The most tedious, and unfortunately repetitive, task I have to do each week is plan out a menu of dinners for my family. Don’t get me wrong, I love cooking. I just hate having to decide what to cook. A couple of years ago I started trying to organize recipes my family likes to make this task easier. First I started with a homemade cookbook.
The cookbook was nothing fancy. I took a binder I had laying around, and put in a bunch of clear page protectors. Whenever I found a recipe that I wanted us to try I would clip it, or print it and toss it into the binder. If we happened to like the recipe I would note any changes I made to it and slide it into one of the clear page protectors. This method worked out well for a while but soon I ended up with an overfull binder of mismatched recipe clippings sliding around in page protectors and it became nearly impossible to find anything I was looking for, and so I moved on.
My next attempt at organizing was digital. I used a free family organizer I found online and attempted to use it to store a list of my recipes, if not the recipes themselves. I discovered quickly that this method would not work for me. It was nice to be able to be at the grocery store and use my ever present smartphone to pull up a recipe that uses an ingredient that I found on sale. I enjoyed the digital convenience of it so why not store it in the cloud?
After a lot of research and quite a few disappointments I decided, for me, the best place to store my recipes would be in Evernote. The pros for me were that I could access my recipe from my smartphone, tablet, or PC. An added bonus is that as long as I sync before I leave home I do not even need data access to look at my recipes in the store. I can add tags to help me search based on recipe type, cook time, and ingredients. And it turns out they actually have an app that collects your recipe notes and organizes them into a very nice (picture heavy) interactive cookbook. The only downside, and I can easily look past it, is that there is no way to take ingredients from your recipe and automatically import them into a grocery list for the week. So for the time being I still dutifully and manually create my grocery list in AnyList every week.
My family’s favorite recipes are now online, searchable, and accessible from any device that has a web browser. I can easily share them with family, or friends, and it turns out that my new favorite cookbook is actually my tablet. It doesn’t make creating the menu for the week any more fun, but it makes it a whole lot easier.