Recipe: Slow Cooked Old El Paso Creamy Poblano Pepper Casserole

Quorn Slow Cooked Creamy Casserole


The kitchen is currently being redecorated, so that seemed like a good excuse to be lazy and just chuck a load of stuff in the slow cooker. I’d been sent a few Old El Paso products to try but unfortunately two of the products weren’t suitable for vegetarians (the One Pot Rice Meal and the Stand ‘N’ Stuff Soft Taco Kit. I’ve never had tacos so I had been looking forward to trying them, before I found out they’re not veggie, ho hum). Their Creamy Poblano Pepper Casserole Mix is suitable for vegetarians though (as are lots of other Old El Paso products), so I made that with Quorn fillets.

The recipe on the back of the packet said to mix the contents with 50ml of water. This seemed a tiny amount to me, especially as it was going to be sitting in a slow cooker all day, so I doubled it up to 100ml. I also added a few slices of jalapeno peppers and the result was a deliciously creamy, yet spicy, casserole.

Slow Cooked Old El Paso Creamy Poblano Pepper Casserole (serves 4)

8 Quorn fillets (I put them in the slow cooker frozen)
1 packet Old El Paso Creamy Poblano Pepper Casserole Mix
100ml water
1 onion, sliced
1 green pepper, deseeded and sliced
A few slices of jalapeno peppers, chopped
120ml double cream

  1. Place the Quorn fillets, onion, jalapenos and green pepper into the slow cooker.
  2. Mix up the casserole mix with the water and pour over the Quorn and vegetables and stir in.
  3. Cook on low for about 5 hours, adding the cream to the slow cooker 20 minutes before the end.
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Quorn Vegetarian Moussaka


The Quorn Kitchen cookbook said the preparation time would be 10 minutes, with the cooking time being 50 minutes. I’ve always thought the preparation time meant the time spent getting the ingredients together, chopping vegetables and getting it ready before it goes in the oven. Oh no, not in this case. In this case the preparation time was about two weeks. Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration but it was more like 40 minutes, than 10 minutes.

When the sauce started to turn a bit brown, panic set in as I thought isn’t evaporated milk used in banoffee pie? Or is that condensed milk? Are they the same thing? Is my moussaka going to taste of banoffee pie? Don’t get me wrong – I love banoffee pie but my culinary tastes don’t stretch as far as some weird moussaka/banoffee combo.

Still, it didn’t taste of banoffee pie, it tasted of yum. Filling, too.

I’m going to post the recipe as it is in the Quorn Kitchen cookbook, but I left out the lentils, allspice or cinnamon (The Meat Eater doesn’t like cinnamon in savoury dishes – he says it makes everything taste like apple crumble), mint and nutmeg. I also roasted the aubergine slices, not grilled them, as I don’t have a grill the size of a small Welsh village (and I don’t know how to use the grill, anyway).


p.s. Quorn asked me to be one of their ambassadors, so I’ll also be blogging about Quorn once a month over at my fitness blog.

Quorn Moussaka (serves 4-6)

350g Quorn Mince
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely diced
100g puy lentils, canned (optional)
390g carton chopped tomatoes
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground allspice or cinnamon
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried mint
1 large aubergine, thinly sliced

For the topping

410g tin evaporated milk
40g cornflour
25g butter
25g plain flour
Pinch grated nutmeg
1 free-range egg, beaten
50g grated Cheddar cheese

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a heavy base saucepan. Add the onion, garlic and carrots and fry for 5 minutes until soft and lightly coloured. Add the Quorn Mince, tomatoes, oregano, allspice or cinnamon, bay leaves and mint. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste.
  3. Brush the aubergine slices on both sides with the remaining oil and grill on both sides until brown. Lay the aubergine slices on absorbent kitchen paper. Set aside.
  4. For the sauce, pour the evaporated milk into a measuring jug and make up to 1 litre with water. Mix the cornflour to a smooth paste with 6 tbsp of the milk and set aside.
  5. Melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the plain flour and cook over a low heat for 2 minutes. Gradually blend in the milk and water mix and slowly bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Stir in the cornflour paste and continue to cook over a low heat until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and add the nutmeg. Season to taste and stir in the beaten egg.
  6. Arrange the mince and aubergine slices in layers in a large baking dish. Remove the bay leaves and discard. Cover with the sauce, sprinkle with grated cheese.
  7. Bake, uncovered, in a hot oven for about 30 minutes until the top is a rich golden brown and the dish is piping hot.
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Quorn Meat Free Swedish Meatballs with Tomato and Spinach


After making the Mexican Vegan Crustless Quiche yesterday afternoon, I had half a bag of spinach left over and spinach is always good to add to a pasta dish (or a curry dish for that matter) for a bit of greenery goodness.

