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Nikki Dinki Italian Recipes

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Nikki Dinki Italian Recipes


March 15, 2018

Eggplant Parm Meatballs
Makes 30 1½ inch meatballs

1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound)
3 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
16 ounces ground beef
1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
½ cup grated parmesan (about 2 ounces)
½ cup marinara sauce + more for serving
1 large egg
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
Mozzarella cheese, grated

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and place the halves cut-side-up on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle them lightly with 1 teaspoon of the oil and then sprinkle ½ teaspoon of the salt and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper over them. Bake the eggplants until they are very soft—about 30 minutes.

2. When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, use a spoon to scrape the flesh of the eggplant into a food processor or blender; discard the skin. Process until everything is completely pureed; this should give you about ¾ cups of eggplant puree. Note: If your marinara sauce is very chunky puree it with the eggplant.

3. Transfer the puree to a large bowl, then add the beef, breadcrumbs, parmesan, marinara sauce, egg, onion powder, garlic powder, and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt. Mix to combine well and then form the mixture into tablespoon-sized balls by hand.

4. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil. Place the meatballs in the pan and brown on all sides, working in batches if necessary, cooking until the center is no longer pink—5-7 minutes.

5. Preheat the broiler to high. Place meatballs in a serving dish and cover with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese, place under the broiler until the cheese is melted. Serve and Enjoy

Note: If you wish, you can bake the meatballs at 400°F for about 30 minutes.

Fully Loaded Broccoli Crust Pizza
Makes one-10- to 11-inch pizza; serves 3

2 heads broccoli (about 2 pounds)
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese (about 12 ounces)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ + ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
⅛ teaspoon black pepper
2 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
3 medium red potatoes cut into about twenty-five ⅛- to ¼-inch slices
4 tablespoons sour cream, for garnish
3 tablespoons chopped scallions, for garnish
Hot sauce, for a garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Remove most of the tough, thick stems of the broccoli. Working in batches, place the remaining broccoli in the bowl of a food processor and pulse it until it is finely ground. You may need to stir as you go to make sure the bigger pieces don’t sit on the top. After grinding the broccoli, you should have about 5 cups.

2. Place the broccoli on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high heat for 6 minutes, stirring halfway through. Once it is cool enough to handle, put the broccoli in a kitchen cloth or a piece of cheesecloth; roll up the cloth and twist and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. When you are done, you should have about 2 cups of dry, packed broccoli.

3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the broccoli with 1 cup of the cheese, the eggs, chili powder, and salt. Transfer this mixture to the baking sheet and shape it into a 10- to 11-inch diameter round, about ½-inch thick.

4. Bake the crust until it is firm and brown around the edges—about 20-25 minutes. While the crust bakes, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook it until it is crisp—6 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel (leaving the bacon fat in the pan) and turn the heat up to medium high. Add the potatoes to the pan along with the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and the ⅛ teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until brown all over and tender—about 7-10 minutes

5. Remove the crust from the oven and top it with the remaining 2 cups of cheese. Return the pizza to the oven and bake it until the cheese is melted—about 5 minutes. Top the cheese with the potatoes and bacon and cook until potatoes and bacon are warmed through —about 2-3 minutes

6. Remove the pizza from the oven and top it with dollops of the sour cream, scallions and a dash of hot sauce. Cut and serve it immediately.

BLT Pasta Salad with Romaine Lettuce Dressing
Makes 4 -6 servings, with about 2 cups Romaine Lettuce Dressing
Romaine Lettuce Dressing

2 romaine hearts, halved
5 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup Greek yogurt
Juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper

BLT Pasta Salad
1 pound short-cut pasta
4 strips extra thick-cut bacon
2 cups Romaine Lettuce Dressing
2 cups lightly packed baby spinach or chopped romaine
2 cups halved grape tomatoes
1 cup finely chopped sundried tomatoes
1 small red onion, very thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Romaine Lettuce Dressing
1. Heat a grill pan over high heat. Then brush the 4 lettuce halves on the cut side with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Grill the lettuce cut-side-down until it is slightly charred and wilted—about 2-3 minutes. Remove the lettuce from the grill pan, coarsely chop it and discard the stems.

2. Combine the lettuce, yogurt, lemon juice, remaining 4 tablespoons oil, mustard, salt, and pepper in a food processor or blender. If all of the lettuce does not fit at one time, puree a portion of it, adding more as you do, until it is all in the food processor. Once it has all been pureed, set it aside for later.

BLT Pasta Salad
1. Place a large pot of salted water over high heat. When the water boils, add the pasta and cook it according to the package directions. Then drain it, rinse it under cold water, and set it aside.

2. While the pasta cooks, in a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until it is crispy—about 7 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels. Once it is cool enough to handle, coarsely chop it; this should give you about 1½ cup bacon pieces. Set the bacon aside for later.

3. Toss the pasta with the Romaine Lettuce Dressing, spinach or romaine, grape tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, onion, salt, and pepper. Top it with the bacon and serve!



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