Chef and cooking school teacher, Chef Mel Alafaci, is sharing her secret recipes for preparing delicious and impressive meals without breaking the bank. These budget-friendly dishes are perfect for those looking to enjoy gourmet flavors without spending a fortune. Chef Mel’s culinary expertise and innovative techniques make it possible to create stunning meals without compromising on taste or quality.
Quickie Tuna Salad Stack:
- 1 tin of drained tuna
- 1 cup of diced red onion
- 1 cup of diced apple
- 100ml of mayo or plain yogurt
- 1 teaspoon of grainy mustard
- 1 tin of drained chickpeas or butter beans
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Salt to taste
- 1 packet of rocket
- Balsamic Glaze
- Fresh Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVO) to dress the leaves
- In a bowl, mix all the ingredients (except the greens, glaze, and oil) and season to taste.
- Use a stacking ring to neatly arrange the tuna salad in the middle of a plate.
- Add rocket leaves around the stack or place them on top.
- Drizzle with balsamic glaze and fresh EVO.
Ultimate Broccoli Stack:
- 200g of smoked or cooked chicken breast filets, thinly sliced (alternatively, use smoked salmon, rare roast beef, or tinned tuna)
- 50ml to 100ml of plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon of freshly chopped mint and/or basil
- 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and finely sliced
- Half a cup of julienned fennel (or use shredded cabbage)
- 1 cup of finely chopped broccoli
- Lots of ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of grainy or Dijon mustard
- 1 cucumber, made into ribbons using a peeler (or slightly roasted zucchini ribbons)
- Rocket or cress for garnish
- In a large bowl, mix the chicken, yogurt, mint, fennel, and apple.
- Place a tablespoon of the mixture in the center of each plate or use a stacking ring for a neat arrangement.
- Wrap the filling with cucumber or zucchini ribbons to create a stack.
- Garnish with ground black pepper and fresh rocket or mustard cress.
- Drizzle with herbed oil, if desired.
- Serve and enjoy!
- 500-600g of chicken breast filets
- 12 thinly shaved slices of Prosciutto or streaky bacon
- Salt and pepper to season
- 80g of sliced or grated mozzarella cheese
- 24 fresh basil leaves or 2 tablespoons of pesto
Involtini Quick Sauce:
- 700g jar of passata
- 2 cloves of crushed garlic
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- A large pinch of black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of dried Italian herbs
- Fresh cherry tomatoes for garnish
- Cut each chicken breast in half lengthwise and tenderize with a meat mallet or rolling pin. Season with salt and pepper.
- Place 3 slices of bacon or prosciutto on a chopping board and top with a thin chicken breast, cheese, and basil leaves or pesto.
- Roll up the chicken to create a parcel and place it in a greased oven dish. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts.
- In a jar of passata, combine all the ingredients for the quick sauce and shake well.
- Pour the sauce around the base of the rolled chicken involtini and add a few cherry tomatoes.
- Season with salt, pepper, and garlic, then stir through. Drizzle with fresh EVO.
- Bake in a preheated oven at approximately 200°C for 25-30 minutes until the bacon/prosciutto is browned and the chicken is cooked through.
- Adjust the seasoning of the sauce if needed, then serve and enjoy!
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