Recipe BinderOne of the most daunting tasks in life is cooking dinner every single night. With 5 children I have to have dinner prepared nightly, or else chaos ensues. The reason it is so daunting is my children don't like to eat the same meal over and over, cooking is really not my favorite job in the world, and just trying to think of what to cook is overwhelming. Having a variety of recipes and ingredients on hand eliminates the repetition and headache of what's for dinner.
I found a system of organizing recipes that works for me, a recipe binder, and it also is how I build my food storage. I have all my recipes, side dishes, and bread recipes in one binder. I can open my binder and know what is for dinner every night, and I also have a built in ingredient list for shopping and storing food for my 3-month supply. Being able to prepare a variety of meals with your food storage will also eliminate appetite fatigue in an emergency. It has been found that people will quit eating altogether instead of eating the same food over and over. (click on the pictures for a larger view)
|Step 1: Write down every recipe your family likes to eat.|
The first step in getting organized is to know what recipes your family enjoys. I sat down one afternoon and wrote down every recipe that my family likes and it came out to 5 weeks worth of meals. I wrote down every meal on a calendar type page and put it in a plastic sheet protector. This will be the first page in your binder.
|Nightly recipe written out with side dishes.|
Every dinner will have it's own individual page with the whole recipe written down with any side dishes also written out. This eliminates having to find recipes from different sources. Each page will also go in a plastic page protector. This way you can take out a page if you don't want to use it anymore and insert a new recipe. This method allows you to change your recipes whenever you feel like it.
|My ingredient list.|
Now it's time to make the ingredient list/grocery list. Since every recipe is written out for you with all the ingredients, it is really easy to make an ingredient/shopping list. Write down every ingredient and the amount from every recipe into sections like produce, meats, frozen, canned, pasta, etc. This now becomes your 3-month supply food storage list too. You know exactly how much chicken or how many carrots you will need for all of your meals on your calendar. When these ingredients go on sale at stock up prices you will know how much to purchase. This method allows you to save money as well because you are buying a lot of one item as its lowest price. You will start to notice the prices of the items that you use and you'll know when to stock up. Before this method I did weekly shopping trips and bought what was on my menu plan for that week. Using the binder method I only buy the items at stock up prices. I watch the grocery ads for the items that are on my menu plan list. This way I am building my stockpile and getting the lowest price at the same time.
One of the things I noticed when writing down all of my recipes was that a lot of the ingredients crossed over into other meals. This makes it easy to store the food that my family will eat. I also store canned or dehydrated foods to substitute for the fresh ingredients so that I can still make the same recipe without it being too different. I love this system because if I don't fell like making what is scheduled for a certain night I can swap with another night because I have all the ingredients on hand. I also eliminate the 4:30 panic of what's for dinner. Give it a try and see how easy it is to have dinner prepared every night and have your pantry full of ingredients.