Wednesday, August 21, 2013

How I Recipe

Before I begin, I *know* that there are a lot of digital programs for keeping track of recipes and that it'd be easier to print them or bookmark them for looking at later.  I know this.  I am fully aware of it and briefly even explored various digital options.  However, the method I use for collecting and keeping track of recipes I want to try works for ME. 

These are my "essentials":
  1. Notebook
  2. Binder for recipes I want to try
  3. Recipe cards for recipes I want to keep/make again
  4. Binder for recipe cards
When I come across a recipe I want to try, I write it in my notebook.  The reason I don't just save them off or print them is this keeps me from collecting every single recipe I come across.  If I don't think it's worth taking the time to write down, chances are very good I won't make it.  That's one of the main reasons I am analog instead of digital.  I need a way to limit myself. :)

When I copy down a recipe, I always put the website or book I got it from so I can give credit where credit is due if I pass it on.

I number the pages for a reason I will get to in just a bit.

After I fill up a notebook page, I put into the white OmNom binder.  I use the binder because 1) I filled up a notebook already (*grin*) and 2) the page protectors keep them safe while I am cooking.  The recipes are in the book in the order I copied them down.  I tried keeping an index but didn't really keep up with it.  Plus, it's fun to flip through when menu planning.

If I make a recipe and like it enough to make it again, I copy it down on a 4x6 recipe card and put it into my yellow binder.  I put the source of the recipe on the card as well. 

I prefer to use the binder because it is too awkward to carry a recipe box around and I like how the page protect the recipe for me.  And yes, I do carry all these books around!  I bring the notebook with me to and from work nearly everyday and the binders come to work with me at least once a week while I work on my menu planning during my lunch break.

I also like the recipe cards because I don't have a good, easy digital way of viewing recipes while I am cooking.

I have this binder categorized to make it easier to find what I want to make.  Every recipe over on my ReciPage is in this binder.  So, see?  I do have a digital version as well... just for you! :)

When it comes to menu planning, I plan Friday - Thursday because I usually go grocery shopping right after work on Friday.  The picture above is the sticky note I put on the fridge so the guys can see what we have planned.  There is no reason for the multiple colors except it makes me happy.  I use a different 2 or 3 color scheme each week. :)

Usually on Wednesday, I sit down and think about what we have in the freezer that I can use.  If I see deals while I am shopping the week before, I will pick them up to be used the following week.  I then try to plan the next menu based around as much of the stockpile as I can.  I also try to balance out our proteins, with chicken as every other one.  The guys would revolt if we had vegetarian meals. :P

I also try to plan ways to use leftovers as well as planning for leftovers that I can take for lunch. In the menu above, I planned on having pork leftover to use in the Cuban sammiches.  I will often plan to roast a whole chicken over the weekend and use the leftover meat in another meal a few days later.

You see those numbers in parentheses?  Those are the page numbers of the recipes in the white OmNom binder. :)  Not only do having the page numbers make it easier to find the recipe, but it also lets me know that this is a new recipe.

After I make my menu, I go through each recipe and make a first draft of my grocery list.  After I have everything I know I need to the meals, I add whatever else we need.  On Thursday, I then rewrite the list in the basic order of the aisles at my grocery store.  For me, this helps eliminate the need to run back and forth as I realize I've forgotten things on the list.  I also clip whatever coupons I may have to the list with an asterisk next to the list item to remind of the coupon.

So that's how I roll recipe and menu plan. :)  As I said, this way works for me but I would love to hear how you do it!

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