Recipe Organization Tips

A stack of papers and files on top of a laptop
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Like many other nutrition and dietetics students, I am passionate about cooking. With this passion often comes an accumulation of recipes from resources such as cookbooks, magazines and Pinterest. I like spending a lazy Sunday drowning in a sea of recipes as much as the next cooking enthusiast and have a soft spot for the way it gets those culinary creative juices flowing in time for dinner. Having an enormous surplus of recipes, however, can be overwhelming.  Whether an indescribable food craving strikes or I’m looking for a specific dish, rifling through a disorganized heap of recipes quickly becomes a burden frustrating enough to turn an appetite into raging “hanger.”

Here are some tips to help you narrow down and organize your recipe reserve.

Separate your recipes into two groups: ‘Tried & True’ and ‘To Try.’ Make notes on the Tried & True recipes about what worked or didn’t, or something you want to remind yourself to do differently the next time you make it.

Declutter. Toss out recipes that no longer look appealing, are outdated or are unrealistically complex. Are you really going to brave four hours in a kitchen filled with exotic ingredients you have to hunt down at specialty food shops all over the city?

Categorize. Separate your recipes into meals such as breakfast, lunch and dinner, or courses such as appetizer, salad or entree. If you have a very specific category that you know you make at least a few times a week — for instance, smoothies, snack bars or dessert toppings —make a separate section for those recipes as well.

Store. If you like having everything in one place, store recipes in a three-ring binder, separating each category with dividers. Make printed copies from cookbooks or the internet and file them accordingly in sheet protectors to hold the recipes for easy, readable browsing. Consider storing all ‘To Try’ recipes in a single sheet protector at the beginning of each category, so that you can easily find them. After you’ve tried them, make notes and file them alongside your favorites.

If you don’t mind having recipes in separate places such as the internet and cookbooks, follow the same steps to create online boards. For recipes in cookbooks or a binder, consider keeping sticky notes with your cookbooks so you can write down tips, changes, etc.

Those are just a few ways you can manage your recipes. Tailor these ideas based on your own preferences, and happy cooking!

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Carina Chiodo
Carina Chiodo earned her master’s degree from Chico State and is doing her dietetic internship at Department of State Hospitals in Napa, CA.