Meat On The Side Cookbook

Meet Nikki

I am a chef, mom, TV host, cookbook author, blogger, professional voice over artist and terrace gardener. I cook in a way I call "Meat on the Side" which focuses on veggies, making them unique and the star of the plate. 

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    Junk Food Flip

    Tuesdays at 9pmET on Cooking Channel

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


    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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    Reader Comments (13)

    Nikki- Looks delicious! The cherry tomatoes in our garden are tiny and green, and I can't wait for them to ripen up.

    I really like you blog!


    Nikki, I saw you make this on The Next Food Network Star show and it looked fresh and yummy. You also added goat cheese which I really want to try.

    July 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJen

    My family saw this on Food Network Star the other night and I just HAD to find the recipe. It looks delicious and our garden is full of cherry tomatoes! Quite a feat in New Mexico! We're all hoping you win and this recipe is simply delicious!!

    July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLindsey

    Dear Nikki,
    Congrats on making it as far as you did on Food Network Star! Question-is there a non-alcoholic spirit that I can use to replace the red wine vinegar in your Tomato Burst Pasta? What could I get away with?


    August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCarl

    This dish is absolutely amazing! I made it for my parents and they couldn't get enough. I added goat cheese crumbles on top, like you did on FNS, which made it even more irresistible. This recipe will be made time and time again in our family. Thank you!

    August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

    This recipe is a knockout. Felt like I was back in Tuscany. Best wishes ... sorry to see you go on FNS.

    August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

    Nikki, my tomato garden is toppling over with fresh tomatoes and this is a perfect recipe to use them in! My boyfriend gets home from up north tomorrow and I know he will love this recipe. You're so creative and all of your dishes look delicious and innovative.

    Ps. Love your point of view!

    August 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMadeline

    Just made this, so intensely tomato-flavored - the perfect easy summer dish. Not much chopping to do either, which I appreciate. Thank you! I'll be making this again soon.

    August 7, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersmawhort

    I made this over the weekend with some zucchini noodles, and I'm officially obsessed. This recipe will be a new staple in my weekly routine.

    August 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKelsey @ Fueling Strong

    Made this tonight and it was great! I poured the mixture over whole wheat spaghetti and had to use dried basil, since I forgot to buy some fresh from Trader Joes (which is a bummer, because I'm sure it would have made it even more delish). Thanks for an easy and yummy dinner recipe! I'm not a vegetarian, but I loved your concept of meat on the side! Loved watching you on Food Network, and your youtube videos are so helpful!

    August 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKim

    LOVED this pasta. Looking forward to more of your reciepes!

    September 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

    Oh my word... this was amazing. My husband kept telling me that it was like he was in a gourmet Italian restaurant. And, my 16 month old son kept using the sign language for more, more, more!! Thanks for a great recipe - this one's a keeper!

    September 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

    I make a similar pasta with cans of cherry tomatoes - this type of pasta is really the best!

    September 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJules

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