Author Archives for cookingfortots

About cookingfortots

Thank you for visiting Cooking for Tots! My name is Samina and I’m Registered Dietitian and mother of two. I use my love for cooking and nutrition expertise to create fun, healthy and delicious dishes for my family and I’m here to share it all with you!

Raw Cookies n’ Cream Ice Cream Bars

My kids love cookies n’ cream and since I’m always looking for ways to health-ify their favorite treats, I created these raw, dairy-free cookies n’ cream ice cream bars.  These bars are so delicious and satisfying!  Best part = no ice cream maker or churning required 🙌 My entire family loved these bars and I can’t wait to hear what you think! Check out the super easy recipe below!

💚1/3 cup pure maple syrup,

💚1/3 cup coconut oil,

💚1.5 cups raw cashews, quick soaked**

💚1 teaspoon vanilla extract,

💚2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce

💚1/2 cup @ripplefoods pea milk (I used unsweetened vanilla) or coconut milk,

💚1/2 cup chocolate snack cookies,

💚for the Crust: 1.5 cups chocolate cookies-crushed into fine crumbs (I use my Vitamix to blend the cookies to crumbs before making the filling) + 1 tablespoon coconut oil (more if needed, see below)

**to do a quick soak, simply pour boiling water over the cashews and let them soak for 1.5 hours and drain). .


1. Line an 8×8 brownie pan with parchment paper.

2. Add soaked cashews and all other ingredients to a blender except cookies and blend until smooth.

3. Now add in cookies and blend until cookies are blended well into the cashew mixture.

4. In a mixing bowl, combine the cookie crumbs + coconut oil and mix until oil is well incorporated. You can add a bit more coconut oil if needed to ensure crumbs stick together when pressed down.

5. Place crumbs into the liner tin and press firmly down until you form a single layer.

6. Pour cashew/cookie batter on top, smooth over to ensure the entire cookie layer is covered.

7. Freeze! And wait about 4-5 hours before eating. Enjoy!!

Grain-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recently, I went into a bakery and tried this paleo chocolate chip cookie that was seriously (and surprisingly) so delicious! I was determined to find a recipe that resembled it and I’ll honestly say that this one by King Arthur Flour is better! The only change I made with this recipe is using 1/4 cup coconut sugar (and I’ve also tried it with 2 tablespoons of coconut sugar and they came out obviously less sweet but still very good) .  My kids love these cookies and I love the they are super simple to make minus a bunch of butter + sugar.


  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar (or dark brown sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups almond flour, blanched or raw
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment.
  2. Combine the brown sugar, baking soda, salt, and butter, and mix until smooth.
  3. Mix in the vanilla, egg, and almond flour, stirring to combine. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, then mix for 1 minute at medium speed.
  4. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  5. Scoop the dough one level tablespoon at a time onto the prepared baking sheet; a  tablespoon cookie scoop works well here.
  6. Gently flatten the cookies to about 3/8″ thick.
  7. Bake the cookies for 9 to 12 minutes, until golden brown.
  8. Remove the cookies from the oven. Allow them to cool on the pan for 2 minutes, then carefully transfer them to a rack to cool completely.

Recipe by: King Arthur Flour

Turkey Shepherd’s Pie with Cauliflower Mash

Before making this Turkey Shepherd’s Pie with Cauliflower Mash, I never tried the original beef version-mainly because I do not eat red meat.  But my husband who is will eat red meat on occasion said he prefers this lighter, healthier version!  This turkey shepherd’s pie is made with easy whipped cauliflower mash (recipe on my blog!), veggies and white meat ground turkey.  It’s low carb (for those being mindful of their carbohydrate intake) and a fun take on the traditional Shepherd’s pie!  Cauliflower make the perfect substitute for mashed potatoes in this recipe and is a staple side dish in my home!  I can’t wait to hear what you think!

