Monday, December 13, 2010

Recipe Organization and A Menu Planning Lightbulb Moment

I'm already looking forward to 2011 and one thing I'd like to do is to organize my recipes. Here are pictures of my messy recipe binders"

I love cookbooks! I have quite a few and often receive them as gifts which I love. I also often use recipes that I find on recipe sites on the internet. I love to enter a dish that I want to make in my Swagbucks search box and see what comes up.

The mistake I have made in the past is printing out the recipes I find and sticking them.... where ever! Its really hard to make a certain dish when the paper it was printed on is stuck in unknown places.

Another problem with this is that I tend to print out recipes and never get around to trying them. . I often wonder if after I'm gone that my loved ones will find all these recipes and think they are tried and true recipes that I really used!

To correct this problem I am going to start keeping only the tried and true recipes that I really use in a binder. In addition to those, I want to also add favorite recipes that are found in my cookbooks. Also, the priceless handwritten recipes passed on to me from friends and family would definitely be included, even if they are ones I don't use often. There are certain recipes that are favorites of certain family members, since each and everyone of them has different likes and dislikes. I can see these being labeled as being the person's favorite. I could hand write notes about some of the recipes.

While working on this post, I realized that what I'm really trying to create is my own personal cookbook. This would be a wonderful item to be passed down to my children and grandchildren. It would be a work in progress and continue to evolve as time goes on, only being finished when I am reaching the end of my time here on earth.

I have made an attempt at this years ago with these notebooks. I even went so far as to put in divider indexes labeling the different sections. This is all well and good, but the notebooks are so full of recipes that I can never find the one I want and will probably never cook 95% of them. So, I will go through these books and get rid of the junk and only keep the good stuff.

Recent recipes that will make it into the Debbie J Hall of Fame Cookbook are Slow Cooker Shepard's Pie, Shrimp or Chicken Fried Rice and Family Homestead Beef Stew. These are winners and I really want to cook them again and again.

Here's the Menu Planning lightbulb! Won't it be nice to plan menus with this new and improved binder in hand? There will only be tried and true favorite recipes in my new binder. I could even hand it to my hubby and let him pick what he wants to eat that week. I will regularly try new recipes from my many cookbooks and from recipe sites ont he internet. If they pass the test, they will be included in the recipe binder. If not, they will not clutter up my binder, ever again.

I already have a list of menus, main dishes and side dishes in my planner/notebook. Some of these are really not things I ever cook, so I am going to redo these lists, basing them on recipes in my new recipe binder. I really think this will make menu planning so much easier and just might be the answer to my menu planning failures in the past! A copy of these lists will be placed in the front of the recipe binder, as well as in my planner.

One of the best resources that I have access to for these tried and true recipes is my own blog! I just need to do click on the Recipes link and print out the ones I want to include in the recipe binder.


Denise said...

Sounds like a great idea, I'll have to show the mess that I call my recipe box sometime, LOL. I need to get moving on some of my end/beginning of the year paperwork organizing and purging. I love to start the year with a clean slate, you are certainly well on you way.

Granny J said...

I think that is a great idea. Once you have it put together, it would make great gifts for the family members.

Anonymous said...

Well, aren't you the organized one!! This is a wonderful idea.
How I wish that I had recipes of my mother's. Somehow, I have not a one.

Lisa has encouraged me to start a compilation of my favorite recipes.
Now, that you are encouraging folks to join you, I just might.


Mom2fur said...

I've found that there are recipes I use again and again and some only occasionally. But some I made once and haven't made again. I really don't need those in my binder, either!
I've created a recipe file on line that I use to keep track of favorites. It sure cuts down on paperwork.
Not that I'm cooking all that much these days, except for appetizers and cookies. We're all on different schedules and it doesn't work well for family meals. One meal usually means a night or two of leftovers! (But hey, they are usually good leftovers.)

Anonymous said...

I love your idea! I hope you share as you progress with it!


Alexandra said...

Debbie that's a great idea. I do the same. I find it the easiest to put the ones I use and like on my blog.

I need to post a good one that I made the other night - a version of neck bone stew. My husband loved it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Debbie,
I got my recipes organized recently too. I wrote a post about it. I used the plastice sleeves to put each recipe in. I collect more recipes than I will ever use. LOL We have our old favorites that I tend to make all the time.
I can't wait to see how you put yours together. You always have great ideals.

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