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How do you organize your recipes?

I have many recipes: from books, magazines, friends and of my own creation. Some are handwritten, some printed on computers, some photocopied, some are still in books or magazines. It's becoming a bit of a problem as the years move on as to where I found a recipe or where it is now kept. I have many years of cooking magazines and hundreds of cookbooks. I waste a lot of time trying to find something I've liked in a magazine, or book etc.

I'm thinking of using a program such as "Cook's Palate" and possibly making a book out of all of the recipes. Perhaps I should simply create an index and leave the various sources where they currently live. I love the scribbled, memory stained recipe cards but the grease stains and fading ball point sometimes makes life difficult.

So how do you Home-Cooking-Hounds manage? I'd love to hear some of your ideas.

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  1. I have a "to try" pile ... after I try a recipe, it either goes in the trash or gets punched and goes into a 3 ring binder in a plastic sleeve...the binder is divided into categories: vegetarian, poultry, meat, desserts, etc. Works pretty well for me but my "to try" pile is kind of getting out of hand. I need to get back to trying one new recipe each week; that would help!

    1. MasterCook for online and favorite recipes; if something out of a cookbook I own was extra-good and I want to easily remember it to be able to search on it, I type it into MasterCook. (Even easier if I can find it online and use their Import Assistant to easily plop it into MC.)

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        1. I have recipes all over the place - 3x5 cards in my own recipe box, and I also got my mother's recipe box when she died. There's a drawer full of recipes clipped from magazines and newspapers, handouts from various cooking classes I've taken, and of course the ever-popular Epicurious and a bunch of Word docs for recipes I've found online. I finally created an Excel spreadsheet, just to keep track of where things are. I have pages for appetizers, salads, fish, poultry, etc., and columns for the name of the recipe, type of dish (main, side), where it came from and where it resides - i.e. Recipe Box, Mom's recipe box, Drawer, Word, Epicurious.

          The last column is open, and I add comments - what did I change, did I serve it to guests, etc. Of course if I try something and don't like it, it's deleted from the spreadsheet.

          Now the only problem is remembering to add new recipes as I acquire them.

          1. post-its and printouts mark recipes that I want to try-- and I force myself to be selective so as not to end up with a pile of forgotten ideas.

            the ones i try and love i copy by hand into my notebook, along with the date and a few words on the occasion for which it was prepared. so usually i have a faint idea of the season / occasion where the dish was served, so I can look it up chronologically when i want to prepare it again.