Monday, February 23, 2009

A Recipe Binder with a Side of Taco Salad

Update: 3/28/09: Katie at a Listmaker's Life just started a weekly meme featuring salads and since I love salads and for long stretches will eat one everyday I had to contribute one. If you're visiting from there please scroll down to the bottom to see it. Thanks for coming by and please say hi the comments so I can return the favor and go visit you too!

This is what I was working on while watching the Oscars, compiling and cute-tifying my recipe collection. Now that we're amassing a collection of tried and true recipes I had to have some place to keep them, because we've already lost one stack of recipes I printed out.

Plus it gave me an excuse to use some of my very favorite paper by K&Company from their Berry Sweet line. I bought a big pad of this stuff and it just makes me happy, I'm so in love with it that I didn't want to use, and use it all up. Silly I know, but since it coordinated with my kitchen colors and theme I can put it out on the counter and see it every day.To create the inside pages I wanted to use up more of my large scrap pile from other projects. For some reason I always seem to have long strips of patterned paper left over. So I made a template that incorporated them, for the recipes in MS Word with a text box, I can change the color easily to match my paper scraps - cute huh, with space for a picture. I also added a bit of the this recipe's history at the bottom.

This is the "star" treatment any recipe that we make and find ourselves going back to again and again will get, once they've obtained "Tried & True" status. I have extra pages in the back with the loose recipes to hang out in during their try out phase. I think this keep us much more organized and tame all the pieces of paper with random meal ideas written on them. I realize a recipe binder is not exactly and original idea, but hey it's a big step forward for us!

Here are some other meal and organizer tools:

Kim at Forever Wherever has a menu calendar and shopping list on PDF you can download. I already told you about the great recipes cards at Lolly Chops but she recently did a guest post at La Fuji Mama and gave us some new flowered one to print out. Then there are the many printables at Tricia-Rennea Art, her March planner pages are posted already if you want to start planning ahead. She also has generic but still cutely illustrated ones, but you have to scroll back through her posts or try looking by label to find them. I just found the Recipe Matcher through Homemaker Barbi, it's this great tool that you can use to find free recipes to match your leftovers. You just type in what ingredients you have and it gives you ideas, isn't that neat-o!

If you know of any other fun ways to organize or free printable to share, leave me a comment so I can check them out!
I also decided to organize my growing collection of templates from various projects like the letter pillow and felt peony. Once I've used them, if I think I might need them again, I'm going to store each one in a sleeve like this. I've got yet another paper scrap, the title and a picture of the project, where I got it from, what I did with it, and room for notes. The templates are behind it. This is especially helpful if you've taken the trouble to enlarge a template, which can be frustrating and require several attempts - at least it is for me. Well who wants to repeat that experience, now I can just save them for next time.

Here's the recipe from above, in case you can't read it due to the size of the photo and glare from the flash bouncing off the page protector.

My Favorite Taco Salad

This one is not creative or hard to make because I don't mix up a little of this and pinch of that to make the taco meat like some do. That might save money in the long run, but I just use a packet and call it a day. What it is, is yummy and it's been made in my family for years. I remember going to family reunions and large bowls of this being put out. I make a healthier version than back in the day by using the leanest cut of beef, reduced sodium taco seasoning, light dressing, and less cheese but even with all those changes I still love it.

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 packet taco seasoning - we use the Ortega low sodium packet
  • lettuce - we used red leaf lettuce, my favorite variety
  • sharp cheddar cheese
  • tomatoes
  • green pepper
  • red onion
  • tortilla chips - use the crumbs from the bottom of the bag
  • Catalina dressing - Mine MUST be Kraft's light
  • and absolutely NO OLIVES, but if you like them I guess you can add 'em


  • Cook and drain beef
  • Follow directions on seasoning packet to make taco meat, this usually involves dumping seasoning packet onto beef, adding water, and stirring
  • While beef was cooking, wash and dry lettuce
  • Cut up remaining vegetables and shred cheese using grater as this tastes much better than the stuff you buy predone in a packet. I'm lazy but even I make time for this!
  • Layer lettuce followed by beef and vegetables (I like mine with A LOT of green pepper and onion), pour on dressing, and crumple chips on top.
  • Mix all up and enjoy, for some reason I like this even better after it's been mixed up for awhile and the dressing has wilted the lettuce a bit.
Find more great ideas on how to make your home a better place and contribute your own at 11th Heaven's Homemaker Monday and at Making a Happy Home Monday.

For recipes and to share one of your own please visit the Tasty Tuesday Blog Party at Forever Wherever and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace. Get great kitchen tips at Tammy's Recipe's weekly Kitchen Tip Tuesday.

