Like bean bags in a dorm room, the recipe cards of our mothers generation have slowly become a thing of the past. I know there are still some card collectors out there, but there is no denying the internet has changed how we find and organize our recipes.
With the vast array of delicious recipes on blogs and Food Network (just to name a few of the many sources), it is hard not to find a new recipe that temps your tastebuds.
How do we organize all of those recipes we’ve collected from countless sources and stored in as many different forms? The key is to find something that will work for you.
When you’re looking for a recipe you want the search to be quick and painless. Here are two versions of a dinner recipe binder used to corral all of your gems. I reused an old black binder from my classroom days and labeled the spine, Everyday Recipes.
I have another binder for special occasion recipes I use infrequently (like my Christmas fudge). It is partially a matter of taste, but I like to have paper copies of recipes printed from the Internet. In addition to making it more convenient for use in the kitchen, this also allows me to easily combine them with my magazine recipes.
Yes, I do have a Cooking for Dummies book and it has been very useful! Inside the binders are plastic sheet protectors to slip each recipe in.
Plastic sheet protectors are really what make the binder functional for me for 3 reasons.
1. It is simple to assemble or change out any recipe that has stopped working for our family. For instance, last year I restricted our daily sugar intake and I was able to quickly pull out any recipe that didn’t fit within our new dietary restrictions.
2. When I am planning our menu for the week, I can remove a recipe or two from the binder to store in my weekly menu file. When I am referring to the recipe, I can lay it on the counter while cooking. If I spill something, which is quite often, I can quickly wipe off the plastic without the recipe being the worse for the wear.
3. When I print out recipes from the Internet, I try to reuse/recycle paper and print on the back of an old document. Then I slip it in on one side of the plastic sleeve and the reused side is covered by a different recipe. This also allows me to organize by type instead of printing double sided recipes that I don’t necessarily want next to each other in the binder. If I do tear a recipe out a magazine and it is double sided the sheet protector will show both sides.
My binder is organized by types of dishes. The plastic sheet protectors extended farther than regular dividers so I custom made dividers for my recipe binder. If there were any misconceptions that I am a perfectionist, this picture will prove otherwise.
I try to use what I have on hand before making extra purchases and in this case I used thin cardboard for my binder dividers. I know, it doesn’t look like much but it worked perfectly as an interim solution. Mini-intervention needed with these puppies.
Avery Write-On Tabs are a little high for my price range, but such a clever solution. I justified my purchase with the multiple projects I can use them for. I immediately thought of at least 3 projects they would be perfect for and so I divided the price across the board to arrive at a reasonably low price per project.
They are very easy to use and the adhesive allows you to re-stick over and over.
What a difference it made! Right?
I am delighted to share another take on a recipe binder compiled by my dear friend and running partner Natalie.
She cuts out each of her recipes and glues them on color coded paper. Green is for seafood, purple is for chicken, yellow for beef, pink for vegetarian dishes, blue for breakfast, and orange is for desserts. She can easily find the type of dish she needs by looking at the paper color.
Her binder is so tidy and put together that it feels like you are flipping through a magazine.
She also likes to include a picture with each one of her recipes.
I love how our binders are very similar but each work with our own personal style and preferences. I keep it simple and just slip the recipe in and Natalie appreciates the extra touch of pictures and well laid out pages.
To keep my binder from doubling in size, I am selective about which recipes find a coveted spot in a plastic sleeve. When I find a recipe online, I simply copy and paste it into a document and save it in a ‘To Make’ file which is also organized by type of dish. Before I print a recipe from the computer I must have given it a try and anticipate making it again.
When I first tear out a recipe from a magazine, I file it in an accordion file organized by type of dish- entrée, side dish, salads, desserts.
When I am looking to switch things up in the Everyday Recipe menu department, I can quickly scan through a collection of recipes I have decided sound temping. This saves me from doing random and fruitless Internet searches.
How do you make sense of all of the recipes that catch your eye? Do you have a collection of downloaded recipes or well-loved cookbooks? Do you prefer organizing recipes on your computer? Do you still love the simplicity and time honored tradition of handwriting your recipes on cards? Share away!
P.S. Organizing Junkie has complied resources for digital maniacs who are looking to organize their recipes online and do away with all the paper clutter.