I’ve found that it saves a lot of time and money to work from a weekly menu. I just shop for ingredients I need for particular meals, use what I have on hand as much as possible, and try new things often.
In order to make sure I'm not repeating the same meals over all the time, I use my monthly meal calendar to balance things out.
I keep thinking I'd like to plan out a whole month in advance using new and old recipes, but I end up working week to week. Sloth.
I also pencil in the meals for the week at the bottom of my grocery list so I can see what goes with what and so I don't forget any ingredients. (There's room to write that doesn't show on this example.)
Here are some suggestions to get you started:
Smoked paprika and Liquid Smoke...the best sloppy joes I've ever had. Find some really nice buns for them too.
I'm a bad dog. I had the ingredients so I made this twice in a week. I loved it, my spouse did not. So I ate it myself the second time and made him something else. I halved the recipe each time. Use Ruffles for the chips and crush them well. I'm not sure I trust myself to make it again. (...pencils in ingredients on grocery list...)
I love coleslaw, and tried this recipe for Thanksgiving. The store didn't have any fresh Italian Parsely so I sprinkled in a tiny bit of dried from the cupboard. I was lucky to find a tiny head of cabbage. The method for shredding up the cabbage for so simple and quick. I was surprised at how tasty the dried cranberries were in the dish. Just an easy, lovely, light dish. I'll halve it to make for myself at home. It's nice to try recipes out on a crowd, but I've been halving more and more recipes, particularly new ones, in case I'm not so fond of them, and because many use 9 x 13 pans and are just way too much for two.