Meet Nikki

I am a chef, TV host, blogger, radio host, recipe developer, professional voice over artist and terrace gardener. I cook mostly "Meat on the Side" which focuses on veggies, making them unique and the star of the plate. 

More about Nikki...


Food Network Star

Nikki Dinki is going to be on Food Network Star! Premiering June 2nd at 9pm on the Food Network. Click here for pics, clips and more from the show

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    Basil Pesto



    I'm a traditionalist when it comes to my Pesto. I like it just the way an old Italian Grandmother would make it. A few simple, fresh, quality ingredients tossed with some hot pasta and call it a day.





    If you start using walnuts or almonds or anything besides pinenuts, I start getting angry. Throw in some parsley with the basil and I might just lose it.



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    Food Network Star - Episode #8



    Another Day Another Donut


    This week I had the opportunity to spend Sunday night at 9 o'clock with my family watching FNS together. And one of their first questions was..."You really didn't know someone was coming back"





    The response? NO!!! The production team can be smooth and we really didn't know that when we got down to 5 people we were quickly about to make it 6 again. They just LOVE to surprise you...



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    Carrot Cake



    NYC can be a lonely place. You might be surrounded by people but it can be hard to make the city feel like home. In my 12+ years in the city I have carved out my own slice of home in the chaos. 





    Things like a favorite local restaurant, a bartender that knows your drink and a nail place that doesn’t rush you for taking a million hours to choose a shade are all things that help. But let's face it, there is nothing like family to make a place your home.



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    Chicken Caesar Wrap



    I love a good salad, the crunch from the lettuce, the tang from the dressing, and the hidden surprises of things like chewy cranberries and juicy oranges.





    The only real problem that I have with salads is that they don't contain carbs.


    I know, you're asking yourself why that is so important... Well, guys...


    I'm a carboholic...



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    Food Network Star - Episode #7

    Please take a minute to vote for me!! Click HERE



    Week #7 and down to 6!!!

    The vibe has changed slightly. And though I still love all these people and am so happy to have them around during this insane experience- we are all having the realization that we could make it to the end. Suddenly the finish line doesn't look so far away...


    Of course, once you have that thought you also realize that some really good people are going to have to go home in order for you to reach that goal. All you can do is hope that it's not you. 





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    Burst Tomato Pasta






    ¼ Olive Oil

    8 Garlic Cloves - sliced

    6-8 Large Tomatoes cut into 1 inch chunks or 3 pints cherry/grape tomatoes

    3-4tsp Kosher salt

    1 tsp Red Wine Vinegar

    3-4 Tbs Chopped Basil

    1lbs Linguine

    2 Chicken Breast, split in half, breaded and cooked See Recipe


    Heat oil in a pan on medium low and add garlic.  Cook till just slightly golden about 3-5minutes and add tomatoes.  Let tomatoes cook until tender, 15 -20minutes.  Smash tomatoes down with a spoon and add vinegar, basil and salt, cook for another 5-15minutes until you have the consistency you want. Taste to see if it needs more salt.  Toss with pasta and serve.


    Serves  4-6 portions





    • Depending on what tomatoes you use you may have more or less liquid during cooking
    • Don’t over-cook the tomatoes; they should still be chunky with some liquid in the pan





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    Kabocha Squash + Tomato Pasta



    Kabocha squash is like that quirky but cute guy you have been eyeing at the grocery store but are too afraid to approach. There is something about him that intrigues you and you have a feeling that he's better for you then some of the other handsome junk in the store but...





    He seems like too much work to get to know. You wouldn’t even know where to begin. And so you walk away from Mr. Kabocha Squash, never knowing the love affair that could have been.





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    Food Network Star - Episode #6



    This week it's all about selling a product that represents yourself and of course it has to be super tasty (by the way, they have totally done this challenge in past seasons.)

    I love to make alternatives to tomato sauce, like red pepper sauces, eggplant sauces, and I serve them over pasta or rice or on top of chicken, fish and pork. So I immediately think of bottling one of these sauces for the challange. I want to show people a new way of eating veggies. 





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    Food Network Star - Episode #5



    JULY 4th LIVE!!


    This week was all about working LIVE and we all knew it would be a challenging week.

    For me I knew the main thing I had to do is control my excitement and nervous energy. My goals where to think before I talked and most importantly I had to try to not talk a mile a minute (which I can do as easily as breathing.)





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    Tzatziki Sauce



    I like any sauce with a name that I can’t easily pronounce. Because I'm guaranteed that I will eventually say it to someone else and they will have no idea what I'm talking about and suddenly I will look super smart.


    And really my goal in life is to pretend to be smart.


    Oh, and make delicious food of course!!





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