‘Dictator Lunches’ Jenny Mollen shares kid-friendly meals for the toughest critics

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.

Hungarian dictator

“Astro-Hungarian Dictator” meal from “Dictator Lunches” by Jenny Mollen.


Grain-free schnitzel

Serves 4


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

sea ​​salt

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.

quick pickles

Serves 4

Ingredients3 small Kirby cucumbers, sliced1/3 cup thinly sliced ​​fennel1 large shallot, chopped Zest or 1 limeJuice or 2 limes1 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.

French dictator

PHOTO: "French Dictator" meal from "Dictator Lunches" by Jenny Mollen.

“French Dictator” meal from “Dictator Lunches” by Jenny Mollen.


Seedy Granola

Makes 4 cups

IngredientsOlive oil spray2 cups rolled oats1/2 cup toasted wheat germ 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted 11/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon1/3 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.

Chocolate hazelnut spread

Makes 2 cups

Ingredients1 cup hazelnuts1/4 cup coconut oil 1 cup pitted dates1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract1 teaspoon sea salt

DirectionsPreheat 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, cocoa 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.

Indian dictator

PHOTO: "Indian Dictator" meal from "Dictator Lunches" by Jenny Mollen.

“Indian Dictator” meal from “Dictator Lunches” by Jenny Mollen.


Quick fire curry chicken

Serves 4

Ingredients3 tablespoons olive oil1 small onion, thinly sliced1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds2 teaspoons curry powder1/2 teaspoon kosher salt1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk or cream3 cups sliced ​​or shredded rotisserie chickenCoconut rice, for serving1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

DirectionsHeat 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

PHOTO: "New York Dictator" meal from "Dictator Lunches" by Jenny Mollen.

“New York Dictator” meal from “Dictator Lunches” by Jenny Mollen.


Jenny’s crunch tuna salad

Serves 4

Ingredients1/2 cup water chestnuts, drained and coarsely chopped1 (7-ounce) can water-packed albacore tuna, drained1 Fuji apple, cored and chopped2 tablespoons olive oil2 teaspoons rice vinegarKosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (optional)

DirectionsCombine 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.

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