Back to Basics~ An Organized Recipe Plan Book for Easy Meal Planning

A well-organized recipe plan book helps you save time, money, and aids in your meal planning.

Hello!  We are back today with another post in our Back to the Basics series.  Today is all about organization and back to school ideas.  The project I'm showing you today is one of the biggest most painful, but rewarding organizational projects I've tackled in a long time!  I never really had a workable system for recipes.  I had recipes in cookbooks, a card file, ripped out pages from magazines and on Pinterest.  By organizing them and containing them into one system, I can only think my future meal planning will be more successful.  Our lives are crazy enough once school starts, so to have a recipe plan book that is well-organized, easy to use, and workable is a dream come true!


Here are the systems I was dealing with prior to organizing.

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I really wasn't enjoying any of these recipes because I forgot what I had and I couldn't access them when I wanted to.

How to Organize a Recipe Plan Book

  • Sort and get rid of recipes and cookbooks you no longer use. 
  • Decide on a system that will work best for you! I decided I wanted something that was easy to use and I could see all my recipes quickly.  The problem I had with a card file is that I couldn't see what I had.  Everything was jumbled in there and I had to pull out cards to look at what I needed for each one.  Also, the card box was clunky and broken.  Another thought was to use an online organizing system, but frankly, I don't want my electronic devices in my cooking area.  Especially when the kids are helping with their messy hands.  In addition, every time I would use my iPad for a recipe, I'll turn around and it would power down and then I'd spend more time getting it pulled back up on the screen.  Ultimately, I decided for me that I wanted to use a binder with notecards.  I chose a mini binder with tabs to divide sections and 4×6 note cards and page protectors.  
  • Choose what kind of recipe cards to use. I chose 4×6 cards and not 3×5 just because of the ease of reading.  The only problem with this was I had to rewrite all my recipes onto new cards.  This was very painful, especially for my cramped hands.  
  • Use a label maker to label the sections.
  • Make it pretty!  Put a cute cover on it that you will enjoy looking at each time you pull it out.

I've honestly been working on it all month, but I have to say the result was worth the pain.  I am happy with how it turned out and I also discovered in the process some recipes that I completely forgot about.  I believe it will help save time, money, and help me diversify my menu!

  Tips on Organizing a Recipe Plan book- recipes- plan- book- organizing- menu planning- meal- planning- putting together a recipe book- binder- back to basics- 3 ring binder- recipe cards Tips on Organizing a Recipe Plan book- recipes- plan- book- organizing- menu planning- meal- planning- putting together a recipe book- binder- back to basics- 3 ring binder- recipe cards- dividers  

Now that everything is organized and meal planning can begin, I am actually looking forward to creating a menu and doing some cooking! 

Have you found a system that works for your family?

You may also like these organizing projects that I've tackled; Organizing Paperwork, Organizing Drawers, and Greeting Card Organization.

Let's see what everyone else was up to organizing this month!



To life feeling like home!




  1. Lisa says:

    Meal planning is so great- it saves time and money, I know exactly which groceries I need to buy. Your recipe plan book sounds like a great idea!

  2. Lisa says:

    Meal planning is so great- it saves time and money, I know exactly which groceries I need to buy. Thank you for sharing this information!

  3. yuni says:

    what a great idea. I need to create something like this bc my meal planning never lasts!

  4. BonBon says:

    I really need to try this meal planning thing. Organizing your recipes is a great idea. I have the problem you mentioned of recipe cards and not very handy. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Wow, you definitely had your work cut out for you but it looks like you made fantastic progress with your recipes Amy!

  6. CoCo says:

    Love this great idea! Your book is so awesome. We meal plan each week and it definitely helps but we have some loose recipes I’m always worried we’re going to lose. Can’t wait to try this great idea. Hugs, CoCo

  7. This is a very good idea for recipes. I love reading from a book or a planner like this instead of using the internet, my computer always gets messy with food stuff. Like the label maker.

  8. Sarah says:

    This is such a great idea! We will try recipes from Pinterest, love them, then forget about Them and never make them again!! I need a system to keep track of all that!

  9. Amanda says:

    It looks awesome – what a great idea! Meal planning is such a lifesaver!

  10. Amy says:

    What a great post. I try to keep my recipes pretty organized but this is a great way to do it. My sister loved this post. She actually had a stack of recipes that looked a bit like the ones on your post. Thank you for sharing this. We are pinning and sharing.

  11. Oh my gosh, I need to do this! Thanks for the inspiration to get organized! xoxo

  12. Amy – you are speaking right to us with this post. We would be the ones with piles and piles of pieces of papers of family recipes and print outs. Your recipe book is so practical and pretty – we could also see this as being reprinted for your family members. thanks for sharing such a great idea!

  13. I need to make one of these! What a great idea~!

  14. Leanna says:

    I laughed when I saw a couple of your pictures. I have this mountain of recipes I took from magazines, boxes, wrote out on cards, photocopied from coworkers etc. This is a great system for organizing them all.

    Thank you for sharing your idea at #HomePartyMatters Being able to find the recipe without sorting through all the bits and pieces of paper would be wonderful. Well done. Leanna

  15. Mother of 3 says:

    Such a great idea. I did something like that a few years ago but I should probably go through them all again. I seemed to have started collecting all kinds of paper scraps again… Please feel free to link up with us at Together on Tuesdays.

  16. Roseann says:

    I have the same problem with disorganized recipes. I plan to begin to work on my recipe file soon. Thanks for sharing this idea.

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