I love cooking. I love trying new recipes. But I had a problem.
First off, I have quite a collection of cookbooks, cooking magazines, copied recipe cards, and recipes printed from the internet. But unfortunately, some of the best recipes get cooked once and are then buried in a sea of forgetfulness. Josh likes to tease me that he needs to enjoy a new meal thoroughly because he might never experience it again.
Secondly, I try to menu plan according to what is in season locally. I love to eat veggies and fruit when they are at their peak. I find that they not only taste better, but I linger and savor their fleeting flavors more. Right now I’m eagerly waiting for asparagus season when I can buy bundles of the delicious green stalks from the farmer’s market. Because I try to focus on seasonal produce, I’m always digging through my cookbooks and wracking my brain, trying to remember what recipes I have for certain ingredients.
The expenditure of all this time and brain power each week was getting a little tiresome, and so I made a plan and employed my Spring break in the execution of it.
Enter my personal recipe catalog:
I weeded through all of my recipes and pulled out my favorites. I jotted down some notes about each recipe (title, main ingredients, seasonal ingredients, type of cooking, and where the recipe could be found).
Because I had so many favorites, it took me quite a few hours to complete this task. I also categorized each recipe according to its seasonal element (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, Anytime).
Using this information, I initially decided to compose menu plans that combined different recipes for each week. Once I started, however, I began to realize that the menu plans would be too restrictive and inflexible. I didn’t need perfect menu plans. I just wanted to be able to quickly find which recipes would be appropriate for the ingredients I had on hand or planned to purchase. So instead of a menu plan, I created a personal recipe catalog. I categorized my recipes firstly by the season and then by the type of dish (complete meal, main dish, side dish). I also included: seasonal ingredients, the dish name, other main ingredients, the cooking method, and the recipe source.
It was quite a bit of work but, in my opinion, so worth it. I feel so much more organized and ready to tackle menu planning.
I love cooking. I love trying new recipes. And now I have no problem doing it. 😀