Do you find yourself clipping and bookmarking endless recipes and buying yet more beautiful cookbooks? Do you find yourself making the same dishes over and over instead?
Accumulating recipes without taking any action just leads to clutter. This series of posts will teach you how to weed through your current collection of recipes, toss ones that you will never prepare, and organise the ones that you love. You will also create a system for recipes you want to try and thereby a maintenance system for your recipe binders.
A small investment of time now will make menu planning a breeze and will push you to try new recipes all the time.
Supplies you need:just 3 items: binders, sheet protectors and dividers
Your current recipe collection (if you have them stashed all over the house go collect them all)*
2 binders (2 or 3 ring simple or lever arch style) – no need to be crafty if you are not. I simply use nice binders and put a label on them and call it a day. If you love to scrapbook etc go all out.
A box of sheet/page protectors
1-2 packs of wide tabbed dividers (to be seen beyond edge of pages)
*If this will be a big project for you, perhaps break this post down into 2 days: take today to collect the recipes and sort them, and the next available day to create the binder.
First we need to sort your collection:
- Divide your recipes into 2 groups/piles – recipes you already love to cook regularly (we will deal with these today) and those you hope to try in the future (later or the next day available).
- For recipes in cookbooks or saved as bookmarks you can simply list them on paper or in a file on your computer. It is important to write them down somewhere so you have a quick reference.
Now we will work on your “tried and true” recipe binder of favourites:
1. Decide on your categories to classify your recipe collection. This will depend on your own tastes and what way you think about your meals. For me, I have 7 categories which are red meat, white meat, seafood, pasta, vegetarian mains, side dishes / veggies, and soups. This is just for my savoury dishes as I have a separate binder for sweets and kid meals to keep meal planning simplified.
Alternatives include: by cuisine type (Italian, Greek etc); courses and meals (Breakfast, Lunch, Starters, Mains, Desserts etc) or whatever works for you.
2. Sort through your collection and divide by category. Use this time to weed through your collection looking for duplicates (do you really need 3 different lasagne recipes? Decide) or recipes that no longer fit your lifestyle or preferences (If someone in your household is on a restricted diet perhaps you no longer want to keep any deep fried foods in your main binder)
3. Label your dividers with your categories.
4. Place all recipes in sheet protectors and file in their sections. I do not put them in any special order that would be hard to maintain. I tend to put them back in beginning of the section when I finish and know to look beyond the first few pages to find less used recipes.
master list – index
5. Type up a master list of all your recipes by category including those in cookbooks etc- this document should live at the beginning of your binder for quick consultation when meal planning and updated as you add new recipes to your binder (After typing the full list I just add handwritten notes as it changes, periodically update the digital version, and reprint a few times a year– keep it simple).
In part 2 of this series we will create your “to try” recipe binder and I will have you asking yourself some great questions to cull this stash of recipes. Do not simply repeat the process used for your first binder! Then in part 3 I will have you put your recipe binders into action.
Do you have a recipe binder already? Will you make one now? Let me know if you have any questions about this topic or other areas of kitchen organising and I will try to cover them.
Find your simple,