Creamy Quinoa Primavera.... And cookies too

Just so happy to finally spend Monday afternoon in my kitchen again after the prolonged absence... Felt great to fill the fridge and choose what we'd be eating instead of having it delivered at work and eating off styrofoam plates with plastic cutlery at the same time as wondering what everyone at home is doing to fill their stomachs.... Even if it also means stacking the dishwasher and wiping the counters and doing all the cleanup, it's totally worth it to be back in the old routine.
Was dying for something fresh and warm and full of crisp veggies so decided to try this quinoa primavera recipe and toss in some leftover chicken to round it out. The addition of cream cheese really did make it creamy (although I used just a bit instead of the four ounces called for) and the kids had no complaints.

Since the cookie jar had been empty for over a week now (poor neglected children), I knew baking was also in the cards this afternoon. Since I'm on my dulce de leche kick, I decided to try a twist on traditional peanut butter cookies and sandwich them together with a dollop of the sweet stuff. I thought how could you possibly go wrong with this combination of crunchy and creamy, but somehow the two didn't come together as expected. Disappointing... The dulce de leche just got swallowed up by the crispness of the cookie and there was no added flavour, just calories. Hmmm.... Next time I'll try a different sandwich filling and see if the results are better. One recipe had called for mixing PB with some butter and icing sugar, and on second thought, that might have been the perfect answer. There's always next week. Somehow I'm pretty confident that these ones will still miraculously disappear.

Serves 4

1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
4 ounces cream cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
5 cups thinly sliced or bite sized pieces assorted uncooked vegetables
3 tablespoons grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

Rinse quinoa thoroughly; drain. Bring quinoa and broth to boil in a 2-quart saucepan; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 20-25 minutes or until broth is absorbed.

While quinoa is cooking, melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook garlic in butter for about one minute, stirring frequently, until golden. Stir in vegetables. Cook about 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir cream cheese and basil into cooked quinoa. Toss vegetables with quinoa mixture and sprinkle with cheese.

makes about 30

1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 cup peanut butter, smooth or crunchy
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 container dulce de leche (homemade or store-bought)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk the flour and baking soda together. In a large bowl, mix the unsalted butter and sugar until well blended. Beat in the egg, peanut butter and vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture until well blended.
Shape into 1-inch balls and arrange about 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Press flat with a fork in one direction and then press again in the perpendicular direction to give a crisscross effect.

Bake one sheet at a time, about 10 to 12 minutes. Let stand a couple of minutes on the baking sheet, then remove to a rack to cool.

When fully cooled, sandwich together two cookies with a dollop of dulce de leche.

Rest of the week
March 18 Pizza night
March 19 Grilled steak and salmon, sweet potato mash and assorted roasted vegetables
March 20 Creamy quinoa primavera with chicken