Once we got married and I was suddenly responsible for cooking for two each day (actually cooking, not just eating macaroni and cheese or a whole cookie sheet of roasted green beans or cheese, grapes, and carrots for dinner), I started meal planning. At first this took me a LONG time, but I can do it faster now. Here are some hints.
Shop the meat sales. When something you use goes on sale, buy it. Take note of the price so you can compare sales and also use the per pound price for those funky sales like “5 packages of meat for $25” and know whether or not you’re actually getting a deal.
Make a generic plan. I keep this in a Google Doc too (you’ll note this is a trend…). For example, we usually eat pasta on Mondays, chicken on Tuesdays, some other meat on Wednesdays, a soup/salad on Thursdays, etc. That helps me keep some variety and not serve chicken every single day, although Gavin sometimes still claims I do.
Keep track of what you’ve been eating. I just copy and paste from my meal plan into a page that lists things we’ve eaten each week for dinner. That helps me see when the last time we had spaghetti and meatballs was and if it’s too soon to have it again.
Use Pinterest to your advantage! If I am looking for a chicken dish, I can use my pinboard of chicken dishes. Organize your pins how it works for you. For example, if you want to always have a crockpot meal on Wednesdays, keep your crockpot meals in a separate board. I like to look for dishes by meat, except soups and salads, so I organize mine that way.
In short, meal planning is awesome and you should do it too, especially if you have to get a real dinner on the table (almost) every night.