We've talked about closets needing an overhaul, and so do those recipes that a lot of us hoard. Recently I was looking for a recipe to bring to a dinner when I realized that it would be great to be more organized in this area because so much time is wasted trying to find something to make. If you are like me, you are constantly seeing recipes that appeal to you. Whether you are actually going to make those recipes, or whether you are just hungry at the moment and they sound delicious, is another story. Many of us tear them out of magazines or write them on scrap pieces of paper while watching cooking shows. Then when we need one it takes us longer to find it than it does to actually make it!

So in order to start organizing them we must go through each one and be very realistic - if one calls for pomegranate molasses, do we already have it, and if not, are we actually going to the store to buy it? If not toss that one out. Are we really going to make the recipe that has 20 different ingredients and we don’t usually like making anything more complicated than a roast chicken and veggies? Likewise throw that one out. We must be ruthless and only keep those recipes that have a very good chance of being made. And, how many of us have a bookshelf filled with cookbooks where there is only one recipe in each one that we would ever possibly make? Tear the pages out and donate the books, there are many ideas still useful to someone else.

My mom has found that using binders divided into sweet, savory, pizza etc. is very helpful and by slipping those recipes into sheet protectors it works even better, and it keeps them from getting ruined by spills. She also highlights any ingredients on the list that she doesn't regularly keep on hand so that last minute trips to the store are eliminated.

Doing these type of things will save you many hours of looking online or in cookbooks when you want to try something new or just want to make something that you haven’t made in a long time. Just remember to jot down on the page whether you adjusted any of the ingredients, and also note whether it was good or great, who you made it for, stuff like that. The ones that weren’t a hit you can just toss out.

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