One of the things I love most about cooking is the memories I have of my family in the kitchen and at mealtimes. I remember the first time I made a meal all by myself. I can play a movie reel in my mind of all the times my grandmother was kneading homemade dough on the table. And I can recall the thousands of times my mom made supper for us to sit around the table.
While I can recall all of these memories with great clarity, I cannot always recall how I made a certain dish. Especially since I am the “keep adding stuff until it tastes good” kind of cook. I have learned over the years that a recipe book is a great asset for any kitchen. It keeps you organized and makes meal planning much easier! Here is an easy how to guide for building your own recipe book.
Step 1. Find a cover. It could be an old picture album, accordion folder, or binder. Mine is a fun, colorful binder. Pick out something you don’t mind having on a shelf or kitchen counter.
Step 2. Collect recipes. Look for a variety of recipes…beef, chicken, vegetarian, breakfast, entrees, sides, etc. You don’t want a book full of only chicken recipes. 🙂 An easy place to get a good variety is to print them from our WW recipe folder (shameless plug!). Or maybe you have other websites/books that you use. That’s great, just print or make a copy so you can have them all in one place. Call your mom/grandma/aunt to get that amazing roast recipe and write it down on a recipe card. Not all of your recipes have to look the same when printed or written out…part of the fun is to make it look unique.
Step 3. Sort/Organize the recipes. Once the recipes are all in one place, then organize them into categories. I have my book sorted by type of food first (beef, chicken, fish, pork, vegetarian), then I have categories for side dishes, breakfast, desserts, etc.
Step 4 (optional): Make divider tabs from scrap book paper. To add a little splash of color and fun, I made little divider tabs from scrap book paper. If you don’t want to invest the time and effort into making your own, store bought dividers work just fine! Make sure to label each tab according to the categories you decided to use.
Step 5: Place recipes in book. I am a self-diagnosed “messy cook”. Food and crumbs end up all over me and my kitchen. So I have all of my recipes in page protectors so I don’t have to reprint things. I also have my grocery list spreadsheet at the very front of my recipe book. This helps with meal planning so much because I can flip through the book for recipes and check off the ingredients I need as I go.
Step 6: Use your book! Enjoy the ease of finding recipes and planning meals.