I also am cooking only for my family and friends. And I always fried onions and garlic first and then the meat.
Until one day I was watching a famous chef here in Greece. She was on TV and was preparing beef stew with vegetables and potatoes.
She fried the meat first (untill it turns red on all sides, generally when the meat is fried and ready it does not stick to the bottom of the skillet), saying that the meat will taste better and keep its juices inside, and then added the onion, garlic, fried for 2 minutes and continued cooking the stew following the recipe.
I was surprised and I tried it the next day.
I can tell you that the meat is juicier and more soft when cooked first.
Since that day I cook this way
I speak for myself only :)