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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Menu Planning: Making the most of your cookbooks

The next step in your Menu Planning process is to make the most of your cookbooks.  I love cookbooks.  I have WAY too many.  I also love cooking magazines like Taste of Home, Simple and Delicious and Cook's Country.  These are fabulous for new recipes.

Don't have many cookbooks to choose from?  Utilize your local library!  I search their catalog and request cookbooks frequently.  Then I look through them and write down recipes I would like to try.  Cookbooks can be expensive and the library is free!

Cookbooks are a waste unless you are properly utilizing them!  Let me share with you how I make the most of my cookbooks.

1.  Grab a cookbook and some post-it notes.  I like using the longer post-it notes that are lined.
Here is the cookbook that I am using as an example, it is a great one for Southern Cooks.

2.  Now take a few minutes and go through the cookbook.  You don't need to linger on recipes, just browse each page.  Write down the page number and the name of a recipe you would like to try.
3.  Once you have a page filled, put the post-it note on the inside cover of your cookbook.
4.  Go through the entire cookbook and make a listing of all the recipes you would like to try.  Here is a picture of all my post-its.  This was a large cookbook so I had many recipes I wanted to try.  There are about 3-4 post-it pages on each of the front pages of this cookbook.
5.  When you are ready to try some new recipes, you can flip quickly through your post-it notes versus the entire cookbook.
6.  I highlight recipes I have tried and put a note beside them whether it was good, great or a keeper.  If I especially liked it (a keeper), I add it to my recipe files.  If I didn't like the recipe, I mark it out and I know not to try it again.

This process can take some time, but if you sit down and do a couple of cookbooks at a time or one a day, you can easily have all your cookbooks organized and ready to use!  While you are catching up on shows, grab a cookbook and make the most of your time.

I have three challenges for you:
  • If you haven't already done so, make a food inventory.  See my post on this:  Menu Planning: Setting up a Food Inventory
  • Go through your cookbooks and follow the process above.
  • Take one cookbook and make some new meals out of it for the next month (or two, depending on the size of the cookbook).  You will enjoy the new meals and so will your family.  I am taking this challenge as well!
Tomorrow, I will share Menu Planning:  Organizing your menu.

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  1. I love your tip, I have a bunch of cookbooks and I spend more time looking for the recipe I want then I do cooking it. Thanks I have to try this.

  2. Glad you like the tip! I hope it helps with your cookbooks. Thanks!

  3. found you via Dittle Dattle- what a great idea! I have so many of my recipes dogearred or bookmarked but somehow never thought to take that next step and write them all down so I can see them at once!! thanks for the tip ;)

  4. This is a great idea for a post! You "AMAZE ME"! Thank you for linking up to the "Amaze Me Monday" blog party!!

  5. I'm starting this week planning my meal wish me luck .


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