This guest post is courtesy of Instawares restaurant supplies and equipment company.
Whether you're a home cook who takes pride in preparing recipes that have been handed down in your family for generations or a professional chef with a reputation for creating innovative new dishes, your recipes are the key to your success in the kitchen. Unfortunately, many cooks tend to be disorganized when it comes to maintaining their recipe file.
Instead of desperately paging through recipe books or shuffling a stack of index cards and magazine clippings the next time you want to prepare that special dish, why not organize your recipes into an efficient system so you can always lay your hands on the recipe you want in an instant?
Gather Your Recipes
Before you can organize your recipes, it's crucial that you compile all of them in one place. Empty your recipe boxes, gather your cookbooks, grab your magazine cutouts and locate your Internet printouts. No matter where your recipes are at this moment, do what you have to do to get them all in one place, preferably your kitchen table or computer desk.
Assemble Your Supplies
To organize your recipes, you'll need a three-ring binder, enough sheet protectors to contain all of your recipes, plain copy paper, scissors, a glue stick and a color copier or printer/scanner with copying capabilities. Feel free to jazz up your recipe book with sheets of colored paper, paper with borders, scrapbook-style embellishments and photos of food that you've prepared in the past.
Sort Your Recipes by Category
Create several piles and sort your recipes into categories. Meats, poultry, main dishes, casseroles, vegetable dishes and desserts are just some of the categories you can use. If you're stumped as to which categories to create, choose one of your favorite cookbooks and follow its layout by copying the categories contained therein.
Place Your Recipes in Sheet Protectors
Sheet protectors offer the perfect way to store your recipes for use in the kitchen. If you happen to splatter or spill something on the pages, you simply wipe it off and the recipe remains untouched. Recipes that are smaller than 8-1/2" x 11" can be glued to sheets of copy paper and inserted into the sheet protectors. Place one or more on each page according to your preference. If you have recipes in cookbooks that you turn to often, copy them or scan and print them so you have them at your fingertips without having to page through one or more cookbooks to locate them.
Organize the Recipes in Your Binder
Since you've already sorted your recipes by category, it should be easy to place them in your binder in an orderly fashion. Once you've placed them in the binder, use a simple word processing program to create a table of contents or an index that lists all of the recipes your binder contains. Now when you're ready to prepare a special dish, you'll easily be able to flip to the appropriate page and get to work.
While organizing your recipes may seem like a time-consuming project at first glance, the time you save by being able to find your recipes easily will pay off in the long run. Not only will you be an organized cook in the kitchen, you'll have your very own personalized cookbook and that's something any cook should be proud of.