Monday, August 3, 2009

"I Could Make That" - A Recipe Book

Although I own a few cookbooks and had a 12 month subscription to Cooking Light, a lot of the recipes I make come from the internet or are passed along via email from friends. Because of this, I've amassed a binder full of loose paper that is in no particular order and with each use the pages get more grease stained (even if there isn't greasy stuff in the recipe, how does it do it?). Step 1 would be securing the pages to the binder which might work if I ever remembered to bring my three hole punch home from the office for a night. Even then, I would still have the issue of unprotected-from-spills paper and the mish-mash of copied magazine pages, printed off word documents and emails which is not fun to look at.

So, I decided to compile a Recipe Book!

First, I went through all of the recipes and tossed the ones I knew I would never consider making or perhaps had tried and given it a thumbs down. This gave me about 45 recipes to record. I bought a photo album at Michaels along with a re-fill pack right away since the original only had 10 pages front and back. After adding the other 10 to the book - and needing to punch new holes in order for the pages to match up with the book, oy vey - I had 40 pages to fill up!

Although I don't keep a traditional sized scrapbook, the pads of paper you can buy for them always have such great patterns and work really well for the cards I make. I picked out a few pages and started cutting them up in random patterns sized for the otherwise white and blah pages of the recipe book.

Once the pages were all created, I took recipe cards bought for $1 at Michaels and wrote out the shortest recipes I had that would fit on one side of each. The rest I typed up in font size 10 to maximize space on the pages.

The recipes were categorized as: Sides and Starters, Main Dishes, Desserts and Beverages. I'm still hemming and hawing over adding tabbed pages, but at this point the sections are pretty easy to figure out.
Along with the backgrounds, the pages needed a bit of a kick, so I was glad to have some vintage style stickers on hand that I snagged from my Aunt Christine. The alphabet stamp set I have also comes in handy for these types of projects.

If I make something new and it turns out well, I take a picture of it. One might say, "Did you really need to take a picture of a bacon, egg and cheese breakfast bagel, let alone write out the recipe when all of the ingredients are in the title?" I reply, "Sure, it's pretty self explanatory, but doesn't it make the page pop?"

I think this book - currently housing about 40 recipes with plenty of room for more - is going to help me stay organized in the kitchen and preserve some of my favorite recipes. It also reminded me of a few I haven't broken out in years and helped plan my next couple weeks for meals!
I thought I'd share one of my favorites here, which also happens to be one of the easiest. I grabbed this from last year when I was searching for an easy mac and cheese.

Baked Macaroni & Cheese
6 servings
8oz pasta (I use rotini instead of macaroni)
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1 cup milk
8 oz shredded colby (your own judgement call on how much cheesy goodness you will want)
1 Tb sour cream
cheese flavored bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350. Cook pasta according to directions. Drain and add to casserole dish. Stir in soup, milk and sour cream. Sprinkle with cheese and add bread crumbs over the top for a crunch. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Bon Appetit!


  1. I actually just started doing this today, before I ran across your blog (from oneprettything). I've been meaning to for ages, and you know how it goes, it's just not the highest on my priority list. Mine is not as cute as yours, but since it's just for me, I don't really care. However, I'm thinking this would make a really great, personalized gift for weddings/bridal showers! Time consuming (much more so than buying that crockpot on their registry, lol!), but very thoughtful and time-enduring.

  2. Puts my lever arch file and a4 plastic sleeves to shame, but it does serve its purpose well - no grease spots for me!

  3. Another great idea for personalized recipe book gifts is from Shutterfly: Plug in the recipes and photos and they'll take care of the rest!