Since we will be moving at the end of September into our new home, I have been working extra hard to try to organize a few more things so the move will be a bit easier. The recent project I have almost completed is my recipes. Recipe books are great, but who only has recipes around that are in a nice binding? It seems that half of our family approved recipes are cut-outs from magazines, prints from the computer, or sheets of paper or note cards from friends. Many are even just scratched down on whatever scrap I could find at the time.
When it comes to menu planning, my lack of recipe organization was one of my biggest hindrances. I would spend too much time looking for that recipe that I knew was around here somewhere. So with the help of other resources, I came up with a better system.
My first rule is that the recipe books I use a lot get to stay as is. Everything else goes. I started by buying a set of 3×5 note cards, tabs that are the same size, and a small storage box made for the note cards. I then began tackling the stray recipes. I took time out to write each recipe that was tried and true with our family on one of the note cards and then filed them behind the tabs under such categories as appetizers, breads, main dishes, etc. I made the categories according to what worked best for me to find the recipe quickly. A lot of the transferring to note cards happened during dinner prep.
After finishing all the “we know we love this” recipes, I actually went through my cook books and wrote down recipes that I use a lot. This isn’t really necessary, but it has helped to save time trying to remember which book each entree is in. Recipes I don’t use as often stay in the book.
For all the other recipes, I purchased a few full-size file folders and found a box that they would fit in. I wrote “Recipes To Be Tried” on the outside of the box in a black permanent marker and labeled the file folders with the same categories I used on the 3×5 tabs. Then I simply stuck all the rest of the loose pieces of paper under the appropriate category in the folders. The box is not on public display but is in a closet. I almost always pull it out when I am planning the menu each week.