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In this world of fast food, eating on-the-go, chemically process, corn-syrup saturated food, making a meal with someone has become something of a lost art. Cooking can be calming, fun, and adventurous, and even more so when you're with that special someone. Not to mention, it'll save you a ton more money than going out! For Arab couples who want to try something new, cooking together is a great way to bring you closer and do something productive and fun. If you don't often cook, or just don't want to make too much of a mess, a simple recipe is the best bet to start off with. Something easy to make, with readily available ingredients, makes a great activity for two. Here are just a few examples of great-tasting and easy-to-make dishes that are also tons of fun to prepare:
  1. Guacamole: A great Mexican avocado dip that's refreshing and healthy.
Ingredients: 2 avocados ½ juiced lemon 2 tablespoons of chopped onion ½ teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons of diced tomatoes Directions: Cut the avocados into halves, scooping out the pulp into a bowl. Mash up avocado until it is relatively smooth, then mix in the lemon juice, onions, tomatoes, salt and olive oil. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and let sit in the fridge for approximately an hour. Serve with tortilla chips or crisp pita bread.
  1. Veggie Pizza: For this classic Italian dish, I prefer using store-bought dough, just because it makes everything so much faster and less messy. Any store should carry some pizza dough, but remember that you don't need anything fancy.
Ingredients: pizza dough ½ cup of tomato sauce 2 oz. Romano cheese 3 oz. Mozzarella cheese Flour Toppings (onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, bell peppers, etc.) Directions: On a floured surface, roll out the pizza dough and press out with a rolling pin until it becomes the desired shape and thickness. Spread tomato sauce over pizza, making sure the edges aren't covered, so you have enough for a crust. Arrange the cheese and other toppings on top Preheat oven to 450F, and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until its golden brown on the crusts and crisp underneath.
  1. Spicy Hummus: This traditional Arab dish is readily available, but there's nothing like having homemade, fresh hummus, served with pita bread!
Ingredients: 1 16 oz. can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans ¼ cup liquid from can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans 3-5 tablespoons lemon juice 1 ½ tablespoons tahini 2 cloves of garlic, crushed ½ teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons olive oil Chili powder (to taste) Directions: Drain the chickpeas or garbanzo beans but put the liquid aside in a bowl. Put lemon juice, beans or chickpeas, tahini, garlic, and salt in blender until smooth consistency. Add liquid from chickpeas or garbanzo beans into blender, Blend for additional two minutes or until smooth. Serve in bowl and create a crater in the middle of hummus. Add olive oil inside crater and garnish with chili powder to taste. Serve right away with toasted pita bread Grilled Garlic Shrimp with Butter Sauce: This recipe sounds fancy, but is deceptively simple and so delicious. Just a few ingredients, and you can whip up a satisfying meal for two in no time! Ingredients: 2 pounds of jumbo shrimp, shelled and de-veined 1 large clove of garlic, crushed Salt to taste 2 to 3 tablespoons of lemon juice ¼ cup olive oil Butter sauce Directions: Take crushed garlic, salt, lemon juice and olive oil and mix well in a bowl. Put shrimp in separate bowl and coat well with garlic mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours Put marinated shrimp onto skewers and grill about 5 to 6 inches from coals for about 15 minutes, turning frequently. In saucepan, melt butter and add crushed garlic and salt. Heat through and serve with grilled shrimp.
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