Meal Ideas

Inspired Meals by Jenny Mollen

Inspired Meals by Jenny Mollen

A lunchbox collection wouldn't be complete without a cookbook to go with it! Written by & created by Jenny Mollen, New York Times bestselling author, these recipes have been tested by the toughest tyrants (her own two kids) and are fit for any lunchbox routine! Pick up your copy of Dictator Lunches for more kid-approved recipes! 


New Wave Shrimp Toasts

Whenever I get in a grilled cheese rut, I try to think of other things I can melt between two slices of bread. I had all but written off shrimp toast until I saw a post from @white_ blank_space where the recipe called for an air fryer as opposed to a pan of sizzling oil. These little bites are heaven. They take me back to a simpler time and instantly make me feel half my age. Full disclosure: I de- stroyed my air fryer when I accidentally let it sit too close to an open flame on my stove. I now make my toasts in the oven. 


Serves 4-6 (Makes about 28 toasts)



 1/4 small onion

1/3 carrot

2 large eggs (optional)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons potato starch

1 pound raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, and dice

14 slices sandwich bread Avocado oil spray 



1 In a blender, pulse the onion until finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Pulse the carrot in the blender until finely chopped. Return the onion to the blender.

2 Add the eggs, salt, pepper, and potato starch. Pulse two or three times to combine. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and stir in the shrimp.

3 Cut off the crusts from the bread slices. Spread some of the shrimp mixture over 7 of the bread slices and top each with another piece. Cut each of the shrimp sandwiches into quarters.

4 Generously spray avocado oil on both

sides of the sandwiches. Cook in a an air fryer at 400°F for about 5 minutes, until golden brown. (You can also cook these on the stove-top in a large cast-iron or other heavy-duty skillet over medium-high heat. Brown for 2 to 3 minutes per side.)



Southwestern Stuffed Sweet Peppers

Even as an adult, I’ve found it hard to get my head around the concept of a traditional baked stuffed pepper. It’s just so slimy. But for some reason, when the pepper is raw, the dish is instantly more approachable. The beauty of this dish is that the pepper is just the vessel! 


Serves 4-6


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)

1 pound ground turkey

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground oregano

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 (28-ounce) bag multicolor sweet peppers, sliced in half lengthwise 



1. In a cast-iron or other heavy-duty skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the ground turkey, salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder, oregano, and cumin. Cook the turkey, breaking the meat up as it cooks, until no longer pink.

2. Stir in the tomato paste until incorporated. Add the broth and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the broth has reduced and the sauce begins to thicken, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool a bit.

3. While the turkey mixture is still warm, scoop tablespoons of the filling onto the peppers. 



Roasted Shitake Chips

For kids, the hardest thing about mushrooms is their texture. But when you roast  them, they turn into savory chips.


Makes 1 cup



2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms

1/2 teaspoon olive oil

2 to 3 teaspoons coconut aminos

11/2 teaspoons pure maple syrup

Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper 



1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

2. In a bowl, toss the mushrooms with the olive oil, coconut aminos, and maple syrup. Spread the mushrooms out on baking sheet and roast until crispy, 15 to 20 minutes.

3. Sprinkle with salt and cracked black pepper to taste.



Better-Than-Alphabet Cookies

I discovered these healthy cookie alternatives while doing an autoimmune elimination diet for my thyroid. My kids love them! Bo- nus: They’re easy to make and allergen safe, so they’re perfect for school lunches and just about any play date you happen to find yourself on. 


Makes 20-25 cookies



1/3 cup palm shortening

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1 cup tiger nut flour

1/4 cup tapioca starch

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon sea salt 



1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whisk together the palm shortening, maple syrup, and vanilla.

3. Stop the mixer and add the tiger nut flour, tapioca starch, baking soda, and salt. Mix until the dough comes together.

4. Remove the dough from the bowl and shape it into a large disc. Wrap in waxed paper, then refrigerate for 30 minutes.

5. Unwrap the dough, then roll it out to an even 1/4-inch thickness. Using your favorite cookie cutters, cut the dough into shapes to yield 20 to 25 cookies.Transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheet.

6. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 7 days. 

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