I don't always have the time to prepare an elaborate home cooked meal...actually, I rarely ever have the time to cook at home during the week. So when you look at this recipe binder, please don't think that I am actually cooking gourmet meals for myself in the evening after teaching, tutoring, working out, and doing grad school homework. Most days I end up eating slices of turkey directly out of the package while simultaneously throwing in a load of laundry and unloading the dishwasher...
But on the rare occasion that I have some extra time on the weekends, I love to try new recipes. Putting ingredients together in just the right proportions to create something new and delicious is a form of artistic expression, and the time I spend working with my hands in the kitchen is form of therapy. I wish I had more time to cook, but for now, I settle for collecting recipes that I want to try one day. Since my collection is constantly evolving, I need an organizational system that allows for the flexibility to add and remove recipes, which is how I settled on the recipe binder!
3 inch binder (overestimate the size you will need because the divides take up additional space)
Create "Divider Pages" by putting colored paper in the sheet protectors and adding a sticky tab
I used white office labels to name each section
I decided on all the sections first, then laid the pages (in the protectors) on top of one another so I could evenly space the sticky tabs
I chose the following main categories: Appetizers, Entrees, Side Dishes, Desserts, Beverages, Breakfast, Sandwiches (see above)
Create "Sub-Sections" within each main sections using the same process of colored paper in the sheet protector
This time I put sticky tabs along the top of the page, to distinguish sub-sections from main sections
I used the following categories within each section (see below):
^ Cover page for the main sections "Appetizers"
Filling the Binder
Now, the fun part - filling the binder!
When you come across a recipe that you want to save, add it to the binder by gluing it onto a piece of colored paper and slipping it into a sheet protector. Why take the extra time to glue the recipes and stick them in the protectors? Well, it actually serves a greater purpose than simply looking pretty.
Gluing recipes cards, magazine scraps, or handwritten notes onto a piece of paper will make each recipe a standard size. No more scraps of paper falling out of folders or getting lost in piles. Putting the paper in a sheet protector will allow you to keep the recipe on hand in the kitchen without the fear of it being damaged by water, grease, food, etc. Finally, the binder system is awesome because you can easily pop out the sheet you want without having to lug the entire binder around. Also, you can easily reorganize, add, or remove pages! Below are examples of some of the recipe pages I've created in my binder.
^ The recipe on the left page was from a magazine - I re-wrote the recipe on index cards because I wanted it to match the rest of the pages. I cut out the picture from the article.
Sometimes I get too lazy to create a new page each time I have a recipe to add, so here are two possible solutions:
Keep new recipes in the pocket folder in the front of the binder until you have enough to make it worth your time to add new pages.
Create blank pages in advance (put the label at the top, glue index cards, etc) so you have a template ready to go.
^ I like to write the date that I made each recipe. I also include notes about what worked or didn't work when I tried the recipe.
^ I tried Blue Apron for a few months last year and kept some of the recipes that I thought I might remake. I didn't bother cutting up and gluing the recipe to a piece of paper because it was already so pretty (and double sided). It was, however, easy to hole punch the recipe pages and stick them in the correct section of the binder.
So there you have it! A DIY solution for keeping recipes organized. If you try making your own binder, please share pictures in the comments below!