Oct 22, 2013

Gretna Fest 2013 {and Greek Chicken Casserole}

It's finally Fall here (at least this week).  Cooler temperatures and low humidity in south Louisiana always make for happier people.  I'm ready for spending more time outside, to get ready to catch redfish and speckled trout, and for all those fall festivals.

Sunpie Barnes and the Louisiana Sunspots Gretna Fest 2013
Sunpie Barnes and the Louisiana Sunspots, Gretna Fest 2013
Fall is prime festival time here--with something (or 2 or 3 somethings) happening every weekend.  This year we spent a weekend at the Gretna Heritage Festival.  This festival is held in downtown Gretna, a suburb south of New Orleans and the birthplace of Zatarain's food company.  Gretna Fest spans almost 40 blocks--filled with carnival rides, a beer garden, two streets of food vendors, FIVE stages, and an Italian Village.

Some of the stages are right on the Mississippi River,

offering clear views of river traffic and a nice breeze coming off of the water.

Gretna Ferry on the Mississippi River

Barges on the Mississippi River

There was more than a breeze--there was Tropical Storm Karen.  Who ended up not amounting to much and didn't stop people from packing their rain gear and heading out to the festival.

Sunpie Barnes & the Louisiana Sunspots brought some Zydeco in the rain.

More from SunPie Barnes.

There were many more performances by many types of artists...ZZ Top, Chicago, Earth, Wind, & Fire, as well as locals like the Treme Brass Band, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux & the Wild Magnolias, and my favorite blues musician Tab Benoit.

More from Gretna Fest including Mardi Gras Indians.

Cooler weather sure does spark a change in our activites around here.  It also marks a change in what we eat.  In the next few weeks, get ready for some more festival fun and some cool-weather food.

Greek Chicken Casserole


Like Greek Chicken Casserole, made for this month's Pantry Party Casserole theme @ The Law Student's Cookbook.

I based my recipe on a casserole template found in Cooking Up a Storm: Recipes Lost and Found from The Times-Picayune of New Orleans.  The template is titled "The Only Casserole Recipe You'll Ever Need" and offers proportions for starch, protein, vegetables, and sauce.  The specifics are up to you.
Greek Chicken Casserole

If that doesn't sound like the perfect pantry recipe, I don't know what does!

My pantry ingredients were:
Basmati rice, Kalamata olives, canned artichokes, cream of chicken soup, dried dill, dried oregano, and a few handfuls of pita chips.  I also used leftover rotisserie chicken and feta cheese.  The topping was fun.  Lemon zest and parsley gave some freshness and crushed pita chips lent crunch.

Print It

Greek Chicken Casserole
1/2 cup Basmati rice, cooked according to package directions--can be made a day ahead (about 2 cups cooked rice)
1 can (10 3/4 oz) cream of chicken soup
1 tsp dried dill
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2-3/4 cups crumbled feta cheese
heaping 1/4 cup halved Kalamata olives
2 cups diced, cooked chicken
1/2 can quartered artichokes (from a 14 oz can)

for top:
1 tsp lemon zest
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
1/2 cup crushed pita chips (I used roasted garlic flavor)

Preheat oven to 350 and lightly spray an 8" x 8" baking dish with cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the rice, soup, dried herbs, feta, and olives.  Fold in the chicken and artichokes.  Bake for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix together the lemon zest, parsley, and pita chips.  Just before serving, remove the casserole from the oven and sprinkle the pita chip mixture over the top.

Linking with:


  1. I'm jealous as here it's still VERY hot !!
    How wonderful that you have all these festivals - seems like such fun :)
    Your casserole looks wonderful, but we cannot eat it (we do not eat dairy and meat/chicken together - one of our religious laws)

  2. Hi Michelle,

    Seems you've spent a good weekend at the festival. Thanks for sharing the pictures, looks fun! The casserole is quite inviting, we have never cooked rice in this way. Yummy!

  3. What a FABULOUS idea to just give a guideline for proportions of a casserole for someone to mix and match! Your Greek casserole looks yummy and the festival looks like so much fun!

  4. This looks and sounds awesome Michelle! I need to try this soon. Lovin' the feta and olives in here! Thanks for sharing at Simple Supper Tuesday.

  5. The festival sounds wonderful. Great groups, Chicago, Earth, Wind and Fire! I have to remember this one, looks like a lot of fun.
    Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  6. Wow, how creative and sounds yummy! I don't think I've heard of a Greek casserole before this

  7. This looks absolutely amazing!! I have everything but the olives and pita chips, but those are easy to get. I'm looking forward to trying this! YUM!
    The festivals sound like a blast. Nothing like cooler weather to get us outside, huh? :) Enjoy!!
    Thank you for linking up to Delicious Dish Tuesday again! Love seeing the fun, tasty recipes you share! <3

  8. Hi Michelle,
    We have so much fun going to the festivals this time of the year. The flavors in your Casserole sound awesome, we will really enjoy it. Hope you are having a great weekend and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  9. Thank you so much for linking this recipe up at Recipe Sharing Monday! The new link party is up and I'd love to see you back. Have a great week. :)


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