour of the front of my fridge… Think of it as a bonus.
Aside from family photos, shopping list, and week-at-a-glance preview, my menu plan for the next two weeks is in the lower left. Basically, it’s just a dry erase board where I include two-weeks worth of dinners at a time (I only shop every two weeks). I don’t necessarily cook them all in top-to-bottom order. Instead, I just choose from the pool of available dinners and rejoice in the confidence of knowing I have all the ingredients in the fridge. Also, in that third column on the board, I include snacking options or ‘Fellowship Lunch’ reminders (for church or baby showers, etc). For those curious, I don’t ‘plan-out’ lunches or breakfasts. I just cook extra for dinners and we eat the leftovers for lunch. Breakfasts are pretty standardized around here and I just make sure we don’t run out of cereal, biscuits and gravy, or toast essentials.
So there you have it. No fancy bells or whistles, but hopefully a realistic dose of recipe organization. I’d love to hear what you think!
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