In a previous post, I mentioned that I put all my recipes in a binder for ease of use and to keep my cookbooks from food splatters. The only organizational tabs I have in my binder are “Proven Recipes” and “Recipes to Try.” As I continue to work on menu planning for at least a week at a time before I go grocery shopping, I’ve wanted to organize my recipes by ingredient. That way if I buy a bunch of cilantro for one recipe and I have half a bunch leftover, I can easily find another recipe that uses cilantro to add to my menus for the week. Or if I have leftovers, I can quickly check my binder for options. Some leftovers freeze well and then I can just save it for later, but other foods do not, so I need another way to eat it. Instead of copying each recipe several times to include it in all the appropriate categories, I’ve started an index at the front of my binder. Along the left side of the page, I’ve listed ingredients. Next to each ingredient, I’ve started listing all the proven recipe titles (I’ll add the unproven titles in pencil). I don’t have my recipes numbered, so I didn’t include any page numbers in my index. It will be easy enough for me to flip through and find the recipe I want once I have the idea from my index listing. So far, I have one index page for herbs and another page for grains and beans. I think I’d like to do one for fruits and another for vegetables, especially as spring and summer get closer, so I can take advantage of the abundant fresh produce available then. As I’ve been indexing, I realized that for some ingredients I have many recipes, but for other ingredients I have only one recipe. As I continue reading cookbooks, I intend to look for recipes that use the ingredients I don’t often use. I’m hopeful that this will add variety to my diet and make it easier to stay away from junky convenience foods, because my taste buds will be happier. Plus, it should naturally provide me with a wider range of vitamins and minerals.