Get organized in the kitchen with help from Office

Organization is the best recipe. With flour in your hair and that ever-present apron around your waist, it's high time you had help keeping track of all that you do in the kitchen. From documenting new recipes to recording the menus you use when entertaining, Microsoft Office makes it easy to get organized, get creative, and keep cooking.

If you know how you want to organize your cooking plans but aren't sure where to start, the Templates Web site on Office Online is a great place to get ideas. With downloadable templates for recipe cards, menus, invitations, and more, it's bound to have what you need — and you'll save yourself lots of time, too. Here are some great templates and suggestions to help you get started.

Easy-bake organization

Office Program Solutions
Microsoft Word

Recipe cards     We've whipped up some that you can download and adapt to your taste.

Menus     Here are some holiday-themed menus to play with.

Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Office OneNote

Grocery lists     Create reusable grocery lists. (Typing them is particularly useful if they tend to be long and your handwriting isn't legible.)

Planners     Plan for a big meal or simply your weekly meals with one of our planner templates.

Entertainment spreadsheet     If you entertain a lot, we suggest creating a spreadsheet that tracks what you served, when, and to whom. This may seem a little far-fetched if you're not the organized type, but in the long run it can save you time. (And it may save you embarrassment, too: Who's a vegetarian? Who is lactose intolerant? Who will eat only free-range organic chickens?)

Microsoft Access

Recipe database     If you want to keep track of the many recipes you have, create a database to organize and store recipes so that you can view them at a glance, run queries to retrieve just the information you want—such as which recipes use lamb—or run reports that analyze all of your recipes (for example, how many recipes in your database are dairy-free?).

Microsoft Outlook®

Address books, contacts lists, and e-mail     Create address books and contact lists for favorite restaurants, cooking stores, and kitchen specialty stores. Swap recipes and menu ideas through e-mail with friends and relatives who share your culinary interests.

Although Office can't help you peel potatoes, clarify butter, or stuff a turkey, it can help you organize that stack of food-splattered recipe cards and keep you connected to the resources and people that feed your passion for cooking.