MEAL prepping is the gold standard of saving money, reducing waste and keeping healthy – but have you ever made 10 meals in an hour?
The Batch Lady: Cooking On A Budget by Suzanne Mulholland is published by HQ. Photography by Haarala Hamilton.
1. Heat the oil in a large, deep-sided frying pan over a medium heat, then add the onions and chicken pieces and cook, stirring, until the onions are soft and the chicken is sealed. Add the sliced mushrooms to the pan and stir to combine with the chicken and onions, then cook, stirring occasionally, for five to seven minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the mushrooms have released all their water.
2. Add the flour to the pan and stir to coat the chicken and vegetables, then pour in the chicken stock and stir well. Slowly pour in the milk, stirring and thickening the sauce as you do, then bring the mixture to the boil, reduce the heat to low and leave to cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until thickened, then stir through the mustard and season well with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and set aside.
If you are cooking now, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Pour the pie filling into a large, ovenproof baking dish smaller than the sheet of pastry, then lay the pastry over the top of the filling and tuck in the edges. Brush the top of the pie with the beaten egg, then transfer the pie to the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden and well risen. Cut into generous wedges and serve hot with mash and veg alongside, if you like.
If you are making ahead to freeze: Leave the filling mixture to cool to room temperature, then ladle into a large, labelled freezer bag and freeze flat with the sheet of pastry alongside for up to three months.
Then Remove the pie filling and pastry sheet from the freezer and leave to defrost in the fridge, ideally overnight. Once defrosted, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4 and assemble, cook and serve the pie in the same way described above.
If you are cooking now: Put all the ingredients in a large pan over a medium heat and stir to combine. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and leave to cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Spoon into serving bowls and serve hot.
If you are making ahead to freeze: Tip all the ingredients into a large, labelled freezer bag, then give the contents of the bag a gentle stir to combine. Freeze flat for up to three months.
Then: Remove the bag from the freezer and leave to fully defrost in the fridge, ideally overnight. Once defrosted, tip the medley into a large pan over a medium heat and stir to combine. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and leave to cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Spoon into serving bowls and serve hot.