Meal and recipe organizer

Meal and Recipe Organizing Made Easy!

Have you always wanted to finally get organized with your meal planning and recipes?  Well, I'm here to explain to you the first step to making meal planning a simple reality.  It's recipe organization!  I'm talking about a doable, simple way to keep your recipes and meal ideas organized. You can even download my printable for free!

FREE recipes binder

You will need:

  • 3 ring binder
  • page protectors
  • printer
  • paper
  • your recipes that you actually use

Recipes Binder

Step #1

Purchase a nice size 3 ring binder.  I started with a 1" and ended up having to switch to a 3".  You will also need lots of page protectors.  I found them to be the cheapest on Amazon. For the dividers, I used the sticky divider tabs.

Step #2

Download the pages below to set up your different categories for your meals binder.  You can use them all or just a few.  It's up to you! There are two folders to download for this.

Click here for the first set of files

Click here for the second set of files

Free Recipes Binder

Step #3

Download these pages to put in the front of your binder.  This is where you are going to write down all the different meals your family eats.  This way, you don't have to look through the entire binder to come up with meals.  It will all be in the first few pages, categorized.  You should hand write the meals so that you can always add to the lists whenever you try out a new recipe that you love.  

*TIP:  ONLY ADD THE MEALS AND RECIPES YOU LOVE!  In my house, we have to love the recipe enough to want it again in order for it to make it into the binder.  I don't add in any new recipes until we've tried it.

DIY Recipes Binder

Step #4

Collect all your favorite, go-to recipes.  This is the most time consuming part, but once it's done, you will be much more organized.  So, get out all those cook books, magazine pages, and Pinterest recipes. 

  • First, I printed out all my Pinterest recipes that I use.  Slide each of them into page protectors. 
  • Then, I went through all the magazines I was keeping for recipes and simply tore out all the recipes I wanted and put those into page protectors and threw out the rest of the magazine that I didn't need anymore. 
  • For all the random cookbooks, I just used my phone to take clear pictures of the recipes and then printed them out and put them in page protectors.
  • I even have some recipes that are just written on post it notes or old school recipe cards.  Don't worry about making them look pretty - just put that post it note or recipe card in the page protector.  
  • TIP:  You may want to print out more than one copy of some of the recipes.  For example, if it's a crockpot recipe or Instapot recipe, I usually print 2 copies, one for the meat it's under and one for the cooking method.  So for Crockpot Chicken Tacos, I have a copy under Chicken and under Crockpot.  This is just personal preference.  I just don't want to have to remember, Did I put that recipe under crockpot or chicken? This way, I can turn to either one and it will be there.

FREE Meal Planning Binder

Step #5

Fill in your "Ideas lists" that go at the front of the binder.  These don't just have to be the recipes, but all the meals you typically eat for dinner.  For example, I have Grilled Chicken down on my Chicken list, but there's no recipe for it; it's just a common meal we eat.  It's just a place for you to quickly go to when you start meal planning.  So, add pizza, topsy turvy, spaghetti, tacos, etc. on these lists even if you don't have a recipe printed out for it.

Meal planning

Step #6

Put your binder together.  The page that says Recipes is obviously the cover.  Then, put in your Ideas Lists. Again, just use the ones you want; it may not be all of them. Then start adding in all the recipes and categories.  Every page should be in a page protector.  That way it's easy to add more and the recipes stay clean.  Keep all your extra page protectors in the back.

Step #7

Use the sticky divider tabs to mark your categories.  You can print out the labels from my file or you can just write on them.  If you print them, just cut each one out and tape it on.  No need to be fancy.  Then stick each one one the category page. Click here for the printed labels.

FREE printable recipes binder

You're done!

Now you have a totally functional, expandable recipes/meal planning binder.  When it's time to plan meals, open up to those first pages to decide on what meals you will plan.  Then flip to that recipe (if needed) to write down what you'll need.  No more digging through cookbooks, magazines, recipe cards, post it notes, and scrolling through Pinterest pins to find your recipes.  I even added a Pinterest board called Add to Binder.  These are the pins I've tried and loved and at some point need to print out and add to the binder.  When you are flipping through a magazine and want to use a recipe, tear that baby out, stick it in a page protector, and add it to your binder (as long as it's a keeper!).  Everything is now it one spot.  Next step... Monthly Meal Planning!!
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