“My Favorite Recipes” Household Binder

by Melody on February 21, 2012

This recipe binder has been a project in the works for over a year.  My recipes were such a mess and I could never find the same recipe twice.  I had approximately one zillion recipes bookmarked online and until Pinterest came along, they were threatening to overload my computer.  I had stacks and stacks of cooking magazines with way too many dog-eared pages.  I still to this day can not find my favorite roast recipe and you try Googling “roast in the crockpot”.  Good luck.

My aunt made me a fantastic notebook when my husband and I got married with copies of all her favorite recipes (and she is a GOOD cook), which inspired me to make something similar.

I have seen several different methods of creating a recipe binder, but I wanted something that wasn’t going to take me hours and hours but would still be efficient.  I wasn’t going for cute here, just functional and effective.

I chose to separate my recipes in the following categories:

Main Dishes (Pasta, Chicken, Beef, Pork, Meatless)
Side Dishes
Salads/Sandwiches
Soups/Stews
Appetizers
Breakfast
Cookies/Bars
Desserts
Muffins
Breads/Rolls
Drinks
Miscellaneous

This was hard to narrow down.  I went back and forth on how to organize and separate my recipes, but ultimately, this is what worked for my style of cooking.  The two categories that I decided to leave out were “Kid-Friendly” and “Holidays”.  I tried to think of what my first search instinct would be for a recipe.  For example, I have a fun recipe for Macaroni & Cheese Muffin Cups that my kids love.  This could definitely be filed under “Kid-Friendly”, but I think my first instinct would be to look under “Pasta”.

Instead of photocopying or rewriting every recipe, I decided to keep them in their original format (printed, recipe cards, magazine pages, etc).  For full page recipes, I just slid them in sheet protectors.  For all the smaller recipes on cards or ripped out of a magazine, I taped them together on a piece of 8 1/2″ x 11″ printer paper and then slid it in a sheet protector.  This saved a lot of time as I didn’t have to rewrite anything and I could fit more on one piece of paper.

I chose to use sheet protectors to keep the recipes a little more protected.  Hopefully, this will keep the binder intact for a lot longer than if I had just left them as hole-punched sheets of paper.  I tend to splatter when I cook.  It seems the more comfortable I get with my cooking abilities, the messier I get.

I chose to only file by category the recipes that have been tried and tested.  I add any substitution or modification notes to each one and try to remember to throw in a note about when we used it.  I think it will be fun to look back in a few years and remember what I made for my husband’s birthday cake or for a certain Easter dinner.

For all the recipes that I want to try but haven’t gotten to yet, I have a labeled sheet protector for each category.  I cut out or print the recipe and throw it in the designated folder. My plan is to toss everything I haven’t made at the end of each year.  Or every six months, depending on how full the binder gets.

I’m in love with this binder for two reasons.  I love that the majority of my favorite recipes are in one easy-to-find place and that it is so easy to add to in the future.  I also love the idea that it will chronicle my cooking style and our family’s favorite creations throughout the years.

I would love to hear how you manage your recipes.  Do you have something similar to mine or have you come up with your own system?

While my binder is not a Samsill binder, they did send me some different styles to check out.  My favorite styles were their Biodegradable Binders and their Raw Binders, both made with a high percentage of post-consumer recycled material and both 100% recyclable.  For more information on Samsill binders, click here.

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