Friday, September 24, 2010

Organize Your Recipes

There are many options here. Here are some options with the pros and cons:
  • Recipe Box:
    • Pros: 
      • Can't think of any. Sorry people.
    • Cons: 
      • Waste of time! Who has the time to copy a recipe by hand onto an index card? 
      • Can get disorganized quickly. Print out a recipe from the computer? Don't have the time to write it on an index card? Guess what happens to it (and many more like it) - it gets shoved into the box. 
      • Doesn't stack well on top of each other. Which means that you end up wasting space. If you do have the wooden kind that stack, it is a pain to get the boxes on the bottom. 
  •  Photo Albums: 
    • Pros:
      • Good for those who do the box method and are fed up with it. Just put the same cards into a photo album book and you get many of pros of the notebook method.
    • Cons:
      • Expensive. Those photo albums will add up.
  • Notebooks:
    •  Pros:
      • Easy to put recipes you print or tear out of a magazine into it.
      • Easy to store. They fit in the cabinet just like a cookbook would.
      • Are kept in plastic sleeves, so food doesn't get on the paper. 
      • Easy to clean. When food does get on the plastic sleeves, just wipe off. 
      • Plenty of room for the pictures. I love a recipe that has a picture to go with it. This method gives plenty of room for that.
      • Can even fit index cards. Just glue them on a piece of white paper and slide the paper in the plastic sleeve. 
    • Cons:
      • Can be expensive. Notebooks are pretty cheap, but those plastic sleeves can add up. If you go this route, be sure to put recipes front and back.
  •  Online Resources:
    • Pros:
      • It's online. No paper. It's great for people who like everything to be online.
      • Most are free. Here's one option. Here's another
      • Wouldn't loose all your recipes in case of a fire. 
    • Cons:
      • Not for people who like paper. For the same reasons I will never get a Kindle, I will also never use an online recipe organizer.
      • May be difficult to actually use in the kitchen. You either print out the recipe or have your computer in the kitchen...not ideal.
      • Have to spend a large amount of time upfront typing out or scanning your recipes online.

    Once you choose your system, here are some tips to keep in mind:
    • Have a "to try" section. For example, if you do the notebook method, have one dedicated to recipes you haven't tried, but want to. All the others can the tried and true ones.
    • Label, label, label. Whatever your method, don't just stick the recipes in. Be sure they are organized by food type (seafood, side dishes, desserts, drinks, breakfast, breads, etc).
    • Go into as much or as little detail as you want. And do it in stages if you need to. I have a dessert and drink notebook. But, the recipes are just divided into desserts and drinks. Eventually I will add tabs and separate them into cakes, cookies, ice cream, etc. Have the grace to do what you can when you can do it. 


    1. I use the notebook method myself. It was getting out of hand though (wasn't organized with it) and actually just finished organizing this morning. haha! I bought extra binders and have one specifically for desserts now(I love to bake). Like yours, this one isn't organized into tabs yet but I'm happy to report that the other one with everything else is now.

    2. Kris - you inspire me to get tabs and start! Starting is sometimes the hardest part. :)