First thing I do every 2 weeks is clean out the fridge, freezer and pantry. While cleaning out, keep a tally of leftovers and meat count. I now shop 95% of my list from Aldi. I also like keeping bacon and kielbasa in the freezer. I bag up any leftovers from the fridge and put them in the freezer. I get a sheet of paper and write down any leftovers. Any that are large enough for everyone to eat goes on the menu. Any small portions goes under the "lunch" section. You will see this below.. I usually write "freezer" beside it so I know it's a quick meal I don't have to cook.
While you are cleaning out, keep a list of any items that can be used as sides and make a "side" list. Your canned veggies, rice, pasta, etc. That way you aren't using any items that are planned for a meal. I used to be the worst at using my canned beans/corn and then going to make a recipe and my ingredients are gone! Also, write down any ingredients/spices you are low on. This is a good time to check your sugar, rice, and any other staples you like to keep.
Once I've cleaned out everything and wrote down my staples on my grocery list, I start making my menu. I go through my cookbooks and see what recipes I want and start writing them down. I have typed up and printed out recipes and put them in binders (one for regular recipes and one for crock pot) I pull out the recipes as I write them down on my menu. Any ingredients I need go on my grocery list. I only needed about 7 ingredients for these 21 meals.
After I'm done with my menu and list, I put my menu, along with some pens and my recipes in a drawer in the kitchen. As I make the meal or use a side, I mark it off. As I have leftovers, I add them to the menu as a meal.
All of this took me about an hour without interruptions. Easy to do once you get in the groove!