Recipe for Easy Access

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Recipe for Easy Access

You want to cook or bake, but you don’t have much time. Plus, you have to find that recipe…wherever it is. Now is the time to organize your loose notecards, magazine pages and papers so you can know what you have and finally use and enjoy your recipes.

New and unused
If you’re saving magazines or books because you wanted to try a recipe published inside: Rip out the recipe and try it! Why use storage space for a recipe you haven’t even tried? Perhaps you can schedule one day each week to try out the recipes you’ve pulled or printed off the Internet—it might turn into a day you look forward to each week.

Tab it
Sometimes, tearing apart a cookbook is not an option. If there are only a few recipes in the book that you want to keep, consider photocopying the page. If you use many of the book’s recipes, flag the pages of your favorite recipes with a sticky note or tab, and write the name of the dish on the bookmark.

Set up a system
For a speedy route to your recipes, sort them in labeled folders and keep them in a file drawer or an open-sided magazine storage box. Another option is to set-up your own personalized cookbook in a three-ring binder to store your loose recipes. See the detailed instructions in the sidebar.

To make sure your recipes stay organized, consider creating a “Recipes to Try” folder or section of your cookbook. Once you cook it, if it’s a keeper, move it to the appropriate folder or cookbook section; if it’s a dud, simply toss it.

Ready-made recipe organization systems are also available for organizationally-challenged homeowners, such as the C.R. Gibson Bon Appetit Deluxe Kitchen Binder ($29, www.crgibson.com) and the Williams-Sonoma Recipe & Entertaining Journal ($49, www.williams-sonoma.com).

Whether you’re a food connoisseur or you just enjoy a simple, home-cooked meal, organization is an important part of an enjoyable cooking experience.

binder directions
Take your recipes and make your own, personalized cookbook.  
Ingredients
➤    1 Three-ring binder
➤    1 Three-hole punch (not needed if sheet protectors and dividers already have holes for binder placement)
➤    Plastic sheet protectors
➤    Notebook dividers/tabs
➤    Labels for the dividers
➤    1 Permanent, fine-point black marker or 1 label maker
➤    All loose recipes
➤    2 Shoeboxes

Directions
Sort through the loose recipes and determine categories each recipe would fit into. For example:
➤    Breakfast, lunch, dinner, baking and special occasion
➤    Appetizers, salads, entrees, side dishes and desserts

Make the category labels next. If you don’t have a label maker, you can print labels from your computer or handwrite them. Place the labels on the notebook dividers/tabs, and place the dividers in the binder.

Separate your loose recipes into the categories you’ve determined, and stack them standing up—don’t pile them on top of each other—in a shoebox, still separated by category.

Working one group of recipes at a time, place the recipes in the sheet protectors, then into the binder according to category. If you cannot complete this project in one sitting, the shoeboxes make it easy to pack up and pick up where you left off.

Finish the project by decorating the outside of the binder to add your own personal flair. 

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