Recipe Binder Saves the Day!

Do you wish there was an easy way to menu plan each week, twice a month, or monthly?

Do you wish you had your favorite recipes at your fingertips, organized, pretty, & easy to use?

Do you want variety but also don’t want to start from scratch every time you need to plan?

Do you just want your kids to eat what you make & enjoy it? 😊

Did you ever think that feeding people, multiple times a day, 7 days a week would be so difficult? Holy moly!

(Note, some of these pictures are my own rather than from the picture website I’ve been using! Please excuse the quality of them! I wanted to give you an example of what my binder looks like!)

I swore, probably like every mother does before having kids, that my kids wouldn’t be picky, that they would eat whatever I made them, & they’d love it! And then we had kids.

We have a few who have sensory issues & then I have some food restrictions that I’m not going to subject them to. Dinner time had become a battleground, & it was taking away my joy of cooking.

And am I the only mother who has kids who will eat one thing every meal, if allowed, for weeks on end, but then not touch it for months after? How do you plan for that?!

I really truly do love cooking. But it gets old when they don’t like what I made, or I’m focused on work & suddenly realize at 6pm that it’s dinner time & dinner hasn’t been started, or I realize I forgot to grab 1 ingredient from the store so now I can’t make a certain recipe. When speed bumps show up it’s so easy to call it a cereal night for dinner & hope that tomorrow the plan actually happens.

Please tell me I’m not the only one!

Enter the Magical Recipe Binder!

Once the business started & I became busier, I realized food is the easiest thing to push on the back burner, but we all suffer from not having nutritious & timely meals! Attitudes increase, snacking increased, grocery budget increased because of the snacks, food waste increased because there was no plan. So, I had to figure out how to make this work & get things back to where I wanted them.

You can read the post here where I explained how I got my kids involved in making meals. It truly has been such a life changer for our family on actually getting dinner on the table every night.

But for the planning portion, I went back to something that I created during my 3rd pregnancy but had stuffed in a drawer & not used in the last few years.

The Recipe Binder was created because I was sick of having to switch been cookbooks, loose leaf recipes, & online recipes when trying to meal plan & cook. And trying to remember where a recipe was had become problematic. So, I got all my favorite recipes in one place & it was a lifesaver & so amazing!

To set it up you need:

  1. A binder. The size of the binder depends on how many recipes you’re going to have

  2. Sheet protectors for the recipes to go into

  3. A list of all your family’s favorite recipes (I use it as my inspiration when meal planning)

First, you’ll gather your recipes. I either print them directly from Pinterest, copy them directly from the cookbook, or retype the recipe in Word & print it out. But each recipe should have it’s own page. Unless it’s a small recipe then I’ve put multiple recipes on one page. Totally up to you & how OCD you want to be alphabetically!

Next, you’ll insert them into the page protectors & the binder. I love putting them in page protects because it protects them in the kitchen without having to worry about ruining the recipe. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wiped off some kind of liquid from my binder while in the middle of cooking!

Once you are sure you have all your recipes in the binder, go ahead & make your list of recipes, kind of like your Table of Contents. I have mine sorted by type of food, (ie breakfast, dinner, sides, or dessert), & then alphabetized within each category. But that’s just my OCD self 😊 I put this list in it’s own page protector at the front of my binder.

Lastly, I put a page protector in the very front of the binder for my weekly mela plan, so when I first open it I can see what’s on the meal for the week & then just flip to whatever recipe I need for that meal.

Honestly, the set up does take some time, but you could easily do it in an afternoon. But it is totally worth the effort.

And then here’s how I use it for menu planning.

First of all, I talk to each child to see what they’re planning on making for their night. Their rules are they can’t have the same thing each week, (I have one who would make spaghetti & meatballs every night it’s his night to cook), & they can’t make something another sibling is already planning on making. I use a pretty weekly menu sheet to write our menu, (you can click he to use the template on Canva), based off what each of them have chosen. On the nights that they’re making something I can’t eat, I plan out what I’m going to make for myself, & my husband eats whatever option he likes better!

Next, once we know what we’re making each night, I pull out my grocery list book, which is a handy dandy spiral notebook. (Totally fancy, isn’t it?) If I don’t have the recipe memorized, I look at the recipes that are on the menu & write down what ingredients we need for the week for the planned recipes.


Side note: I used to grocery shop monthly & loved it! I’d spend a few hours going to 3 or 4 different stores what we needed for the month & then 2 weeks in I’d do a quick trip to our nearest store to restock fresh fruits & veggies, but that was it! It was amazing. It was exhausting, but since it only happened once a month, I was happy with it.

Back to planning!

The next step is to grocery shop, or order your food!

I now order our groceries online every Saturday & then pick them up Monday morning when we’re out for activities. It’s been great to have the weekly accountability to only order what we need for that week & by doing it online I can see what our total is while I’m putting stuff in the cart so I’m able to stay in budget, or even under budget. (I used to walk around the store with a calculator, or had a child using the calculator, so I know it can be done. But online is just so much more convenient!)

Anyway, I keep a running list going of items we’ve run out of during the week that might not be used in a recipe. Things that the kids snack on or that I always take for granted that is in the pantry, fridge, or freezer but if they’re missing, we’re all sad.

And then once the list is made & the order is placed, then I’m good to go until the next week.

I keep the binder out in the kitchen so that it’s there if I, or one of the kids, need it for a recipe, & since I keep the weekly meal plan in the front of it everyone can see what’s for dinner tonight rather than asking me a thousand times a day 😊

So that’s how I created & use my Recipe Binder!

I love that my favorite recipes are all organized in one place, that I have the flexibility to still try new recipes, & there’s a place for my kids to find the recipes when it’s their turn to cook. I love how this has helped make sure dinner happens each night, & also added some variety back into the rotation because we can see all the wonderful recipes we’ve loved & forgotten about over the years.

Would this work for your family?

What tips & tricks do you use for meal planning?

Read More

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