Macaroni and Cheese with Broccoli


Pasta and cheese made with fresh broccoli

So far, I’ve created potato and kale recipes for the foods I received from my farmer, Pekarek’s Produce, this week. Signing up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share is a great way to nudge yourself into eating healthier, try a greater variety of vegetables and fruits and help share in the success of a farmer.

Next up is the broccoli. I considered several ideas for incorporating fresh (vs. frozen) broccoli into mac and cheese.

I decided to suggest starting with your own family favorite recipe and try this method several cooks used for adding fresh broccoli. While you’re cooking the macaroni (or other similar-sized pasta, such as penne or rotini), add about 3  cups of fresh broccoli florets during the last 3 minutes. Drain and continue as usual with your recipe.

If you have bread you need to use up or no other topping on hand, here is a quick recipe I created for a topping for the pasta.


  • Difficulty: easy
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Use this topping on any casserole that is baked without a lid.


  • 2 slices bread
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning


  1. Toast bread at one of the higher settings on your toaster to brown it and help dry it out. Let cool.
  2. Tear off pieces of bread and add to food processor in small batches. Process to about the size of grains of rice.
  3. Add olive oil and pulse to blend. Then add Italian seasoning and continue to pulse until mixed.
  4. Add topping to casserole and bake according to casserole directions.

Alice’s Tips

  • Any type of bread can be used for bread crumbs. Or combine several types of bread.
  • Using a whole grain bread gives the additional benefit of fiber and higher amounts of some trace minerals.
  • This recipe is a great way to use up older bread.
  • You may be surprised at how good a homemade bread crumb topping tastes. Plus, you control the type of ingredients used and save money.
  • One slice of bread yields about 1/4 cup of fine bread crumbs.


Recipe created by Alice Henneman, MS, RDN, University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension Educator. For more recipes and tips for fast, healthy and delicious foods, visit


My husband and I enjoy eating healthy foods, but they must taste good and be quick to prepare.

My goal with Cook It Quick is: Making you hungry for healthy food!

Follow along as I share recipes and kitchen tricks that help you enjoy the same types of foods. And though I am a registered dietitian and University of Nebraska-Lincoln extension educator, all my recipes must pass inspection by my toughest critic … my husband!

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