Thursday, November 3, 2016

Recipe Organization / Menus

Things have changed in recent years with my recipe organization. It has been a process, and over this past weekend, I took some more time to pretty much finish up the process of change.

The big change was switching over from collecting recipes on 3x5 cards, to collecting them on full-size paper (8 1/2 x 11 inch). I've been adding my recipes to Plan to Eat, an online resource where I store my recipes. From there, I can print them out, and also can freely copy and share them here on my blog, as well. 

But regardless of whether they are stored online or not, it is so much easier to have them printed out on full-size paper. I slip each recipe into a plastic sleeve, and store them in my various three-ring binders. 

I have one binder for my main dish and sides recipes ... and these are the label categories I use at the time:
Slow Cooker

And another binder for these categories of recipes:

And one more binder, with similar categories, for NEW recipes to try ... you can get a glimpse of this binder in the photo below. I like to print out recipes that look fun to try, and keep them in this notebook. I usually try to pick about one new recipe from this collection each week to prepare. Though I have many recipes collected in my two main notebooks, all favorites - I always love to try new recipes. It's what makes it fun for me to be in the kitchen and prepare meals ...

Each week I gather these notebooks and choose the recipes that I want to try to use during the coming week. (Occasionally I do several weeks at a time.) Sometimes it's a bit of a process, as I have collected so many recipes over 45 years of marriage! I took some time this past weekend to simplify my collection, removing those that I don't use anymore (even removing NEW recipes that I've collected and don't plan to use after all) ... and this should make it easier to plan menus in the future. 

In the photo above you see the recipes that I have pulled out of the various notebooks to try to use this week. I say "try" because I am very flexible with my menu plans for the week, and more often than not, change things around as the week goes on. 

Having my recipes easily accessible in my notebooks, and a menu plan made out for each week is a life-saver for me, and keeps me more consistently preparing nutritious meals. Maybe even more so in these empty nest years, when it is just too easy to grab food, or even pick up fast food more often than is good for us.

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