The cover of my recipe binder.
Part of pinching pennies is eating at home. So in my quest to be more frugal, I made up a fresh, organized recipe binder for myself. Having interesting meals planned out will prevent me from saying, “Hey let’s go out for dinner,” or “Let’s order pizza.” As fun as that is, it’s not the wisest use of our money right now.
I should tell you I already had a few recipe binders. One was super small so it ended up being a catch-all for folded up recipes. It was a freaking mess. The next one was a larger binder that had pocket folders in it. It held the recipes better, but since they were piled up on top of each other in the pockets, I couldn’t flip through them easily.
I took a basic 3-ring-binder (get a bigger one than you’d expect, trust) and made a cute cover for myself with some food-related pictures I’d taken. Before I filled out the tabs on the dividers I sorted the recipes to see what I was working with.
My "Breakfast" section. My apologies for the blurriness.
Since we eat seasonally I figured I should separate the veg-dominant recipes by seasonal group. So one tab is “Spring/Summer” and the other is “Fall/Winter.” Then I realized I had a bunch of breakfast recipes, so I grouped them together. We don’t eat tons of meat so rather than having a tab for each type of meat, all the meat centered recipes have their own tab. The others are “Ethnic,” “Soups, Salads, Dips,” “Desserts,” and “Easy Peasy.” The easy ones consist mostly of pasta dishes, sandwiches, and other things that come together in less than 30 minutes.
I would really suggest making your own tabs like this instead of going with classic recipe binder categories. You’ll probably be pretty surprised at your balance of recipes. For instance, I think in the future I may make subcategories for my “Dessert” tab because it’s much more full than I ever thought it would be. I could easily break it down into “cookies,” “cakes,” “quickbreads,” and more.
Most of my recipes are from magazines so I got a 100 pack of clear slip covers for super cheap at Target to put them all in. This way I can flip through easily and if I have it out while cooking, I don’t have to worry about the recipe getting stuff spilled on it.
Now I just need to make sure to look through it on a weekly basis and pick new dishes. I have been meal planning and although there are a billion templates you can use online, I just jot notes to myself in my planner, and continually change it during the week.
Coming up I think I will make some classic sausage and peppers because I need to yank out all my bell pepper plants. I also need to figure out more stuff to do with my swiss chard.
So there you have it. Do you have a recipe binder or have you been meaning to make one? Do you regularly plan out meals to stay sane and save money?