Recipe Organization and The Recipe Capsule

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by Laura

Are you the kind of person who has STACKS of printed recipes, and can’t find the ONE you need? So you go print it again?!!!!  Do you have cute 3×5 recipe cards, but NO system to them whatsoever?  I’m here to help you.  Breath in, breath out.

Today, we’re going to round up all your recipes, and put them in a system, and then, we are going to show you how to create a recipe index.  When I did this the other night I believe it took me 1.5 hours so it’s totally manageable and SUCH a relief to see them all happy in a home.


You’ll need just a few supplies, a binder, binder dividers, and page protectors.  That’s it, a quick Target trip will solve that.  A binder 1.5 inches or larger should do, but get a pretty one, yeah?  I recommend getting binder dividers that are at least 9 inches wide, and 8 tabs or more.


Write out the divider tabs.  Here’s our suggested list:

  1. Chicken/Turkey
  2. Beef
  3. Fish/Pork
  4. Pasta/Pizza
  5. Soup/Salad/Sandwich
  6. Vegetable/Fruit
  7. Rice/Pasta/Bread/Beans
  8. Desserts
  9. Breakfast

IMG_1903Round up your recipes, the cards, the printed out ones, and even your recipe books.


Start putting recipes into the page protectors, even the 3×5’s.  You can put two recipes in each protector if you want to, as long as there are no instructions on the back page.  These page protectors are MEANT for cards.  You don’t ever need to take these out of the protectors for ANY reason so make them legible from beginning to end and front to back.

A quick slice to a cook book will help me from looking through 50 pages of recipes I don't use. I took the 5 out that I DO use.

A quick slice to a cook book will help me from looking through 50 pages of recipes I don’t use. I took the 5 out that I DO use.

I know this is going to sound crazy but IF you have recipe books where you only use a few of the recipes and you’re never going to try anything else out of them.  You may remove pages from the recipe book to put in your binder.  SHOCKING. I know, but you can do it.


Now, all your recipes are in page protectors and you can start categorizing them by stacking them on the binder dividers.


When that is all done, you have a binder of your recipes, in categories, easy to read, and protected while you’re cooking!

Recipie Index JPEG

Now, you need to make an index of your recipes right?  So, download this two pager, and fill out each category and place it in a page protector at the very front of your binder.

So, that’s just the first stuff.  Ok?  This next step is going to take this OVER THE TOP.

Every time I get the opportunity to teach others how to meal plan they always say, “this is SO great, but I just need a list of all the meals that I have and meal planning would go much faster“.

So, Angela and I were talking the other day about how many recipes you should collect or some sort of index to draw from when you’re going about meal planning and we both said, “Let’s make a Recipe Capsule“!

Take a second with me and walk through some Meal Math.  If, IF, you picked out 30 recipes that you loved, you were comfortable making, fit your dietary needs, and fit into your life pace now.  You would only eat them 12 times a year and that is NOT bad at all.  30 recipes that you have no hesitations or reservations about.

Check out the Recipe Capsule.  Working through your recipe index, and your cook books, begin to fill out this capsule of meals and side dishes that are guaranteed 5 stars in your home.


You’re going to feel like you need to make another index, but that is not the purpose of the capsule.  This is your recipe skeleton, the backbone of your kitchen.

For our family, I chose foods I could make in under an hour, with non-specialty ingredients, and the least amount of appliances and dishes afterwards.  You might have different goals in mind.  Maybe you will make a Gluten Free Capsule, a Whole 30 Capsule, those are GREAT ideas!

This one step will save you time when you begin meal planning, (next week’s blog topic).  Or if you don’t meal plan, imagine looking at ONE piece of paper with all the ideas on it instead of rifling through all the recipes.

Don’t just keep this to yourself.

This would be a WONDERFUL gift to your graduating seniors or new wives.  A recipe collection and capsule of easy backbone meals they can prepare as they leave and go off into their own kitchens.

So, who needs to know about this in your life?  Share this! Get a few friends together, share this at MOPS, take a night to eat cupcakes and help them make a Recipe System!

Again, here are the links to the printable Recipe Index and Recipe Capsule.

We get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.


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3 thoughts on “Recipe Organization and The Recipe Capsule

  1. Pingback: 10 Steps to Meal Planning: Paper Please

  2. This is one of my favorites because the advice was so practical and really useful for meal planning. Before reading this I would never have considered ripping a page out of a cookbook, but it’s genius and my cookbook cabinet looks so much nicer now! I’m also making a recipe capsule for my cousins wedding gift because I wish I’d been given one of those to start our married life!


      Brittany! I know right? I used to have maybe 15 cookbooks taking up all this space and here I only looked at 3 recipes in there. Ugh! Will you PLEASE tell us, or send us a picture of the recipe capsule for the wedding gift. She will be SO thankful.

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