And if you've tackled a big task in your life lately, like I did with my stack of recipes go to Tackle it Tuesday at Five Minutes for Mom. This week's guest tackler is my friend Courtney, go see her adorable animal lovey patterns!

22 Friends Said:

Cheryl said...

Your recipe binder is so cute. This is a project that has been on my to do list for awhile now too. I'm tired of having piles of recipes and cookbooks around when I only use a handful of them. This is good inspiration for me!

Katie said...

I love your recipe binder. Organizing my recipes has been on my list of to-dos for weeks. I keep having to move it to my new list b/c it is the only thing left un-done on the original list. Thanks for the motivation to get started. The paper you used on the cover is so cheerful.
What'd you think of the Oscars?

Tonja said...

I would love to have a place for all my recipes. Right now they are all bunched up in a pile so whenever I open my cupboard they all fall out. I am going to hobbby lobby today to look for paper for all kinds of projects. I hope you don't mind if I copy your idea. I would love to be able to have it on the counter so I can just pull it out or for friends to look at.
Just one question...are those pics you took of the meals you cooked?!?

Missy said...

What a good idea! The taco salad looks awesome! You have such a fun blog. I look forward to coming back and visiting often.

By the way, thanks for your comment on my blog, Simply Red, about the die cutting machines. You make a good point about being able to cut through fabric and chip board with the Big Shot. That might just be worth it! Thanks again.

MarciaBrady said...

I love your recipe binder. It's so cute. I'm definitely gonna have to check out the sites with the templates, etc.

I spent all of last Tuesday completing a menu plan for the next two weeks! Menu planning is hard work!!

But, I need to organize my recipes and find some good healthy recipes (that don't include a lot of veggies!) for my "lifestyle change"! haha

Again, love the recipe binder!

Brittany said...

That taco salad looks great! You seem very organized! Way to go!

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! Seems as though we have quite a bit in least from my favorites!

Have a blessed day!

Jerri at Simply Sweet Home said...

The taco salad looks good, and I love your recipe binder! The colors and designs are so cute!

The Childrens Nest said...

Ok you are GOOD!!!! I love your binder ideas...I have wanted to do that for years and have never taken the time to do it! I love the binder with the templates... GENIOUS!!! I have piles of those things and the pile just keeps getting bigger! Now I know what to do!! I love your I Love You pillow! I am excited to make one! Thanks for your comment on The Childrens Nest!!!
Have a great night!

Anonymous said...

I always love coming to your blog!

Your books are great and so pretty! Your creativy show in everything you do! Thanks for the link back to my downloads. I really do like having it customized for our family!

Thanks for joining Tasty Tuesday with your Yummy recipe.

You are just too cool!

Kris said...

Brilliant as always Katie! I have scrap recipes all over the place... I really need to get them organized and put together in one central location. Thanks for the inspiration!

Sherry @ Lamp Unto My Feet said...

Yum! This sounds delish and your binder looks great! Thanks for sharing!

Have a great Tuesday!

Phoebe @ GettingFreedom said...

I love it!

I've been trying to get my recipe binder finished, and I just haven't yet. Seems as if I always find something else better to do. :) I love how cute you made yours, though--just makes you want to use it and cook.

Kirstin said...

I love your recipe binder. I have a folder of recipes that need to go into a binder. I just haven't done it yet. I think I'll go buy a tablet of cool papers to use

Lisa@BlessedwithGrace said...

I love taco salad. Also, I LOVE your recipe notebook idea. I have lots of scrapbook paper and never do anything with them. This is a great way to use the paper. I am compiling so many great recipes, from Tempt My Tummy Tuesday. This would be a great place for me to keep them!!! Awesome!

Susie said...

That's a great tackle!! Love that binder!

Jerralea said...

Thanks for sharing your ideas. I love taco salad, and yours looks yummy. I have a recipe binder but haven't thought of using scrapbook paper to decorate it with. Now I'm going to have to do it!

DomesticDivasFancy said...

That is a really good idea. I think it is super cute too. I may have binders for everything but recipes. It is a good idea to help keep it clean when your cooking with the sheet protectors.

The Rantings of a Drama Queen's Mum said...

The recipe binder came out great. I'm organizing my recipes right now. I'm hoping to scrap them somehow, but am still trying to figure out how.

Vickie said...

Oh my gosh! You are so organized. Can you come over to my place? My whole house needs a total rehaul. Wow.

The taco salad looks great. Nothing funky in it. Yummy.

p.s. 18 comments. I told you. Your famous.

Angela @ Nine More Months said...

Mmm, that's taco salad looks yummy. Great tackle!

Anonymous said...

Things should be made w/fun in mind. God wants to be happy too.

Jennifer said...

Your binder is too cute! And I love what you did with the sheets inside, too. Very nice!

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