I cook on a budget, as well with dietary restrictions — which means I generally buy a bunch of produce and have to find different ways of using them up and incorporating them into my recipes.
In the past, I used to look up recipes that sounded delicious, then found myself at the store hunting down ingredients and leaving the store after spending $100…for a meal for two.
My shopping habits have since changed. I like to buy a bunch of produce at the beginning of the week, and then simply do web search with the ingredients I have on hand. For example, I have some frozen Mahi Mahi filets from Costco, some coconut milk and some curry spice mixes…. so i go to Foodily and search, “Coconut Milk, Mahi Mahi, Curry” and instantly find a plethora of recipes. If I have to shop, the list is small and most of the time I can find some kind of substitution and improvise.