I do the 2 week menu planning
thing and recommend it. However, I don't usually assign a specific night to a specific recipe and also try to build up a freezer stash to absorb hectic nights. I do tend to make the same things--especially the easy stuff like burgers or frozen pasta.
You can meal plan and
build in flexibility. Flexibility comes from having a stocked pantry/freezer so I think it's necessary to both stockpile and meal plan for optimum results. If you have stuff in your pantry that you need to 'use up' and that presents a barrier to effective meal planning, then that means you may not be stocking what you eat.
Some people like to do a 'type' of food each night and menu plan around that (i.e. Mexican night, Italian night, American Classics night, Asian night etc...).
What I do is...
-Never assign a specific day to a meal, but I do have a plan for the days where it is essential that dinner be done by xyz time to fit our schedule (such as the nights I work). This way, about 60% of the time, I cook what we're in the mood for from the current 2 week menu.
-Try to have enough staples on hand that I can completely deviate from the plan if I need/want to.
-Make stuff anyway even if I'm not in the mood with the idea that I can feed it to the freezer. Usually once I make it, I'm interested in eating it, but if not I stash it for some other time and make grilled cheese or something.
-Live by the rule that take out is for when we're sick or there's been some kind of schedule emergency. And look for take out first in my freezer.
-Keep a queue of new recipes to try and try one new recipe a cooking cycle or per week to keep things interesting and introduce new flavors.