Operation Empty Freezer – Braised Chicken & Tortellini Salad with Lemon Garlic Dressing

Braised Chicken and Tortellini Salad with Lemon Garlic Dressing

Operation Empty Freezer is occurring in the Hungry Goddess Kitchen.  Every year, at the end of May, those of us who live in Hurricane Alley have to start thinking about Hurricane Prep.  This means emptying the freezer in case an early storm rolls in and you lose power and, consequently, all the food in the freezer.   I can’t wait for fall (and the end of hurricane season) so I can keep more on hand.  My freezer food gets used fairly quickly but I love having an assortment of veggies, meats, fruit, and bread stockpiled and ready to go for the next Hungry Goddess recipe.

Mobilizing Operation Empty Freezer coincided perfectly with a project involving  The National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association and Cooking with Caitlin and a chance to join in on June 3 at an awesome #FNICHAT with some of my favorite foodies!

NFRANFRA has a great websiteEasy Home Meals and you can send them some icy tweets @EasyHomeMeals or be cool with Easy Home Meals on Facebook.  Pin your favorite easy home meals from the freezer on Easy Home Meals on Pinterest!

Freezing is still the best method for preserving foods and means that I can have my fava beans year round and indulge my fruit cravings at will.  Frozen foods have also become cool again (HA!) – industry experts indicate that 2013 marks the start of a resurgence in the freezer aisle as consumers look for alternatives to other packaged foods.  I rarely do packaged food but I DO fresh frozen food!

As I stood in front of my freezer and peered into the frozen depths, I did a spot check with my tummy – blackberries; rhubarb; Ezekiel bread; Morningstar Grillers Recipe Crumbles (love these for tacos!); butter (yes, I freeze butter since I buy in quantity at Costco :)); ground beef, pork, and lamb (waiting for meatballs); chicken thighs (perk!) and (drummmm rolllll) Buitoni Tortellini (Happy Goddess Dance!).

Braising chicken thighs are a great way to get maximum flavor and who doesn’t love tortellini??  Toss in some juicy grape tomatoes and English cucumbers and adorn with a Lemon Garlic Dressing and Parmesan cheese and you have a delightful verging-on-summer meal!

YOU are invited to join #FNIchat on June 3 and let’s get chilllllly:

What: #FNIchat (Foodies’ Night In) Twitter party
When: Monday, June 3rd, 4-5:30 EST
Where: On Twitter (or through this custom tweetgrid) with hashtag #FNIchat
Topic: #RealFoodFrozen: A Chilly #FNIchat preso by @EasyHomeMeals
Who: @cookingwcaitlin, @foodiesnitein, @EasyHomeMeals, @familyfoodie, @thedailybasics, @thewickednoodle, @HungryGoddess, and YOU!!

Check out these great #RealFoodFrozen by the Co-hosts inspired by the NFRA:

Ice Cold Equation for the Perfect Dessert from Cooking with Caitlin

My Kids, ADHD & Frozen Foods from The Daily Basics

One Pot Chicken, Leeks and Orzo from Family Foodie

Super Easy Artichoke Dip from The Wicked Noodle


Chicken and Tortellini Salad Real Frozen Food NFRA

Braised Chicken and Tortellini Salad with Lemon Garlic Dressing


Braised Chicken Thighs

  • 8-10 Skinless Chicken Thighs with or without Bone
  • 1-2 cups of Chicken Broth
  • 2 Tablespoons EVOO
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 2 Cloves of Minced Garlic
  • Citrus Fennel Pollen Sea Salt


  • 1 Package of Buitoni Tortellini
  • 1 English Cucumber
  • 1 pint Grape Tomatoes
  • Handful of Arugula per plate/bowl
  • Parmesan Cheese

Lemon-Garlic Dressing

  • Juice of 1-2 Lemons (approx 6 Tablespoons of lemon juice)
  • 1/2 – 2/3 EVOO
  • 2 Cloves of Crushed Garlic


  • The amounts vary a bit because you can make this according to how much you need.
  • Season the chicken with Citrus Fennel Sea Salt and light pepper.
  • Heat 1 teaspoon of the olive oil in large pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter and garlic to the pan.
  • When melted, place the chicken in the pan.
  • Brown for a few minutes on each side.
  • Remove the chicken to whisk in the chicken stock and increase the heat to high.
  • Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and cover & simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Check the pan – stir and coat the chicken with the thicker juices.
  • Simmer for approximately 15 minutes more til cooked through.
  • Prepare tortellini as directed on package while the chicken is braising.
  • Run cold water over the tortellini and allow to cool to at least room temp.
  • Chop cucumbers and tomatoes.
  • Mix dressing.
  • Shred chicken.
  • Toss chicken, tortellini, cucumber, and tomatoes in dressing.
  • Serve on a plate/bowl of arugula and garnish with Parmesan cheese.
  • Add more dressing and salt and pepper to taste.




**THANK YOU to NFRA for sponsoring this post!  

Being sponsored in no way influences my love for frozen food.  🙂

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About Kimberly Moore - The Hungry Goddess Herself

9 Responses to “Operation Empty Freezer – Braised Chicken & Tortellini Salad with Lemon Garlic Dressing”

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  1. Living in Florida… I know exactly what you mean! Looking forward to chatting with you during #FNIChat!

    • Kimberly Moore - The Hungry Goddess Herself says:

      Isabel – you know exactly what this means! hahaha although we will cross our fingers again this season! xoxo Can’t wait for #FNIchat!

  2. You make it sound so pedestrian, but it can’t be fun waiting for hurricanes. Though living in the Blizzard prone world, it’s not that fun either – I for one can’t wait for the winter to get over. The salad looks beautiful.
    Minnie@thelady8home recently posted..Kerala Style Seer Fish curry for Contest X-treme – a guest postMy Profile

  3. Leta says:

    Thanks! It is definitely an fantastic web site!
    Leta recently posted..LetaMy Profile


  1. […] am excited to share more Easy Recipes during  #FNIchat on June 3 and let’s get […]

  2. […] Operation Empty Freezer — Braised Chicken & Tortellini Salad with Lemon Garlic Dressing by Kimberly of The Hungry Goddess […]

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