How Do I Organize My Recipes?

Stacy posted that she needed to change her recipe organization, so of course I jumped at it!  I know, I'm an organizational nerd.  Nothing you don't already know.

My system is not revolutionary, and actually, several women replied to Stacy's post with similar ideas.  But as I am camera-happy lately, I took some photos to share with you all.  Keep in mind that the camera is new to me and so I'm still figuring it out- several of the photos aren't great quality.

Several years ago I was encouraged by a friend to handwrite our favorite recipes for the sake of my children.  Heather is rapidly losing her eyesite due to a congenital disease and so having things for her children in her own beautiful handwriting is very meaningful to her and it struck a chord with me, too.  I began one summer to slowly (a few a day while the children were occupied) transcribe all those little recipe cards onto sheets of lined paper I downloaded from Donna Young's site

The other reason I decided to do this was that I had several places where recipes were kept, and only I knew which recipe was in a binder, which was in the box, etc.  That system needed to change as I was beginning to have little chefs in my home who needed to be able to find recipes without me.

Sheet protectors are essential- just wipe up whatever splatters while the binder is open.


There was also the pesky problem of what to do with all the really lovely recipe cards my mother had written out for me when I got married.  She has truly memorable handwriting and I wanted those for posterity.  So I found a source on the web for plastic sheets of recipe card holders that would fit in my binder, too.  I did a search to find them for you and unfortunately couldn't find them again.

I labled the spine of each binder with the aphabetically-listed sections inside: Appetizers, Beverages, Breakfast, Bread, Cookies, etc.


Binders on the shelf, next to my favorite cookbooks.


Here's an idea I gleaned from someone somewhere on some list some time ago.



I purchased a small index card binder and a package of colored index cards.  I made six color-coded sections: Crockpot Meals (blue), Meals that take less than three hours to prepare (pink), Meals that take less than two hours to prepare (orange), Meals that take less than one hour to prepare (green), Meals that take less than 30 minutes to prepare (yellow), and Special Occasion Meals (white).

On each individual card front I wrote the meal, with sides and dessert if apropos.  In the bottom left corner I wrote where the main recipe was to be found (before I ditched the recipe box). 

On the backside of the card I wrote how many the meal serves and all the ingredients required.  When I would go to plan my meals for the week or month, I just had to glance at the cards for meal ideas and an ingredient list pre-made.



The benefits of this system were that I didn't have to reinvent the shopping list wheel every month, I didn't have to come up with new meals either, and I could throw the little binder in my shopping cart if I hadn't had the time to make out a list before shopping day.

As always, I hope that's helpful!