First things first. Make friends with the produce an meat managers. They have the ability to hook you up. Ask them if there are any bargains coming up.
Buy a whole pork loin when they are under 2.00 a pound, Cut it and portion is and into zippy bags (out of one loin, I usually get 3 3lb roasts, slice some of it thinner and pound them out for snitze, or picattas, I also can get USUALLY a 1 lb pc to make into canadian bacon.
Get whole chickens when ever possible (there are plenty of on line tutorials on how to break it down)
When getting fresh produce, blanch and shock it then portion it out and freeze it.
Same for brisket. Get one un-trimmed and do it yourself. Brisket is not only great smoked but I cut it into 1 in cubes and use some for chili. Let your imagination run wild.
Make a 1 week menu. Match up like items and cook them all at once, Chill what you are not using for the first meal.
Example: Roast a whole chicken. Have 1/2 a one for dinner-should feed 2 (on line tutorials for how to PROPERLY carve it) and you should have enough to make chicken and sausage gumbo later. Just chill it and then skin and bone it, Add the meat during the last 5 minutes of cooking to warm the meat thru.
You are going to have rice two times so go ahead and make enough for both meals at once.
Left overs. There are LOTS of things to do with them. Think soups, stews, casseroles, as potential fillings for a quiche (go ahead and buy the crusts or I go crustless myself). Use stuff in a salad for lunch or dinner. These are perfect ideas for say, you really only have a little bit of this and that.
Prep: If you know you are going to use diced onions for two-three recipes, cut em all at once. Store chopped veg in cold water in the fridge so they stay crisp.
Never waste smoke. Smoke meat and veg as you can. Chill down food, portion out and freeze. Comes in handy for rainy days.
Chefs think (they have to) well in advance and plan accordingly-including if something gets messed up( and it will).
Ever notice on cooking shows like Diners, Drive Ins they start cooking something on the stove and finish it in the oven? The reason is it frees up space on the stove and things finishing in the oven generally do take much tending. Most MOST things finish cooking at 350 for 15 minutes or less.
If you don’t own a convection oven with rotiss, you can get a counter top model for 75.00. They cook food faster and the rotiss is great. Don’t you love self basting food?