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Knockout Recipe Chaos

My recipe collection is in Evernote because it is easily searchable and you can use a variety of tags. I also keep a small binder with my favorite family recipes in sheet protectors. I like having paper recipes handy because my food messes are not good for having my electronics in the kitchen.

  • Creating a monthly meal plan is a time saver.

    • We use the family favorites binder as a basis for our monthly meal plan, and I try at least one new recipe per month.

  • ​Determine how you best access recipes for making a list of ingredients and when you actually cook.

    • ​I have a binder with family favorite recipes in sheet protectors (to protect against spills) organized by category (main dish family favorites, main dish, side dish, appetizers, and desserts). In order to add to my binder, the family must eat it and love it! If you like digital recipes you don’t need this step. I just make too big of mess sometimes to have my electronics with me in the kitchen.

    • I add recipes on Evernote for three reasons:

      • I can access the recipes on my phone while at the store to get ingredients if a last minute decision.

      • I can access the recipes on my phone while at events to share if requested.

      • In case I still somehow damage the paper copy while cooking (it happens)!

  • ​Recipes will fall into one of these three types:

    • ​Sentimental/Family Favorites – These are passed down in your family or simply a traditional dish that your family loves.

    • Practical – Meals that are easy to make and contain ingredients your family likes.

    • Aspirational – “Maybe One Day” recipes.

      • ​If you have a large collection of these get real with yourself and get rid of as many as possible.

        • Only keep them if you are willing to make a plan for actually making it. I did one new recipe per week until I tried them all.  When I looked at the crazy large collection I had through the eyes of actually making it verses “maybe one day” I got rid of more than 90% of the ones I had clipped.

        • Put a date on it and if you have not tried it by the date it gets tossed.

  • Cookbooks:​

    • Keep family cookbooks that have memories and passed on recipes.

    • Cookbooks with lots of recipes can be kept or use the same strategy below with cookbooks that have only a few recipes.

    • If you have cookbooks/magazines with only a few recipes you can do one of the following, then discard it:

      • Take a picture and add it to Evernote (or your preferred digital app).

      • Create a copy by writing it out and adding to your family recipe book, or typing into a Google Doc.

      • Rip it out and add it to a binder (I prefer not to use this method for books).

  • Meal Planning:

    • Create a list of family favorites.

    • We kept it pretty easy during the week and reserve the more complicated meals for weekends. If plans change and you don’t eat the scheduled meal just rearrange if you already have the ingredients otherwise skip it and move on.

    • I developed a system around my family's needs / schedules:

      • OYO (on your own) every Monday.

      • Seafood (usually some type of fish) every Tuesday.

      • Some variety of pasta every Wednesday.

      • Meat and vegetables every Thursday.

      • Comfort food on Fridays (pizza, burgers, tacos, etc.).

      • More complicated family favorites or a new meal to try on weekends.

    • Additional ideas:

      • Breakfast, rice bowls, grill, take out, soup/sandwich/salad, regional (Mexican, Italian, Chinese, etc.), sheet pan, stir fry, instant/crock pot, freezer meals, BBQ, wraps, on-the-go meals, one pan meals, leftovers, etc.

      • Side dishes include: vegetables, fruits, salad, mac & cheese, cottage cheese, rice, chips and salsa, soup, yogurt, apple sauce, etc.​​​​​​​​​

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