Johnny Casserole focused on one-dish meals

January 25, 2014 (CHICAGO)

"Chicken pot pie, shepherd's pie, mac and cheese, tuna noodle. I mean those are the ones that first like, you know pop out and speak to you initially," said owner David Bryson.

Bryson makes about a dozen flavors, in two different sizes.

"Large one, which has to be pre-ordered and individual ones we carry on a limited basis every day," he said.

His lasagna is as good as anyone's nonna. Three layers of lasagna pasta sheets, holding a rich, homemade tomato sauce, fresh zucchini, mounds of basil, spoonfuls of fresh ricotta, a creamy bechamel, plus roasted red peppers and fresh discs of mozzarella. Baked until golden, it'll easily feed the family.

Same goes for the chicken pot pie. Here, he combines a rich sauce of chicken stock, cream, herbs and lemon juice, with pulled chicken, roasted vegetables, broccoli, corn and peas. If that wasn't enough, he tops it off with homemade biscuits that bake right along with the pot pie. It will certainly remind you of someone's grandma, if not your own.

"That homey, comfort food feeling that everybody gets you know. Hunkered down with a good meal that's easy to make, and easy to clean, one dish," said Bryson.

Now best bet for the large casseroles is to give them at least a day's notice. But if you were shopping on an impulse and wanted a casserole today, you could stop in anytime. They always have these little individual ones, although flavors rotate, among the dozen or so flavors they have.

The store will eventually keep a few large casseroles on hand to pick-up to bring home, but for now, best to call ahead.

Johnny Casserole
4019 N. Damen Ave.

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