I fail on a stellar scale when it comes to meal planning. I've been getting better, but it's still a case of 'random is as random does'. I really need to break this, though. It could make such a difference if I could just get the hang of it.
As usual, when I'm desperate I turn to eBay. I bought an inexpensive book on meal planning called 'The Family Meal Planner' by GoodFood. It promised, and I quote, 'Thrifty recipes and 7-day meal plans to help you save money and time'. Hah!
I suppose what I was hoping for was a sort of explanation of how to get a dratted meal plan to work when the cook self sabotages. Instead I got some ready made meal plans, which looked pleasant and varied enough. Some of the recipes are no doubt thrifty. The sweet potato and pineapple korma which is sweet potato, tinned pineapple chunks and tinned coconut milk in roughly equal measures with added korma paste is probably inexpensive. I'm not going to test it. Some are not thrifty at all. The Highland beef with pickled walnuts and pastry puffs is not what I consider thrifty. It may use stewing beef, but it calls for ready made pastry (I can't make pastry anyway), a can of stout (like Guinness) and half a jar of pickled walnuts. A jar of pickled walnuts costs £2.50 at time of typing and the least expensive can of stout is 88p. That's before you've put in the meat! It isn't fillet steak, but it's not exactly bargain basement.
There are lots of tips about balancing the cost over a lot of meals, with lamb on one day but lentils the next, and lots of ideas for using leftovers and freezing. I am ashamed to admit I was hoping that the book would do my thinking for me. I suppose it serves me right.