I brew my own recipes exclusively now and, especially now, I am basically only brewing about 4 recipes over and over and over again - <snip>
...Those Papazian book (TCJ and HBC) were great inspiration design books, though.
That's pretty much my story too...when I started brewing there really were
no kits per se (in 1971 I bought my malt syrup...Blue Ribbon hopped... in an Iowa supermarket...right there on the shelf with baking goods) and flew from there with the help of my biology major friend who insisted on overseeing the yeast health, as well as insisting on using 2 cans
of extract for the batch.
He was fairly prescient, I guess...the common wisdom at the time was to use nearly 50% table sugar).
I'm guessing that if it weren't for that surprisingly decent first batch, I would have lost interest and moved on.
For years after that it was combinations of different malt syrups (as I discovered them...John Bull, Edme, and especially M&F "Old Ale") and hop additions, then finally all grain. Charlie's book set me on the right path as far as the grain handling goes and after doing it for so many years, I pretty much know what to expect, even given the margin of error from swapping grain brands and sources.
Right now there are probably 5 or 6 beers all formulas of my own making, that I make on a regular basis and and which are pretty consistent from batch to batch with excellent repeatability.
As a side note (and I know it goes against the common wisdom of the boards) , I've found that freely substituting malts and in most cases, even hop varieties for the beers I make seems to make little difference in the end results if the right adjustments are made.
That said, I do have my favorites among the hop varieties though (they are mostly old time, traditional varieties like CLuster, Bullion, and Brewer's Gold) and try to keep enough on hand at all times and sub out only when I need . But I don't fret about substitutions...with very few subtle exceptions it almost always makes the same recognizable beers.