Organizing Your Recipes
By Patrick Carpen
While many of us enjoy cooking, it isn't always easy to keep track of our impressive recipe collections. In order to make your recipes easier to find (and not to mention giving your patience a break!), we're going to talk about a few ways you can get your recipes organized.
Instead of storing your recipes in the "haphazard shoebox" fashion, how about converting them into a nice recipe book? If most of your recipes are on index or recipe cards, a photo album with plastic sleeves may work particularly well for you as long as the card fits comfortably in the slot. If you have quite a large collection of recipes, try obtaining a large family photo album that allows eight to twelve slots per sleeve (front and back). The order you put the cards in is totally up to you, as your recipe book should reflect your preference. Some people prefer to sort based on main dishes, desserts, breads/pastries, beverages, etc., while others prefer alphabetical order.
If you don't have your recipes on cards, or if you're like most people, you might have your recipes on papers and cards of all shapes and sizes. If this is the case, you might want to think about typing them all up and printing them off. After all of your recipes are transferred to this new format, the next step is to get a binder (three ring binders work well) and some tabbed dividers. Label each divider by the category you wish (ie: type of meal, alphabetical order, etc.) and get to work punching holes in your recipe sheets to accommodate the binder's rings. If you prefer, you can purchase plastic sleeves to keep your sheets spill-proof—which is highly recommended to counter those splatters of sauce, batter, or grease that always tend to smudge our favorite recipes.
Whether you use a photo album or a binder, don't be afraid to get creative with your recipe book. Get some construction paper and glue or clip clip pictures from magazines. There's nothing wrong with adding a dash of imagination that might even inspire your cooking!
The Internet is not only a great place to search through millions of recipes, but it's also handy for storing the ones you already have. Sites like WeGottaEat and OneTSP are free to sign up and allow you to add your own recipes by simply typing them up. Yes, this can be quite tedious if you have a lot of recipes, but just imagine how easy it will be to find a recipe by simply typing in a keyword and clicking "search." You can also browse thorough members' recipes and send recipes to friends and family. Online recipe storage sites are very user friendly, so you don't have to be particularly computer savvy to utilize this great feature. Also, by storing your recipes online you can easily include pictures that would otherwise mean added bulk to your recipe collection.
Say you like the idea of easily searching for and pulling up your recipes, but you aren't too keen on relying upon an Internet connection. You might not want to totally rule out the option of a computerized recipe book. There is a wealth of recipe software available for download on the Internet. Many of them are classed as "freeware," which means that you can download and use the software for free. Some cooking software is available online for purchase, but they do throw in some handy "extras" that are worth the money, such as measurement calculators and converters, meal planning and shopping lists, and nutritional value calculators.
These are just a few ways that you can free up that recipe drawer and simplify the entire task of cooking from a recipe. Best of luck in whichever method you choose to organize your recipes—and happy cooking!
If you're looking for recipes, take a look at the Platinum Recipes Collection. The Platinum Recipes Collection is the Internet's Most Comprehensive Recipes Collection.