Save money with The Batch Lady’s recipes and meal prep tips

Meal prepping is the gold standard for saving money, reducing waste and staying healthy – but have you ever prepared 10 meals in an hour?

It might seem like an impossible feat, but for Suzanne Mulholland, aka The Batch Lady (@thebatchlady), it’s a regular event — and the key to success is making a plan.

As an example of how she does it, Mulholland, who lives on the Scottish Borders, starts with a meal like fajitas. “There’s ground beef and onions and everything else in the pot for fajitas,” she says — and that also works as a base for two other dishes: chilli and spaghetti bolognese.

“While the meat is browning, I make two family batches of burgers and patties that I freeze raw. Then I split my pot to make two batches of the other three recipes.”

You then have 10 servings of five different dishes for your freezer.

This style of cooking comes naturally to Mulholland, 47, who used to work as a time management expert. She took all the tools from her previous job and used them in cooking when she had children. After sharing recipes on YouTube and Instagram, The Batch Lady was born (she currently has around 27.7K subscribers and 157K followers on each platform).

Batch cooking doesn’t have to be an endless parade of stews either – the recipes in Mulholland’s new book, The Batch Lady: Cooking on a budget, are lively and interesting. “We have churros, dirty fries, calzones, cheesecake, koftas, and ramen — all really good stuff,” she says.

Oreo peanut butter ice cream cake from The Batch Lady: Cooking On A Budget by Suzanne Mulholland Credit: PA Photo/Haarala Hamilton.
Oreo peanut butter ice cream cake from The Batch Lady: Cooking On A Budget by Suzanne Mulholland Credit: PA Photo/Haarala Hamilton.

She may be on her fourth cookbook now, but Mulholland doesn’t claim to have perfected everything. When asked if she’s ever had a kitchen disaster, she laughs, “I had one last night! I’m always trying new recipes… So I made a Christmas dinner roll and it worked perfectly. But I was wondering if I could make a Christmas pasta bake… “It wasn’t pretty. Don’t chop up your Christmas dinner and leftovers and make a pasta casserole out of it because it really wasn’t good.” You can’t deny the benefits of batch cooking, however – especially in a livelihood crisis.

“My whole ethos is that you don’t have to cook every night, you don’t have to cook when you want to eat — you can cook whenever you want,” says Mulholland. And that could also help save money on takeaways or last-minute trips to the supermarket.

If you’re looking to save time and money with batch cooking, here’s how to get started…

Start small

“I always say start small,” advises Mulholland. “All you have to do is pick two meals a week that you eat regularly and find a recipe to freeze.

“Every time you make it, double it – eat one tonight, put one in the freezer. That means you don’t have to cook another night because you have a meal in the freezer.” She suggests this style of cooking is “addictive” — once you start, you’ll want to do it more and more.

Chicken and Mushroom Humble Pie from The Batch Lady: Cooking On A Budget by Suzanne Mulholland.  Credit: PA/Haarala Hamilton.
Chicken and Mushroom Humble Pie from The Batch Lady: Cooking On A Budget by Suzanne Mulholland. Credit: PA/Haarala Hamilton.

plan ahead

“You don’t have to plan every meal, planning just one extra meal saves you money,” she says.

“Nowadays we all shop upside down – we walk into the supermarket and then we’re like, ‘Yeah, what do I want to eat? What do I want to buy?’ – and of course supermarkets are set up so that you can choose items that make them the most money.

“So before you do your grocery shopping, decide what you want to eat and then see what you’ve already eaten. This way you avoid food waste and save money.”

get organized

Not surprisingly, for a time management expert, Mulholland has plenty of handy tips to make batch cooking as quick and easy as possible.

“When you’re cooking in batches, it’s good to be organized — have all your ingredients ready and have everything else you need ready,” she advises. “It also pays to have an empty dishwasher or a sink with hot, soapy water.” That way, after you’ve cooked, you’re not faced with “a huge kitchen to clean up” – which might scare you for life.

Oreo Peanut Butter Ice Cream Cake recipe

A decadent treat you can make months in advance.

Oreo Peanut Butter Ice Cream Cake recipe

preparation time

19 minutes


  • 1 x 154g packet of Oreos

  • 60g butter, melted, plus extra for greasing

  • 200 g chocolate digestive biscuits

  • 80g smooth peanut butter, plus extra to drizzle on top

  • 1 x 900ml tub of vanilla ice cream, soaked


  1. Grease an 18 cm springform pan with butter and set aside.

  2. Set aside three Oreos for decoration, place the rest in a large freezer bag along with the digestive biscuits and mash with a rolling pin to a fine crumbly consistency. Place in a large mixing bowl, add the melted butter and stir. Pour the crumbs into the prepared springform pan and press evenly onto the base. Place in the fridge to set while you prepare the topping.

  3. Place the ice cream in a mixing bowl (it should be soft but not runny). Place the peanut butter in a separate small microwave-safe bowl and microwave for a few seconds until liquid, then pour the peanut butter into the ice cream and stir with a wooden spoon until combined.

  4. Remove the base from the fridge and pour the ice cream mixture over it, smoothing it into an even layer. Dab some more peanut butter onto the top, then use a knife or skewer to curl the ice cream.

  5. Crush and sprinkle the remaining Oreos on top, then cover the ice cream cake with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for at least 3 hours to set.

  6. If you’re serving now… Once the ice cream cake has set completely, remove it from the freezer and let it slightly thaw for about 10 minutes. Run a knife along the inside edge of the tin, open the springform tin, cut the cake into wedges and serve.

  7. Or simply leave the cake in the freezer for up to three months. Then take the cake out of the freezer and let it thaw slightly for about 10 minutes. Run a knife along the inside edge of the tin, open the springform tin, cut the cake into wedges and serve.

Recipe for humble pie with chicken and mushrooms

You can make this dish vegetarian by swapping out the chicken for a similar meat substitute.

Recipe for humble pie with chicken and mushrooms

preparation time

20 minutes


  • 1 tbsp olive or vegetable oil

  • 115 g frozen chopped onions

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 300 g chestnut mushrooms, sliced

  • 2 tbsp regular flour

  • 240 ml chicken broth

  • 200ml milk

  • 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard

  • 1 sheet of pre-rolled puff pastry

  • 1 egg, beaten

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat, then add the onions and chicken pieces and stir-fry until onions are tender and chicken is sealed. Add the sliced ​​mushrooms to the pan and stir to combine with the chicken and onions, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is tender and the mushrooms have drained all of their water, 5 to 7 minutes.

  2. Add the flour to the pan and stir to coat the chicken and vegetables, then pour in the chicken broth and stir well. Slowly pour in the milk while stirring and thickening the sauce, then bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cook for 10-15 minutes until thickened, then stir in the mustard and season well with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and set aside.

  3. Now if you’re cooking… Preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F/Gas Mark 4. Pour the pie filling into a large, ovenproof casserole dish that is smaller than the pastry sheet, then place the filling on top and tuck in the edges. Brush the top of the cake with the beaten egg, then place the cake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, until golden and well risen. Cut into generous chunks and serve hot with puree and vegetables, if desired.

  4. If you want to pre-freeze… Allow the filling to cool to room temperature, then transfer to a large labeled freezer bag and freeze flat with the pastry sheet alongside for up to three months.

  5. Then… take the tart filling and pastry sheet out of the freezer and let them thaw in the fridge, preferably overnight. Once thawed, preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F/Gas mark 4 and assemble, bake and serve the cake in the same manner as above.

  • The Batch Lady: Cooking On A Budget by Suzanne Mulholland is published by HQ. Photograph by Haarala Hamilton. Now available.