Bestselling author, and the personality behind the popular Instagram @dictatorlunches, Jenny Mollen, shares lunchbox recipes that take the stress out of packing lunch that are sure to please even the pickiest child.
"Sid, or, as I lovingly refer to him, ‘the dictator,’ rarely finishes any meal, and that’s okay. My goal isn’t to stuff him like a foie gras goose, it’s just to expose him to things and, truth be told, to entertain him. That is how empires are won and salad eaters are made: brick by brick, seaweed snack by seaweed snack," Mollen said.
Mollen joins “Good Morning America” to spotlight recipes from her new cookbook, “Dictator Lunches.” Find the recipes below.
4 chicken cutlets
4 to 6 large eggs
1 cup cassava flour
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika 1/4 cup sesame seeds
2 teaspoons ground turmeric 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons avocado oil, plus more if needed
Quick Pickles (optional; recipe below)
Place the chicken cutlets between two pieces of plastic wrap, then gently pound with a rolling pin to flatten to about 1/8 inch thick.
Beat the eggs in a medium shallow dish. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, paprika, sesame seeds, turmeric, salt, and some pepper. Transfer the flour mixture to a medium shallow dish.
In a large skillet, heat the avocado oil over medium-high heat.
Dip each cutlet into the eggs, then the flour mixture, then repeat. Gently shake off any excess flour.
Working in batches if needed to prevent crowding, add the cutlets to the hot oil in the skillet.
Cook on one side for about 3 minutes, until the bottom is golden brown. Flip each cutlet and cook on the other side for about 3 minutes, until golden brown.
Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate while you cook the rest of the cutlets. (Add additional oil between batches, if needed.) Sprinkle with sea salt and serve with pickles, if desired.
3 small Kirby cucumbers, sliced
1/3 cup thinly sliced fennel
1 large shallot, chopped
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 2 limes
1 tablespoon light brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients and toss well. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes. The pickles will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Makes 4 cups
Olive oil spray
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted 11/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup honey Sea salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil spray.
In a medium bowl, mix the oats, wheat germ, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, melted coconut oil, vanilla, and cinnamon. Spread the mixture in an even layer over the prepared baking sheet and bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until toasted but not burned.
Remove from the oven and glaze with the honey while still hot, then toss until fully incorporated.
Sprinkle all over with salt and let cool completely (it becomes very crunchy as it cools). The granola will keep in an airtight container at room temperature longer than it will take you to consume it.
Makes 2 cups
1 cup hazelnuts
1/4 cup coconut oil 1 cup pitted dates
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
6 tablespoons unsweetened cacao powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Wrap the hazelnuts in a kitchen towel and rub them vigorously to remove as many of the loose skins as possible.
Spread the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Toast them in the oven until they’ve browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.
Place the toasted hazelnuts, coconut oil, dates, almond milk, cacao powder, vanilla, and salt in a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to a jar or another serving container. The spread will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Quick-fire curry chicken
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk or cream
3 cups sliced or shredded rotisserie chicken
Coconut rice, for serving
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened and translucent.
Add the cumin seeds and cook until fragrant.
Add the curry powder and salt. Add the coconut milk and mix well with the onion and spices.
Bring to a simmer, then cook for 2 to 3 minutes more.
Add the chicken and cook until heated through, at least 10 minutes. Serve over coconut rice, garnished with the cilantro.
New York dictator
Jenny’s crunch tuna salad
1/2 cup water chestnuts, drained and coarsely chopped
1 (7-ounce) can water-packed albacore tuna, drained
1 Fuji apple, cored and chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (optional)
Combine the water chestnuts and tuna in a medium bowl. Add the apple, then mix in olive oil to moisten (or opt for tuna packed in olive oil and add nothing), followed by the vinegar. Taste and add salt and pepper, if desired.