Getting Organised – Recipe Folder and Menu Planning

This year I vowed to get back to basics and get organised in the home again. First on my list was sorting out the recipes that I had printed off/collected/copied from blogs etc. They had been shoved into a cupboard and every time I needed to find something I would have to rifle through the wads of paper. When I went through this pile I found duplicate copies of the same recipe, seems every time I couldn’t find the recipe I would print off another copy. Can you see why I needed a better system?

I decided to go “old school”  and use a folder, some dividers and my trusty label machine to create a system that would help in my menu planning. I went through the recipes and sorted them into categories, such as beef, chicken, pork, lamb, fish,  vegetarian, slow cooker recipes, cakes and slices and dessert ideas. I then labelled the dividers and filed the recipes in their respective places. Is it so wrong to be excited by a folder of recipes? I think not lol.

Getting the folder together  has helped cut down time in my menu planning. Mike and I had a chat a few weeks ago and retold stories of dinners from our childhood. One common theme that stood out was there was not a huge variety in meat and three vege.  For example Mike knew that every Monday night in his house was sausages, boiled potatoes and beans.  The point is we like variety and this folder we have at least ten different sausage recipes to choose from. It is also full of tried and true recipes we like along with new recipes to try. Some weeks I will try one new recipe and others it might be three. When I know I will be out of the house for the day I often will make a slow cooker recipe that day.

When we menu plan on a Sunday night we outline what we will have that week and the weekly shopping list is based around that.  The menu plan goes in the front of my clear file for quick and easy reference.

I grab any recipes that I am using and pop them into the clear file as well. Then the big recipe folder can go back in the pantry.

When I try a new recipe, I tend to follow it by the book. Then afterwards I write the date I first made the recipe and note any changes I would make next time for future reference.

There you go my recipe folder and a bit of my menu planning process. I plan to evolve the menu planning, and work towards menu planing three weeks in advance and grocery shopping every three weeks. With  a small shop each week for fresh vege and fruit and milk.

How do you menu plan? Do you get the children involved in the process? Do you try new recipes for dinners?


  1. Funny you should write this post now as I’m in the process of redoing all my recipes too. All my printouts and collected recipes, magazines etc did go into a clearfile rather than just floating around in the drawer but am now going to cut them out nicely and stick them into a new recipe book. The book I have bought also has pockets to sit things in as well. Am looking forward to getting cracking on it now. I do all the meal planning in our house as Aaron would have mac/cheese alternating with carbonara every night!!! LOL

  2. I also use a clear file to put my recipes in. Though it needs a tidy up. We write up a menu plan for the fortnight & then shop to that plan. The girls often help planning & they are really into helping with the cooking at the moment too. Andre is doing the majority of the cooking at the moment and I love him for it!

  3. I go through fits and starts. For a while I’ll be a domestic goddess and dish up something new every night, having been well organised a week or two in advance, everything brought and written up. And then I’ll get busy again (work etc) and go back to the tried and true favourites. Here’s hoping your blog will give me the boost I need to get back into trying out new recipes again.

  4. I’m a bit fitful and starter too. I like menu planning but it’s the thought of having to think of it all that puts me off! Having said that, it makes my life so much better when I do. :-)
    My cookbook folder needs a bit of a tidy up too. It’s not toooo bad but there are a few bits that need indexing.

  5. There must be something in the air, as I am sorting through mine too. Just sorting them out has got me actually trying some. My folder has a front and a back half. The back for new ‘to be tried’ recipes, and then I either toss ‘em if they are duds or move them to the front for ‘processing’ heehee – I have yet to decide exactly what that will be. I have various places to store my ‘fav’ recipes, so I just have to decide what format I’m gonna go with. Ummmm, I operate a fully stocked pantry and large freezer, so don’t get too carried away with menu planning in advance. I like to just decide on the day – or like tonight, when I’m standing in the kitchen about to cook! I used to plan in advance, but it drove me nuts being committed to make stuff and then not feeling like eating it! I usually shop with some things in mind though – ie. I would like to do pasta one night this week, so I buy stuff for that; and maybe a mince dish etc I usually am more guided by specials and such at the supermarket though. We used to shop fortnightly, but now I prefer to shop weekly.

  6. Looks great! I would DIE without my blank page recipe books which I write ALL my favourite recipes into. I am only my 3rd one now and it is nearly fully. Funnily enough I always seem to remember which recipe book a particular recipe is in, so I don’t mind having multiple books :-)
    I go through stages of menu planning but usually I don’t bother. Like Heidi, I keep a very well stocked pantry, fridge and freezer, so it is not often that I don’t have a particular ingredient. I tend to choose recipes that I know I have all the ingredients for, and have SO many to choose from that I can easily switch to another if I don’t have 1 or 2 items.

  7. Heck, what is up with my spelling tonight?!
    on* (not only)
    full* (not fully)

    SIGH …

  8. Too funny. Finally did a menu plan for this week with recipe links (a few from healthy food guide) and references to where to find the recipes. I am thinking that if I can stick to it, I will eventually do the folder thing – yours looks so nice, neat and simple!

  9. you are way too organised buddy.

    Have to admit something here … DH quite possibly does way more cooking than I do; being a shift worker he has more days off than I do and he cooks on his days off, unless those days off coincide with the weekend and then you guessed it … it’s my turn to don the pinny.

    I have a massive freezer, a full pantry and I cook what I feel like on the day to be honest. If I find a new recipe that I simply must try I make sure we’ve got what is required ingredients wise and if we don’t, it is written on the grocery list and DH snaffles it for me on his weekly grocery shop …

    I do quite often try a new recipe … quite like playing in the kitchen when I get the chance and the time.

  10. Could you please come around and sort my recipes! I have 5 clearfiles and a handwritten book but everything is just jammed in. Tried to sort them into savoury, sweet, preserves (sweet recipes win -3 out of every 4 saved pages is for cakes!) Add to that 120-odd cook books and it’s a wonder my brain doesn’t burst when I’m trying to remember where a recipe is. I’ve also tried saving them on the computer. Maybe i just up.

  11. I meant “be I just give up!”

  12. Sometimes its the same situation with me too. i throw all the recipes written into the cup board. and at the end of month cleaning process its difficult to collect and sort it out. but after i started searching for recipes in internet its much easire and i save thenm and its easy to get also.

  13. You are organised :-) I used to collect new recipes, but since I have a couple of fussy eaters then we have the same old same old same old all the time! Hubby has suggested I do a menu plan and I just laugh and say why? I cook the same things every week because I know it’s what the kids will eat! hahaa We do occasionally try new things, but I tend to stick to easy cook things and things I know the kids will eat without any fuss (or not much fuss anyway!). ;-) The most annoying thing is if I try a new dish and the kids like it so I think fantastic I will cook that again, and do so the following week and they won’t eat it! It’s exactly the same as the week before and they say they don’t like it! sigh … now I tell them they have to eat it because Mummy can eat it and she isn’t screwing up her nose! lol (I am kinda fussy too hehee) ;-)

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