2) Turkey Shepherd’s Pie


3 cups of shredded white meat turkey or 1 pound ground turkey breast

1.5 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme

1 teaspoon chopped rosemary

1 onion, finely chopped

1 cup low sodium chicken broth mixed with 1 tablespoon cornstarch or gluten free all-purpose flour (or regular ap flour)

1 large carrot, diced

1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

1/2 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed

2 tablespoons ketchup

2 cloves garlic minced

1 teaspoon olive oil

¼ teaspoon salt (optional)



  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Heat the oil in a medium ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the garlic, carrots and onions; cook until tender and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes
  • Add the turkey and thyme and sauté for 2-3 minutes (if using raw ground turkey, continue to cook, breaking the turkey up with a spoon, until the turkey is cooked through and lightly browned).
  • Stir in the ketchup and cook until lightly caramelized.
  • Stir the broth and flour together in a small bowl until smooth, and then pour into the skillet. Cook until thickened, about 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the peas and corn and season with salt, if using.
  • Prepare the cauliflower mash (see previous recipe).
  • Finally, place ground turkey in a baking dish and spread mash on top.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until golden on top.



Whipped Cauliflower Mash

There’s no doubt that cauliflower has become the new “it” ingredient.  It’s everywhere from pizza crust to vegan buffalo wings.  But one of my favorite cauliflower dishes is this whipped mash and my entire family prefers it over potatoes.  Just to be clear, I have nothing against potatoes, but when I developed gestational diabetes during my first pregnancy and still struggled with pre-diabetes for a couple of years after the birth of my second child (whom I did not have gestational diabetes with), I became more conscious of the foods that spike my blood sugar and potatoes was one of them.  So I always sought alternatives that would keep my blood sugar levels at bay but still provide me with good nutrition.  I promise, you will not miss the potatoes with this mash! It’s super easy, low carb, mild in flavor and packed with nutrients!   In fact, cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, pantothenic acid, and vitamin B6!  It’s also a very good source of choline, dietary fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, manganese, phosphorus, and biotin, to name a few.

Try this side dish with my Turkey Shepherd’s Pie, also on my blog! Just search for that recipe or under “turkey” and it should pop right up.  Enjoy!


1-16 oz bag of frozen cauliflower, steamed

1 heaping tablespoon light cream cheese or soy-based spread

2-4 tablespoons milk or dairy alternative

2 tablespoons chopped green onion

salt and pepper to taste


  • Place cauliflower and cream cheese in a food processor and process on high speed for about 1 minute.
  • Slowly, add in the milk until desired consistency is achieved.
  • Pour into a bowl and top with green onions.

Homemade Fruit Popsicles

Earlier this week I shared one of my favorite money saving tips in my Instagram stories-making homemade popsicles using 100% fresh fruit!  With the warmer weather approaching, everyone loves a good refreshing popsicle, am I right?!  Ethan is holding his two favorites here, mango/orange🍊and watermelon/lime🍉.  I use Zipzicles BPA free popsicle pouches, found on Amazon (I pay $13 for 100 pouches) and I also buy their colorful sleeves which are amazing and keep little hands from getting cold!  With about 3 cups of blended fruits (total cost, $2-3), I can easily make 12 pops, way less expensive than store-bought, made with all fresh produce and nothing added 🙌

TIP: when pouring liquid into the zipzicle pouches, use a small funnel! Insert it right at the top and hold with one hand while pouring liquid in with the other.  This works especially well for thicker smoothie-type mixes.

Here are my littles favorite popsicle recipes and if you would like more easy recipes for these, let me know and I’ll include them in this blog post!

🍊mango/orange: 1-10 is bag frozen mango chunks + 1-1.5 cups freshly squeezed oranges. Purée on high and add more OJ to thin the mix as needed.

🍉 watermelon/lime: 3.5 cups watermelon chunks + juice of 1/2 lime and purée on high speed.


No Bake Vegan Blueberry Crustless Cheesecake

I’m so excited to share this recipe for NO-BAKE VEGAN BLUEBERRY CRUSTLESS “CHEESECAKES” I could hardly contain myself and I put the word cheesecake in quotes because it’s super creamy like a cheesecake but doesn’t have any cheese or dairy at all! The creaminess comes from a combo of soaked raw cashews (rich source of protein, healthy fats and other nutrients) and @ripplefoods nutritious pea milk (coconut milk also makes a great alternative but didn’t have it on hand).  Recipe inspired by @minimalistbaker and is totally vegan with only 7 ingredients+ in a blender.   Here’s the easy peasy recipe:

Makes 12 servings

🔹1/3 cup pure maple syrup

🔹1/3 cup coconut oil

🔹1.5 cups raw cashews, quick soaked**

🔹1 teaspoon vanilla extract

🔹1/2 cup pea milk (I used Ripple Foods brand, unsweetened vanilla) or light coconut milk

🔹juice of 1 lemon

🔹1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

**to do a quick soak, simply pour boiling water over the cashews and let them soak for 1.5 hours and drain).



  1. line a muffin tin with liners (I use @ifyoucare_usa muffin liners, nothing sticks to them and environmentally-friendly 🌎🙌).
  2. Add soaked cashews and all other ingredients to a blender except for blueberries and blend until smooth.
  3. Add in blueberries and blend until smooth and color changes to blue.
  4. Pour batter into muffin liners about 3/4 full. Cover and place in the freezer to set, about 4-5 hours). Enjoy!!

Keep them in the freezer, they taste like ice cream!! Or thaw in the fridge.  I got a little fancy here with my fresh strawberry sauce 🍓(simply frozen strawberries + lil water over medium heat until sauce thickens, no added sugar) but it’s totally optional! And blueberry is great but I’ll be making these again with other mix-ins.  plain is pretty darn awesome too 😋 have the BEST day everyone! 💚💜💛🧡💙❤️

Baked Garlic Shrimp Served with Pasta in Low-Fat Alfredo Sauce and Broccoli

Do you ever have those days when you get the kids fed, dressed and off to school (for me, that’s just my older son right now) ON TIME, then during school hours, buy the groceries (OK I use @instacart but it’s one of the best things technology has offered me aside from the iPhone so yes I use quite often and love it), do laundry and even manage to fit in a little ME time….then to pick up the little one(s), provide a healthy after school snack, play with them for a bit/read books/homework AND then manage to cook up a quick and healthy dinner THEN get the kids cleaned up, read a story and in bed at a reasonable time?  Oh and forgot to mention, with husband working late so no extra hands.  When I made this dinner, that was one of those days and it felt GOOD!  I felt a great sense of supermom accomplishment but it’s definitely not always that way and over time I’ve learned not to be so hard on myself when I just can’t do it all.  After being sick this week, then taking care of two sick children back to back, I’ve had to let a lot slide…..and our days still went on and whatever had to get done, got done eventually.  I even took a much needed break from social media.  I guess sometimes things do happen for a reason and I think in this case, something was telling me to SLOW DOWN and breathe…and I listened and that also felt GOOD!  Do you ever have those moments where you’re forced to slow down and relax? How do you manage it with kids when you’re ill?

Now about this dish, I’ll be giving you two recipe here and they are in rotation with a handful of other easy, healthy recipes that I make for my family.  I promise you will love this easy alfredo sauce and these perfect shrimp—such a good combo!  Broccoli really rounds out this dish too and taste great in the alfredo sauce.  I usually use a gluten-free pasta like brown rice or chickpea but if you don’t have a gluten allergy or intolerance, feel free to use whole wheat breadcrumbs for the shrimp and whoIe grain pasta instead.  I can’t wait to hear what you think!




  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
  2. Arrange the shrimp in the bottom of the prepared baking dish.  
  3. Sprinkle the bread crumbs and parsley over the shrimp and artichoke hearts; sprinkle lemon juice over the crumbs.
  4. Heat unsalted butter with garlic in a small saucepan over medium-low heat; drizzle over the bread crumbs. Sprinkle the top with parmesan cheese
  5. Bake in the preheated oven until the crumbs and cheese brown lightly and the shrimp turn opaque and orange-pink in color, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve hot.



  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free all purpose flour (or use regular all purpose flour if no allergy/intolerance to gluten)
  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese + extra for optional topping
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Freshly ground pepper and a dash of salt


  1. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until the garlic is slightly soft, about 1 minute.
  2. Add in the flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon,1 minute.
  3. Whisk in the milk and dash of salt and cook, whisking constantly, until just thickened, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the Neufchatel and parmesan cheese; whisk until melted, about 1 minute.
  5. Stir in the chopped parsley.
  6. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain the pasta and return to the pot. Add the sauce and 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water to the pasta and gently toss to combine, adding more cooking water as needed to loosen.
  7. Season with salt. Divide among bowls and top with parmesan (optional) and black pepper (optional).