Quorn Meat Free Swedish Meatballs with Tomato and Spinach (serves 4)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 bag frozen Quorn Meat Free Swedish Meatballs
2 tins chopped tomatoes
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 onion, chopped
2 or 3 large handfuls of spinach
Fresh basil
Salt and pepper

  1. Cook the Quorn as instructed on the packet and leave to one side.
  2. Fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the tinned tomatoes and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  4. Tear in some fresh basil.
  5. Stir in the spinach.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste, then stir in the Quorn and heat through until the spinach has wilted.
  7. Serve with spaghetti and garlic bread (or whatever you like).
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Quorn sausage and mash

Some things just don’t quite go to plan. Like last night’s dinner, for example. I had planned to have pie, roast potatoes, green beans and gravy but on investigating the freezer, found there was only one pie. So, Plan B was Quorn sausages and roast potatoes but on investigating the cooking instructions on the frozen roast potatoes (yes, yes… I know… frozen roast potatoes? Don’t judge me; they were sent to me and actually, they’re only made of potato, so no list of ingredients as long as your arm), found out they were going to take 45 minutes and I was too hungry to wait that long.


Plan C, then: Quorn sausage and mash. Quick and easy and you can’t go wrong with sausage and mash (unless you fancy a curry – it’s not quite the same thing, is it?)

These frozen Quorn sausages were meaty without being ‘meaty’ (it does kind of make sense, honest), the ‘skin’ had a nice bite to it and, as an added bonus, Quorn is a healthy source of protein. Only trouble was, I was so full after, I wasn’t hungry enough to eat the sponge pudding that’s got a use by date of December 2013 I keep meaning to use up.

Didn’t stop me munching a Nutrageous Bar during Eastenders though.

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National Heart Month: Quorn chicken and leek patchwork pie

Did you know February is National Heart Month? No? Waitrose did and they came up with some recipes to keep our hearts healthy and asked me to test one of them.


There are a few vegetarian recipes on the website, but I love puff pastry, so I decided to vegetarianise their Chicken and Leek Patchwork Pie by replacing the chicken with Quorn Chicken-Style Pieces and using vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.


Puff pastry isn’t usually associated with healthy living, but because you’re only using a quarter of a packet, you’re not going to overdose on fat.

I was so pleased with how it turned out, it was absolutely delicious and something I’ll definitely make again.


Quorn chicken and leek patchwork pie (serves 4)
(adapted from the Waitrose website)

1 tbsp olive oil
250g leeks, sliced
200g Quorn chicken-style pieces
125ml vegetable stock
125ml milk, plus extra for brushing
1 tbsp sauce flour
150g frozen peas
150g frozen broccoli, defrosted slightly and cut into smaller pieces
30g soft cheese with garlic and herbs
1/4 pack ready-rolled puff pastry

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C, gas mark 6.
  2. Heat the oil in a saucepan and cook the leeks and Quorn chicken-style pieces for 5 minutes until the leeks are softened.
  3. Add the stock and milk, bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Add the sauce flour to the pan, bring to the boil and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring until smooth and thickened.
  4. Stir in the peas, broccoli and soft cheese, then tip into an ovenproof dish.
  5. Cut the pastry into 12 squares and arrange on top of the filling – the pastry should overlap a little in places but not cover the filling completely.
  6. Brush the pastry squares with milk and bake for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is golden and the filling is piping hot.
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Campbell’s Soup Limited Edition Andy Warhol Cans


You all know Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Tomato Soup cans. Now those cans have been brought to life for a limited time.

Campbell’s are also offering everyone the chance to win their own ‘15 minutes of fame’ (or should that be 15 megabytes of fame?) by creating a recipe using a can of Campbell’s Condensed Tomato Soup.

