How I Organize Recipes

 Posted by on August 27, 2010  Add comments  Tagged with: ,
Aug 272010

Tomorrow is a busy day for me, so I probably won’t be online much. I’m being interviewed about this blog for our local newspaper, which is really not a big deal, but it feels like one to me. I’m actually quite nervous about it, as I feel that I’m better at putting thoughts into writing. The Thrift Culture Now interview was done via e-mail, and I was fine with that, but this will be a face-to-face interview, and I’m concerned that I’ll say something dumb. If you would be so kind, please pray that I will be an encouragement to others, and set a good Christian example with my words.

A reader recently asked me to share about how I organize recipes, but I really don’t have a special or unique system. In fact, I still use good old-fashioned metal recipe boxes – one was my mother’s, and one belonged to my husband’s grandma. I could replace them, but truthfully, I prefer old stuff 🙂

I organize recipes by category, with subdividers in the main dish category, to separate recipes by protein type. I made subdividers out of white cardstock, by tracing a tabbed recipe card. This makes it very easy to find what I’m looking for. If I print a recipe online, I don’t put it in my file until I’ve tried it out. If we like it well enough to make it again, I note any changes or substitutions I’ve made (because I always make some. I almost never make a recipe as written), and then I immediately cut the recipe out, paste it to an index card, and file it! I don’t like to waste time looking up recipes over and over again, or calling people to ask for a recipe they’ve given me already, because that wastes their time too!

In the green file box, I have the following categories:

Main Dishes
-Pork (from back when we still ate pork)
Side Dishes

In the gray file box, I have these categories:

Cookies, Bars & Muffins
Snacks – Dips and spreads, snack mixes, cheese ball recipes, etc.
Misc. – This is stuff that doesn’t really fit anywhere else. Dressings and sauces, pancake syrup, play dough, etc.

That’s it! A simple system, but it’s been very effective for 15 years. I find that the simplest, easiest systems are usually the best ones for me.