Meet Nikki

I am a chef, TV host, cookbook author, blogger, radio host, professional voice over artist and terrace gardener. I cook mostly "Meat on the Side" which makes veggies the star of the plate. 

More about Nikki...



MEAT ON THE SIDE cookbook!!


Food Network Star

Nikki Dinki on Food Network Star Season 9!! Click here for pics, clips and more from the show

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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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    • Brocolli Tacos
    • Chocolate Chip Cookies
    • Challah Hangover Sandwich
    • Gnudi
    • Popovers

    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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    Food Network Star - Episode #4





    As we are opening up our envelopes that tell us what genre we are cooking for I am sitting there thinking "just not Western."  

    I can fit my POV into a Romance or Musical theme (though I'm not sure what kind of food is musical in nature) but "Meat on the Side" doesn't exactly scream western. Western flavors are more or a Russell thing filled with bacon and smoky meats.  


    But of course on this show you rarely get the easy route. 




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    Eggplant Sauce





    When your child is young you feed them pureed vegetables. This food is nutritious and easy to eat.


    And then, without warning, it goes down!! You start trying to give them whole broccoli instead of the pureed stuff.

    This seems logical enough until the tree like foreign object is promptly rejected and dumped on the floor...


    And there it sits, under their chair, next to the scary carrot and every horrifying brussel sprout. 






    But why give up the simple idea of eating pureed vegetables??

    Hate the texture of a vegetable? Puree it!

    Think veggies are too bitter or bland?? Add other more tasty pureed stuff to them!


    Before you know it you’re eating a whole head of broccoli in a single serving... 



    Or maybe a whole eggplant... 




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    Food Network Star - Episode #3



    BACK ON TOP!!!!!!



    I felt a lot of pressure going into this week. After last week I couldn't make another mistake or I really could be going home. 

    With this realization on my shoulder I walk into the mentor challenge only to see mystery bags on each of our stations. I don't like mystery bags, oh geeze



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