The winner will receive:

a set of LE CRUESET cookware
and a month’s supply of CAMPBELL’S SOUP

Also, the winning recipe will be professionally photographed and featured on the CAMPBELL’S website.

If you want to enter, you’ll have to be quick as the competition closes on Monday 14 October, with the winner being announced on Wednesday 16 October.

For more information and to enter the competition, visit the Campbell’s competition page.

So, am I entering the competition? Of course I am. When it comes to tomato soup, my recipes usually consist of:

1. Open can.
2. Pour into mug.
3. Microwave mug.
4. Drink soup straight from mug.

Or, if I’m feeling posh:

1. Open can.
2. Pour into saucepan.
3. Heat contents of saucepan.
4. Pour into bowl.
5. Drink with a spoon.

So I had to get creative. I decided to use the soup in a slow-cooked Quorn chilli and it was a delicious addition.


Slow-cooked Quorn chilli (serves 6)

500g Quorn mince (or other meatfree mince), leave frozen
1 large onion, chopped
1 can Campbell’s Condensed Tomato Soup
1 can chopped tomatoes
2 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 cloves garlic
200ml water
1 red chill, chopped
2 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp cumin
salt and pepper

Put all the ingredients in the slow-cooker and heat on LOW for about 7-8 hours.

Serve with basmati rice, sour cream or yoghurt, and pitta bread.


Quorn soaks up a lot of water, so if it seems really thick when you add everything, add more water.

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Slow cooked Thai green curry with Quorn

There’s not really enough room for another gadget in the kitchen, but that didn’t stop me buying a slow cooker. I’d been looking at them on Amazon and hearing good things from friends so when I saw this one on the shelf in Tesco for £14, I thought I might as well give it a go.

Of course, then I also needed a cookbook, so I bought a copy of Slow Cooking for Vegetarians and tonight I made the Thai green curry with Quorn.

One thing I noticed about most of the recipes in this book is that you have to fry stuff first. Huh? I thought the whole point of a slow cooker was that you bunged everything in it, went off to do whatever it is that you do all day and, when you get back, your dinner’s ready. Not so, according to this book.

Because it was my first go at slow cooking, I wanted to do everything properly, so I followed the instructions, fried some of the ingredients first then added everything else and left it alone for a few hours. Everything came out beautifully; each vegetable and piece of Quorn soaked up the flavour of the curry paste and coconut, the carrot was wonderfully tender, the mangetout retained its bite, but the red pepper that was in there had disintegrated, leaving only a few bits of skin.

I’m looking forward to experimenting more with my slow cooker – next time though, I think I’ll just bung everything in at the same time without cooking any of it first, or is that a really bad idea?


Slow cooked Thai green curry with Quorn (serves 4)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
2 celery sticks, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
1 tbsp Thai green curry paste
1 garlic clove, crushed
2.5cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
300ml vegetable stock
100g green beans, halved crossways
2 tbsp soy sauce
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime
400g/large can coconut milk
2 x 300g packets of Quorn pieces, thawed if frozen
100g courgettes, sliced
100g mangetout

  1. Preheat the slow cooker on High.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onion, carrot, celery and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened but not browned.
  3. Stir in the curry paste, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the stock, beans, soy sauce and lime zest and juice. Bring just to the boil, transfer to the slow cooker and stir.
  5. Cover and cook on Low for 4-6 hours or until all the vegetables are tender. Stir in the coconut milk, Quorn, courgettes and mangetout and cook for a further 1 hour.

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Quorn Korma

quorn_kormaThis was so easy to make and absolutely delicious. I was worried while I was making it because I’d never made a korma before and the recipe called for coconut milk but all I had in the cupboard were sachets of coconut cream and so I asked Twitter for advice and it was said that watering it down would probably be ok.

I was even more worried when, after blitzing the ingredients to make the curry paste in the blender, my nostrils were met by fumes so strong they made my eyes water but I carried on and hoped for the best.

After the paste is liquidized, all you do is simmer it with the Quorn chicken-style pieces and add in the desiccated coconut (which I left out), butter and cream. You’d think with ingredients like coconut milk, butter, desiccated coconut and cream, the calorie count would be horrific but according to the Quorn website where you’ll find the recipe, it’s only 314 calories per portion.

