Ok, readers. Let’s talk dinnertime. Making dinner can be a huge stress, and take a ton of time to plan and prepare! One of the best things I did to decrease meal-prep time was to organize all of my recipes into a binder.
Before, I had recipes everywhere. I mean everywhere. They were scribbled on scraps of paper in my desk drawer. On random word documents on my computer. Emailed to myself. Pinned on pinterest. In my cookbooks.
When it came time to plan out my meals for the week, I didn’t really know where to start. It was all such a mess, that I ended up losing a lot of recipes, and forgetting about others for long periods of time. I finally decided I was fed up with it and needed a system!
I should actually give credit to my mom… She asked me to put together all of her recipes for her, and it turned out so great, I thought I’d do the same for myself! So thanks, mom… for making me organize your recipes because you didn’t want to 🙂
I started out by creating a “master” word document and started pasting all of my recipes there. The more disorganized your recipes are now, the longer this will take. But stick with it, because you’ll love it! You can also print off recipes straight from the website you got them from. I really like allrecipes, and they let you change the serving size, which changes all of the measurements. So for some of my recipes, I have 2 copies – one with the normal serving amount, and one that’s tripled for when I make freezer meals.
While organizing all of my recipes, I divided them into sections – breakfast, snacks and appetizers, bread, vegetarian meals, chicken meals, all-other-meat meals, and desserts. I put different section labels in my binder than my moms, so customize it to what kind of recipes you have and what makes sense to you!
At the beginning of each section, I have a Title Page that includes recipes I know by heart. Do I really need to include a full-blown recipe for tuna melts? No. But if it’s not in the binder, I will forget about it, and never make one of my hubby’s favorite meals. When I think of a new recipe to add to the list, I just pull out the paper and jot it down.
At the back of the binder is the “to try” section. Just think of it as a pinterest you can hold in your hand. These are all of the recipes that I not only want to make, but actually plan on making. If we end up liking it, I move it to the section it belongs to. If not, I just toss it out.
When your list is ready, print it off and put the pages in sheet protectors. Throw them in your binder with some dividers and you’re good to go! Now when you go to plan your meals for the week, they are all at your fingertips in one organized place. So great! And to make things even easier for you, you can go HERE and download the Title Pages I created.
When it comes time to cook, just pull out the recipe you want and leave it in the protector. That way, if it gets spilled on, you can easily wipe it clean and the recipe stays safe! I even like to tape mine up on a cupboard so it’s at eye-level.
NOTE: One thing to watch out for is the size of your binder. I chose this binder from target because not only was it adorable, but it wasn’t as wide as a lot of the standard binders. This meant that I had to buy more expensive sheet protectors (the kind where you need to hole-punch your paper), but to me, it was worth it.
It really wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be! And the payoff is huge.