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School Night Casseroles for the Picky Eater

brocolli macaroni and cheese casserole via Sylvia's Restaurant

brocolli macaroni and cheese casserole ala Sylvia’s Restaurant

Do I have the only child in the world that doesn’t like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? How un-American is that? Next thing I know, she’ll be wanting a tattoo of Lenin on her forearm. My  eight year old, Coco, can be a very difficult child to feed.

She doesn’t like sandwiches

she doesn’t like toast

she doesn’t like casseroles

she doesn’t like peanut butter

she doesn’t like meat in general

she doesn’t like vegetables

except edamame and broccoli.

She does like…

I have two recipes I make that she’ll eat because they contain noodles, cheese and brocolli. They are also easy to make, school night dinners. The first, brocolli macaroni and cheese casserole is from Sylvia’s Restaurant in Harlem – Coco cames back for thirds of this cheesy casserole. Double the recipe if your family has hearty appetites like the Wilsons. The second, brocolli noodlepanpie, is from Laurie David’s The Family Dinner Cookbook; less ingredients in this one, but a little harder to cook in my opinion. I try to sneak some chicken into this one and it also passes the Coco test.

Brocolli Macaroni Cheese Casserole


  • 6 cups water w/ 1 t. salt
  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 t. seasoned salt
  • 1/2 t. garlic salt
  • 1/2 t. freshly ground pepper
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups cooked chopped brocolli

Cooking Directions:

  1. Boil the salted water and add the pasta. Cook for 7 minutes. Drain. Return the pasta to the pot and add the cheeses and butter. Stir until melted.
  2. Stir in the milk, salts, eggs and brocolli.
  3. Spoon into a greased casserole dish. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 400 degrees.



brocolli noodlepanpie

brocolli noodlepanpie

Brocolli Noodlepanpie

adapted from The Family Dinner by Laurie David


  • 1 pound spaghetti noodles
  • 1 head brocolli, torn apart into little pieces
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar, jack or mozzarella)
  • salt & pepper

Cooking Directions:

  1. Cook the pasta per the package. When they are done add the brocolli and cook 3 more minutes. Drain and toss the noodles with the parmesan.
  2. Heat a medium size non-stick pan over medium heat, coat with the olive oil. Put 1/2 the noodles in the pan and flatten, layer cheese on top & crown with the rest of the noodles. Let the noodle pie fry for about 10 minutes - until the bottom is golden brown. You may need to add more oil.
  3. With the help of a plate, flip the noodle pie over. Cook until the bottom is golden brown and the cheese has all melted.







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{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Joan Robinett Wilson January 12, 2014, 2:05 pm

    Thanks for commenting, Susan!

  • Susan Mosler January 11, 2014, 9:50 pm

    Needless to say, I found your blog and look forward to tapping your great suggestions, recipes, etc. I will be trying that fried noodle pancake early next month when I spend time with the Matterazzos. It sounds like a kid pleaser.

  • The Lieutenant October 3, 2013, 9:21 am

    Architect Mom,

    Today is your XX birthday and I would like to wish you happy birthday. March 21st will mark our 26 Wedding Anniversary and my love for you is as strong today as was when we first got married. Happy birthday sweetie and I’ll see you tonight.

    The Lieutenant

  • Dawn September 22, 2013, 5:52 pm

    Hi Joan, it was great to meet you this weekend – great blog you have!!

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