It is very hard for me to pass up a good recipe or a good cookbook. I try new recipes a few times a month (much to the chagrin of my picky little girls who would rather I never try anything new). And honestly, sometimes things do not turn out well. I have given our dog our dinner and ordered pizza more than I care to admit. I chalk this up more to bad recipes than to my actual cooking. My husband might doubt me on that, since he often says that checking Facebook while I am supposed to be stirring something is the cause of the bad food. But back to the point, I have a lot of recipes.
And when you have a lot of something, you need to have a system to keep it all organized. Cookbooks, pages ripped from magazines, hand-written recipes handed down from generation to generation, email printouts of your best friend’s tomato soup, and the thousands of recipes you have pinned on Pinterest all need a place to call home.
My recipes used to be in a drawer in my kitchen. I knew where to find them, and, if I flipped through all of the pages, I would find the one I was looking for. But it maybe wasn’t the most organized way to store them, so I decided to change my system.
Maybe it’s time to change your system, too. First, gather all of your recipes. Then spread them all out on a table. Start putting similar ones together, and throw out recipes you will never use again. Put your favorite recipes all in a pile. Separate side dishes from veggie dishes, pot roasts from breakfast casseroles. Or separate them by the amount of time they take to cook (i.e. 10 minute recipes, 30 minute recipes, slow cooker recipes). Or by the way you might use them; for example, family dinners, romantic dinners, company dinners, and holiday dinners might be good choices.
Now you have categories! You may want a category for just poultry, red meat, and pork, or you may want sub-categories for Mexican poultry dishes versus Italian poultry recipes. Some might want a category for ground beef and one for steaks. You might just want breakfast, lunch and dinner categories. Whatever works for you. It will all depend on how many recipes you have and how specific you want to be. Be sure to make a category for “Favorites” and one for “New Recipes”. Your favorite recipes will always be easy to find, and you can test out a new recipe before it goes in a file.
Once you have your categories, you need somewhere to put them. I use magazine file boxes and file folders that I keep in one of my kitchen cabinets. Another idea is to get a three ring binder and sheet protectors to keep each recipe. A small recipe box, index cards, and dividers are great tools if you plan to rewrite recipes instead of just ripping them out of magazines. Think about how much room you have to keep your recipes and what method might be best for you.
And as always, get rid of what you do not need, use or love. You may not have the room to store all of the cookbooks and recipes that you currently own. Unless you plan on building out your kitchen in order to fit more cookbooks, you might need to purge some of them. Which ones are not important? Which ones have never been used? Which ones can you tear out a page or two and then recycle?
All this recipe talk has made me hungry! I’m off to go through my “Snack” file to see what I can fix myself.