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Quorn Lasagne

I seem to be going through a pasta and pizza phase at the moment. We had spaghetti on Friday, chilled supermarket pizza on Saturday, Papa John’s delivery pizza on Sunday, pasta bake on Monday and lasagne tonight.

Tonight’s lasagne was from the Quorn Kitchen cookbook. It contains pesto and The Meat Eater’s not a huge fan of pesto but recently he said he’s ok with it in stuff, just not when it’s the main part. So, I thought I’d be ok with a bit of pesto in a lasagne but after a couple of mouthfuls he asked what was the ingredient that tasted of perfume. Unlike me, that boy has well-developed tastebuds – I would never pass the palate test on Masterchef.

Anyway, forget what he says about it tasting of perfume, it doesn’t. It just has a slight pesto kick to it which is ace (obviously only if you like pesto).


I didn’t stick rigidly to the recipe; I used Sainsbury’s meat-free mince instead of Quorn, green pesto instead of red pesto (it’s hard to find veggie red pesto), and used red wine vinegar instead of real wine.

Quorn Lasagne
Serves 4

300g Quorn Mince
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
100g mushrooms diced
400g passata
3 tbsp red pesto
1 tsp dried oregano
3 tbsp red wine – fruity red
1/2 tsp sugar
1 vegetable stock cube
2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, torn
8 lasagne sheets

Cheese sauce

25g butter
25g plain flour
300ml semi-skimmed milk
100g mature Cheddar cheese, grated

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion and garlic for 5 minutes until softened. Add the diced mushrooms and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
  2. Stir in the Quorn Mince and then add the passata, red pesto, oregano, wine, sugar and vegetable stock cube. Gently simmer for 8 minutes. Season to taste and stir in the basil. Remove from the heat.
  3. Meanwhile, make the cheese sauce by melting the butter in a pan and slowly stir in the flour. Slowly add the milk stirring continuously to avoid lumps, until it thickens. Stir in three quarters of the grated cheese, keeping the remainder for the top of the lasagne.
  4. To assemble the dish, put 2 pasta sheets in the base of a lightly greased shallow ovenproof dish. Spoon a third of the mixture on the lasagne sheets. Repeat these layers finishing with a layer of lasagne. Pour over the cheese sauce, scatter over the remaining cheese and bake in the oven for 25 minutes until the top is golden brown and bubbling.
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Lentil and courgette gratin

Another courgette recipe, again from Rose Elliot’s New Complete Vegetarian. We still have two courgettes in the fridge and apparently there are more to come out of the greenhouse, so there’ll be even more courgette recipes on the way soon.

I made a courgette and smoked feta cheese soup last week, but didn’t blog it. It was simply two sliced courgettes, one medium sized sliced potato, cover with stock, season with salt and pepper, simmer for about 20 minutes, then add some cubed smoked feta (I used the one made by Yamas) and blend.

Tonight I made a lentil and courgette gratin (in Rose Elliot’s cookbook, there are variations for lentil and mushroom, lentil and celery, lentil and tomato, and lentil and fennel) and served it with a Quorn Peppered Steak, boiled potatoes, steamed broad beans and steamed green beans. Next time, I’ll serve it on its own with the potatoes and vegetables; it was a meal in itself and didn’t need the Quorn Peppered Steak. 


Lentil and courgette gratin (serves 4)

175g split red lentils
1 pint milk and water mixed
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
1 tsp grated lemon rind
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper~
1 tsp yeast extract or 1-2 tsp soy sauce
450g courgettes, sliced

For the topping

25g fresh breadcrumbs
25g grated cheese

  1. Put the lentils into a saucepan with the milk and water and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the lentils are golden and tender.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas mark 4.
  3. Meanwhile, heat half the olive oil in another saucepan, add the onion, cover and cook for about 10 minutes or until tender but not brown. Add to the lentils with the lemon rind and juice, salt, pepper and yeast extract or soy sauce. Blend this mixture to make a smooth, thick purée.
  4. Fry the courgettes in the remaining oil until tender.
  5. Place the fried courgettes in a shallow baking dish and pour the lentil mixture over the top to cover.
  6. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and cheese evenly over the top.
  7. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
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