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)
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.