Organizing and collecting recipes can be a full time job for those who love to cook.  When you have a love for food and a desire to constantly try new dishes, the piles of cookbooks, cut out recipes, boxes, binders and folders can get so overwhelming that finding a recipe becomes a chore.

I find that my clients are relying more and more on the Internet to create their meals than their cookbook collections.  With so much free information and websites that will find recipes based on the ingredients you have on hand, it is much faster and takes up a lot less room in your kitchen.

Here are some quick ideas for managing your recipes:

1.  Create one binder, folder or box for your most treasured recipes.  Be very discriminating about what recipes make it in this place.  If you love the recipe keep it, if it was easily forgettable then it shouldn’t make the cut.

2.  Consider scanning your recipes into your computer.  You can keep an electronic database of all your favorite dishes and quickly search them without having to waste time categorizing them in files or binders.

3.  One of my favorite things to do is plan my meals around recipes in my monthly magazines.  For instance, each month I pick the recipes I want to try in Real Simple,  plan my grocery lists and schedule when I want to cook them.  When the month is done I throw out the magazine and try the recipes in the next issue.  It keeps my menu changing, takes the thinking out of meal planning and requires no storage, sorting or searching when I am planning a meal.

4.  Photocopy your favorite recipes out of your cookbooks and get rid of the book.  Many of us hang on to a cookbook because there are a few recipes that we like.  Then we take up valuable real estate on our shelves or kitchen cabinets.  If it is not a go to cookbook it shouldn’t be in our kitchen.

5.  One of my friends once told me that she found typing in the search terms “the best _______ recipe,” every time she wanted to make a specific dish got her incredible recipes and she found herself never looking at her cookbooks anymore.  Relying on the Internet is a great way to cook almost any meal.

Lastly, I want to leave you with a list of my favorite links for meal planning:

www.theorganizedlifestylestore.com:  Visit my site and download my free grocery list and menu planning templates under the tips and downloads link.

http://www.epicurious.com/:  A great site for searching delicious recipes and finding meals based on ingredients.  They also have a great Ap that is available for the IPad, IPhone, Android and other electronic devices.

http://allrecipes.com/ :  Another site similar to Epicurious.

http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/index.html: There are great meal planning tools, quick and easy dinners and Aps available to help you meal plan.

Kristin Mastromarino is a Professional Organizer with Livable Solutions Professional Organizing (www.livablesolutions.com)  and the owner of The Organized Lifestyle online retail store (www.theorganizedlifestylestore.com).  Send organizing questions to her at Kristin@livablesolutions.com.

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