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...



Junk Food Flip

June 2nd 9pm EST on Cooking Channel

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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    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. 





    Click to read more ...


    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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    Pie Dough



    People tell you all the time that things are easy.


    I usually don't believe these people.





    It's like when someone tells you to take a class at the gym and they reassure you that it's easy...


    But when you can't walk like a normal human being for a week and sitting down makes you grunt a little, you learn to be skeptical.




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    Food Network Star - Episode #2



    Here we go again! 


    As we pull up to this massive set up with grills, a stage, tables and more chairs than were at my wedding I quickly realize that though the day will be spent in the sun, I will definitely not be relaxing and working on my tan.



    Click to read more ...


    Apple Pies in Apples




    Today we are going to talk about cute things. Silly cute things. And no, I'm not referring to another YouTube video of a wet cat or a laughing baby...






    And no, it's not a picture of two animals that don’t belong together and yet are best friends.


    Oh! Like the one where the baby monkey is sleeping with the doggy and he's got his arm around him and you just know they will be BFF's till the end of time!







    I’m talking about something cute…silly cute…that you can eat!


    Something that says “hey, look at me” and when you do you think, “well hello, aren’t you beautiful, and precious, and...and...I MUST EAT YOU!!”





    I'm talking about the crazy delicious idea of making an apple pie...


    wait for it...


    keep waiting...







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    Red Pepper + Lemon Dip


    The food processor is my best friend.

    As much as I love to be in the kitchen, there is always a point that if I have to chop one more clove of garlic I just might snap. Let's face it, prep is no fun! That’s why all the big name chefs have prep cooks in their restaurants. The prep cooks do all the dirty work and the real chefs get to just throw things in a pan and light them on fire.

    So the closest thing to a prep cook that I can manage in my meager kitchen is...THE FOOD PROCESSOR.


    I call him Francesco.


    There is nothing better than throwing a bunch of ingredients into Francesco’s able hands and suddenly having something, well...quite tasty! So I bring you yet another quick dip featuring my partner in crime, the food processor...




    2 Roasted Red Peppers

    1lemon Juice and Zest

    2Tbs Olive Oil

    1.5tsp salt

    1Tbs parsley

    1Tbs basil

    6oz cream cheese


          Put all ingredients in a food processor and chop until pureed and smooth. Serve on it’s own as a dip or over pasta, shrimp or chicken! ENJOY!



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