A couple years ago I got sick of the huge collection of recipes I had in different locations throughout my house. A file in the filing cabinet marked “recipes.” A couple binders with uncategorized hole-punched recipes that were falling out and splattered with batter and grease because I used the recipes so often. A stack of them on my computer desk. Fed up, I finally made a binder to keep my favorite tried-and-true recipes in. The ones I make over and over again and want easy access to.
My friend, Teri, has a binder very similar and I just copied her idea to create my own. I recently made a starter binder for a friend’s housewarming and took some pictures of the creation process so I could share this idea with you.
1 Presentation View Binder
Transparent Page Protector Sheets
Adhesive Index Tabs
Recipes printed on 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper
For this project, I like to use a binder that has a transparent sheet over the top so you can put a “Title Page” inside of it, of your own design. Using page protector sheets to hold the recipes works well for recipes you use often, because the clear plastic protects the recipe. If you splatter it, you can just wipe it clean before returning the recipe to the binder. It is also more durable and the holes won’t tear as easily as a paper with holes punched in it.
First, write your recipe categories on the paper tabs that come in the index tabs box. Most everyone will use different categories, depending on the type of recipes they use. For instance, I not only have a “Desserts” category in my own, but also divided desserts into three subcategories: cake, pie, and cookies. These are the basic categories you might want to include, adding more if you need to:
Appetizers & Snacks
Soups & Salads
Etc. (for beverages, condiments, etc.)
Slip the papers into your tabs and then arrange them in the order you want them to appear in your binder. Put enough page protector sheets in the binder for all the tabs. Remove the backing from the first category you want to use and slip it over the side of the first plastic sheet at the very top, then squeeze so it sticks.
These are quite easy to remove if you mess up or want to change how high or low the tab is positioned, so don’t fret if it’s not exactly how you want it. Gently pry it off and adjust it. Repeat the process with the remaining tabs, placing each one on the sheet below the last and a bit lower on the side so it shows beneath the tab before it. Soon you will have a binder that looks like this:
If you like, you can create title pages for each recipe category, as I did. I searched for images using Google, then copied the ones I liked into a Word document and used the same font that I used on the front of my binder to type the category title below the photo.
To create the title page, I did the same thing and searched for a picture I liked (I remember searching for cooking related coloring pages and liked the old-time feel of the one I chose). For the side title, I printed it in a Word document in landscape format in the middle of the page, then folded it to fit the pocket, and with much wailing and gnashing of teeth, I finally managed to get it in. It is difficult to get a paper in that tight spot, so you definitely want to use a folded paper for its sturdiness, or cardstock.
All that’s left is to fill the binder with recipes!
I have this slow cooker enchilada chile recipe posted here.
I put my blank page protector sheets in the front of my binder, before the recipes so that when I want to add a new one, I slip it in, then put it in the correct spot in my binder. I give each recipe its own sheet to make it easier to alphabetize them, therefore they are easier to find, but eventually I will have to start putting two recipes into each protector sheet (one facing forward, one backward) so that it doesn’t get too thick.
That’s about all there is to it! Very simple and quick. What system do you use for organizing your recipes? I also have about a million and a half saved to my computer into folders with different recipe categories!