A Handy Recipe Gift Basket

A handy recipe gift basket can be the ideal gift for a housewarming, a bride-to-be, or your favorite foodie. Gift baskets are easily customizable. A recipe gift basket can be created to reflect a theme or tailored to the personal likes of the recipient.

Select the basket

The first step in creating any themed basket is to choose the container. Breadbaskets, picnic baskets, or decorative baskets are options. However, just because it is a "gift basket," does not mean the container has to be an actual basket. Recipe gift basket containers can be creative. Consider using a useful kitchen container, such as a large mixing bowl, an 8-cup measuring cup, or a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Line the basket or container with dish towels or hot pads.

Choose a theme

Designing a gift basket around a theme gives you a point of focus. Consider the recipient's likes and dislikes. If it's a housewarming gift, look to your neighbor's patio. Is there a grill? If so, consider a barbeque-theme basket. A gift of collected family recipes can be a personal and meaningful gift for a bride-to-be. When your best friend chooses the lunch restaurant, is it always Italian? A taste-of-Italy basket may be a good choice.

Recipes, boxes, binders, and more

Select recipes to match the theme of the gift basket. Look to your own personal collection, trusted cookbooks, and recipes from favorite celebrity chefs and cooking blogs. Select several to share and one recipe to spotlight. Choose a recipe with ingredients that can be arranged in the gift basket.

A recipe gift basket's main feature should be a collection of recipe cards and a place for their storage. Recipe cards and recipe card boxes are available in two sizes, 3-by-5-inch and 4-by-6-inch. Recipe cards can be purchased or made using free templates found online at sites like RecipeCards.net and hp.com. KitchenKapers.com carries a variety of recipe cards and storage options for the cards.

A recipe card box is a compact choice that can sit out of the way on a counter top, while a recipe card binder is larger and will need to be stored like a cookbook. Recipe boxes are available in a variety of styles to match any kitchen decor, including vintage, cottage, and modern, as well as stainless steel, bamboo, and solid colors. CookbookPeople.com offers 36 recipe box designs and 61 varieties of recipe binders.

A nice addition to a recipe gift basket is a recipe memory book. Like a recipe binder, the memory book is like a personal food journal for the home cook. The recipe memory book will give her space to record personal notes, thoughts, and special memories related to each recipe recorded in the book.

Don't forget to encase each handwritten recipe card in a protective plastic card cover. Stash a supply of card covers in the basket as part of the gift, as well. You also can tuck in a set of tabbed dividers to help keep the recipe box organized.

Various theme suggestions

A taste-of-Italy basket can include the recipe for a basic bruschetta. Ingredient items would include about a pound of plum tomatoes, a bulb of garlic, a bottle of extra virgin olive oil, about five or six fresh basil leaves tied with a piece of kitchen string, and one baguette loaf. When giving fresh ingredients, be sure to present the gift basket in a timely manner so none of the food items will perish and become a food-safety issue. Another option would be to give a large pasta serving bowl with recipes for classic Italian dishes like lasagna, minestrone soup, Alfredo and a basic bruschetta. Include some bags of pasta, some jars of pasta sauce, yummy cheeses, and a bottle of wine.

A grilling or barbecue basket -- in addition to featuring mouthwatering recipes for gourmet burgers, kabobs, and other grilled fare -- can include an apron, tongs, spatula, and skewers. This looks mouth-watering in a wicker picnic basket.

A family-recipes theme is sure to be a hit with a bridal couple, who will be touched when their family shares favorite recipes as a shower gift. This recipe gift basket takes advanced planning and time to collect the recipes from family members. Ask family members for holiday favorites, like Grandma's best pecan pie or Aunt Sue's decadent lasagna. Don't forget to ask each contributor to include a personal note or happy wish for the bridal couple. Use a 9-by-13-inch baking dish as a "basket," because every newly married couple can use kitchenware. Include kitchen items like measuring spoons, plastic measuring cups, a whisk, silicon brush, and a sturdy mixing spoon.

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