Friday, February 25, 2011

My Recipe Binder

When I was learning to cook, I would comb through cookbooks and online recipes for hours trying to find something that would please my picky husband. It would be challenging as there were a good amount of things (and still are) that my husband would not (will not) eat. It felt so daunting to look at books and see one thing that would make the recipe a no-go. I would be lucky to find a couple of maybes in a book. That coupled with the fact that I thought I had to come up with a creative and elaborate meal each night made cooking such a hassle.

I had a lot of trial and error in cooking as I had to learn technique as well as please a picky eater. So I came up with an idea. I would make a meal and then quiz Lee on it. I would ask:

"What do you think of the dinner?"

"Would you like to have it again?"

"On a scale of 1-10, what is your impression of it?"

"How often would you want to eat this meal?"

If he liked it, I would work to make it better. If he loved it, I would just keep making it. I decided that instead of trying to have so many recipes that I had dabbled in, I would find one recipe for each type of dish that Lee liked and make it a lot. So I found great recipes for pasta dishes, chicken casseroles, marinated meats, and comfort foods. Once I found the tried-and-true yummy dishes, I stopped looking.

I decided to type them up in Word so that I could easily email them and share them with others. I put them in a binder in page protectors so I could splatter and wipe. I organized them by category:

Appetizers
Soups
Breads
Breakfasts
Beef
Chicken
Pork
Fish
Side Dishes
Desserts

Now I just pull my binder out, turn to the recipe I am making, and make the same recipes. I'd say there are about 100 recipes in there. I will usually make the same tried-and-true recipes and might try a new recipe every few weeks. If we love it, I add it to the binder. If not, I don't make it again.

This method has really made my life easier. My husband is happy to eat the same types of things a lot. I try my best to have at least 2 weeks between the same dish. After we finish the freezer meals, I have a monthly plan I am going to try so that we don't have the same meal more than once a month. I think it will be good because it should be simple, take less time, and give us some variety.

How do you organize your recipes? Do you have tried-and-true recipes? Do you mind sharing?

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