Part One- Creating a Recipe Binder

Seriously, is there anything worse than not knowing what to make for dinner…when everyone is starving? When you realize you have no sauce, no meat, no bread, no ideas…

If you need help to the question…the answer is a big fat NO! Stick with me and learn from my journey (and mistakes). You’ll be the champion in your kitchen without the whiny kids. 

When I got married 12 years ago I shopped the aisles without a list and without a clue in my beady-little head what I would make for dinner. The result left us with a lot of dinners from a box, frozen aisle, or drive-thru…macaroni, chef boyardee, pizza, frozen pasta dinners…you get the idea.

(We’ll pick up on this story in Part Two…)

So the first step to your building your menu plan actually starts with your recipes.

Annnd, that’s a lie. It starts with a quality binder and page protectors to hold such recipes! I LOVE to cook and rely heavily on recipes even my own! Having a handy binder is a life-saver for multiple reasons.


My previous system was a recipe binder I purchased at Hallmark many years ago. It’s great for shorter recipes that can fit on standard cards, but it’s no longer my go-to system. To utilize it efficiently you can’t double up recipes back-to-back in one sleeve or you’re stuck removing cards every time you’re cooking…hassle and messy! I keep it around because I believe in passing down at least SOME handwritten cards.

…or the ever so familiar recipe box (that I use as a bookend).


Take whatever is the easiest route for you to print/copy/paste the majority of your recipes onto full pages. This is fundamental. Dooo it.


My dividers include 1.appetizers/snacks, 2. sides/salads/veggies, 3.soups/pastas, 4. chicken, 5. beef and sausage, 6.turkey/pork, 7.breads 8. dessert. You’ll see the dividers also have pockets. These hold recipes that have NOT been tried yet. They get hole punched after they pass as a family favorite (term used loosely).


You can continue to work on your binder over time. It’s an ongoing process anyhow so don’t worry about making it poifect just yet!

Step Two starts to get down to the nitty gritty. ohhh yeeaah.