Unfortunately, I’m not the type of person who can whip up meals from a few choice ingredients or who has a library of go-to recipes stored in her head. I usually need to work from recipes, and currently my recipes are found in a variety of places, including but not limited to:
- binders of magazine clippings and photocopies (not organized)
- boxes of index/recipe cards
- My iPad photo library
- my email
- my desktop computer
- my AllRecipes.com profile
I’m in the long-term process of moving all of my recipes to Evernote. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a free (for the base level) online/app organizational tool. It can be used for a plethora of things, but I use it primarily as a cloud-based filing cabinet. The reason I have chosen to use it for my recipes is that 1. I can snap a picture of a recipe and upload it to Evernote, and the text becomes searchable, 2. I can save online recipes right to Evernote from my browser on my computer, phone or tablet and 3. I can add tags to each recipe. So if I need a chicken recipe, I can search for chicken. If I need a dessert for a party, I can search by dessert. I can tag main dishes as vegetarian, Paleo, crock pot…the possibilities really are endless. You can organize Evernote several ways, but I seem to rely on tags the most, especially for my recipes. I am even making lists of my go-to cookbook recipes and their pages numbers in Evernote so I can tag and include theM in search results.
Another great tool I found recently is a website called Eat Your Books. Although it doesn’t have any actual recipes on it, it has a vast number of cookbooks, cooking blogs and recipe websites indexed and searchable with page numbers. It’s free to use for the first three books and all the web-based recipes, which should be plenty for many people.
There are also a number of recipe-organizing apps, some of which are free, but I’ve never found one I love. Many of them require you to type the recipe in for it to be searchable. This link has a discussion of the various options: http://www.livescience.com/51366-best-cooking-apps.html.
And of course, many people still love their recipe binders, especially for family recipes. I’ve put together a Pinterest board of links to many different blog posts about organizing recipes, many of which involve binders.
Once you get your recipes organized in a way that makes sense for you, you can begin to plan out the meals you’re going to prep and cook!
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