We love to cook. And, we are proud to say organizing is not the only thing that runs in the family! Our mom is a fabulous cook and taught us everything we know. In addition, we can happily say we have picked up a few skills of our own along the way.
While we have many family recipes and traditional dishes we cook, there is something exciting about trying new recipes. With social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest, as well as the multitude of cooking websites and more, there are an abundance of recipes accessible to those searching for help or looking to cook something new. Even if you don’t cook often, or if you have just started to experiment with cooking, collecting and organizing your recipes is beneficial in many ways.
The last few months of living in quarantine furthered our desire to cook new things. As a result, our recipe boxes became a pile of unorganized chaos! It was time to give them a much-needed makeover. If you can relate to this, or if you just want to finally sit down and gather your recipes in one place, we have a few easy steps to help you get them in order. Our process provides an organized approach to cooking and makes meal planning and grocery shopping so much easier! Flag your recipes for the week and when you are ready to go to the store, just jot down the ingredients you need for each recipe you plan to cook. It’s truly this simple.
Our Process for Organizing and Creating A Recipe Book:
Step 1: Categorize your recipes.
Sort your recipes into neat piles based on the types of recipes you have. For example, we organized our recipes into the following categories: sauces & dressings, breads, appetizers, sides, soups, entrees (which we further divided into vegetarian, fish, pork, beef, and chicken), desserts, and miscellaneous. You can use our categories, or create your own. Use categories that represent the food you like to cook!
Step 2: Eliminate recipes, if you need to.
Go through each pile and toss any recipes you no longer use or want, or that may be a duplicate. For instance, we found in each of our piles several variations of the same type of dish. We kept the ones we liked best and threw away the ones we no longer use.
Step 3: Format and Organize Your Recipes.
Take a look at your recipes and decide what format you want to use to organize them. If you have the time you may want to type them out, so you have a standard look. If you don’t have the extra time, you can still achieve a uniform look by printing and photocopying your recipes. We had a hodgepodge of recipes – everything from magazine clippings, handwritten notes, to computer print outs and old recipe cards. Because of the variety of formats, we decided to create 8.5 x 11 pages that would fit into a 3-ringed binder. Here’s how Marisa organized her recipes.
- Taking one category at a time, neatly trim the edges of each recipe so that only the recipe itself remains. Do this for magazine clippings and, if necessary, any handwritten recipes and recipe cards.
- Arrange the recipes on a blank piece of 8.5 x 11 paper with tape, never putting more than 3 recipes on a page. Some recipes, particularly those printed from cooking websites, are already on an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper so there is no need to trim or tape these.
- You can take an extra step and photocopy the pages that are taped, in order to create a neat and uniform look.
- Place each 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper in a clear page protector. This protects the recipe from getting dirty or damaged. It will also make it easy to place your recipes into a 3-ring binder without having to punch holes in the paper itself.
Step 4: Create a Custom Binder.
You are now ready to place your recipes in a binder. Create dividers for each of your recipe categories (see Step 1). Once you create the dividers, insert them into the binder along with the recipes for each category. Make sure to select a binder size that will hold the number of recipes you have. We decided to have some fun with this, so we both created our own custom recipe binder on Zazzle (Zazzle.com). They have a variety of designs you can personalize and customize, and there are plenty of inexpensive options too. It’s a great way to spruce up the place you store your recipes.
Order is bliss… enjoy our organized approach to cooking with your new recipe book!
Mission Accomplished. House Organized.