For most of my life I could make you a bitching batch of cookies or quick bread, but was utterly clueless about anything involving chicken, shrimp (really meat of any kind), rice, salads… you get the idea. So as I’ve learned to cook savory, healthy food for myself and my husband (who has been teaching me, the ever reluctant student, how to cook), what do I do with new recipes that I dig and want to save for later?
At first there were just a few, printed out or ripped from a magazine, and shoved unceremoniously beside the cook books. But I became bolder, and the stack became less practical. Sure, some people bookmark them online, pin them on Pinterest, or save them to their desktop. But I don’t like having electronics on the counter where all manner of disasters happen. I don’t like having to plug things in as the battery is dying, nor am I a fan of poking the iPad screen or computer mouse to keep it from going to sleep when my hands are messier than they have any right to be.
Then I had a basket-free “baskets!” moment.
With the organizational wonders of an empty three-ring binder, sheet protectors, adhesive page markers, and a sharpie, I had a customized, low-effort cookbook that contains exclusively recipes tried and enjoyed by my guy and I.
The solution addressed a number of my neurotic needs:
- Easy to maintain — not something created in a fit of organizational fervor, but then left to languish
- Adjustable based on changing needs — when considering other options I became utterly stuck on the idea of categories that could not be renamed or moved around as the collection grew
- Durable — the surprisingly nice quality binder came from Goodwill for $1, and the sheet protectors mean I am less worried about spilling food on it and ruining everything
- Cheap — I had everything on hand but the binder
- Did I mention flexible? The recipes range from foodie blog print outs and photocopies, to emailed recipes from my mom and torn magazine pages; everything can be made to fit happily in the sheet protectors!)
And so now, when I want to make delicious bacon and egg cups on a Saturday morning before I have booted up my technology or consumed sufficient coffee, this excellent recipe is already at my finger tips.
Because these are recipes that I know I have done before and can do again, it has been a huge boost to my cooking confidence and repertoire.
What are your favorite ways to keep, store, and use your recipes?