4.25.2011

Mangia Mondays:: Organizing Recipes

Good Monday my friends! I hope you had a wonderful weekend and a happy Easter if you celebrate it!  We are lucky enough to have lots of family nearby and enjoyed not one, but two Easter dinners yesterday! 

It was determined on Easter Sunday that my eldest child, at age 12, is officially taller than all his grandparents, mother and possibly father (who is in denial about this!)

Since I wasn't hosting either dinner, I had oodles of time to spend going through all my recipes and realized I have an issue with collecting them.  I'm a recipe hoarder, it's true!  I have tons of cookbooks but am always pulling recipes out of magazines or printing them off blogs like yours!  I love trying what you link up to Mangia Mondays, this fun blog hop masterminded by my fabulous friend Kristin of Delightfully Dowling!  

I was overdue for a recipe file clean-up, and thought I'd share with you a system that has worked for me for several years, which I'm now handing down to my niece.

As a gift for Angela this past Christmas, I started pulling together all my favorite tried-and-true recipes for her.  I bought these two cute quatrefoil binders at Staples that are pretty enough to keep on the kitchen counter or shelf, along with dividers, and copied recipes from my files to put in them.  I love having my own recipes in binders that I can open on my counter or put on a plate stand when I am cooking. 

As I do for myself, I have Angela's binders divided into categories that haved worked for me (I need more dividers!  I went crazy dividing these recipes into categories!)

beef
poultry
pork
seafood
veggies
starch veggies (potatoes, risotto, corn)
pasta
salads
soups
sauces
breakfast
appetizers
cookies and bars
desserts (of the non-cookie/bar variety - cakes, etc.)
breads
drinks
take out menus
 "other" for miscellaneous food-related articles or kitchen tips.

Other sections you might consider:  vegetarian dishes, allergy-friendly,  meatless entrees, holidays (cakes and treats specific to Halloween, for example).

I also added a plastic sleeve for storing food and tablescape photos that might be inspiring. 
This first photo below is a beautiful veggie & dip display on tiered plates. 


Each binder is labeled with the contents:
I made sure to buy binders that have pockets inside.  Before I officially add a recipe to my own books I pop it into the pocket until I have a chance to try it and determine if it's a keeper or not.  In the past I would have 50,000 recipes that I never tried clogging up my files.  When I'd go searching for a recipe I would find myself feeling overwhelmed - the exact opposite feeling I want to get from a hobby I love!


I keep a 3-hole punch in a drawer in my kitchen, and if a recipe is a keeper it has the honor of joining the binder. 

I also make notations on the recipe about changes or if a dish was greatly enjoyed.  (I do this in my cookbooks too - very helpful the next time around!)

It's a bit of work to organize your recipes initially but once you do it it's a breeze to maintain. 

Do you have a system for organizing your recipes?  What has worked for you?
I love chatting with you about food every Monday and can't wait to see what you've got cooking this week!
 
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5 comments:

Kristin said...

my recipes are everywhere... i NEEDED this post to inspire me to get organized!! that binder is too cute & i love love love {& really appreciate} all of your organizational tips! thank you, thank you, lisa! :D:D:D

...i know what i'll be doing as soon as finals are over!

Mandi@TidbitsfromtheTremaynes said...

Love LOVE this idea, Lisa! The binder is such a fabulous idea. Definitely on my to-do list!

Rene said...

What a milestone to be taller than the grandparents! I am experiencing the very same milestone with my oldest. He might be taller than his dad now. Love the recipe book ideas and what a sweet gift.

I hope you had a wonderful Easter!

Tracy said...

I have been thinking of starting a binder like this for my 21-year-old daughter who is on her own and likes to cook. I've been thinking and thinking...I love what you've done! Just the inspiration I need to get going.

Anonymous said...

I use a binder too but I keep all the recipes in plastic page covers so i can pull one out to use and it is protected. I don't punch holes in things because sometimes you lose info so I drop them in a page protector and they are there waiting for me.
My daughter bought my binder for Mother's Day last year and it is very easy to keep up with and so much easier to find what I need.