From left are Polly Medcalf, Valerie Isaac, Rahka Brescia, Team Captain Bianca York-Crockett and LaShanda Loving.
From left are Polly Medcalf, Valerie Isaac, Rahka Brescia, Team Captain Bianca York-Crockett and LaShanda Loving.
Team Bianca & Company won Pearl River Resort's Biggest Loser Weight Loss Challenge, losing 173 pounds during the 12-week competition.

Participants competed for the chance to win a share of over $5,500!

The competition allowed employees to participate in teams of five members or as individuals. Teams could be seen around the resort choosing healthier foods in the associate dining room and even using breaks to participate in workouts. Associates lost an astounding amount of weight - 5,136 pounds!

Bianca & Company, composed of captain Bianca York-Crockett, Polly Medcalf, Valerie Isaac, Rahka Brescia and LaShanda Loving, won $1,500.

"Our team's weight loss efforts began a couple months prior to the Biggest Loser competition," the group said.

"Conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes, hypothyroidism and obesity plagued members of the team and we all decided it was time to take back control of our bodies and our health."

Once the Biggest Loser competition started, the team increased their physical activities and tracked the calories burned as well as their calorie intake in an app called myfitnesspal.

"We challenged ourselves with bootcamp-styled exercise sessions and 5K runs, which landed most of us in the best shape of our entire adult lives," team members said.

Each team member received rave reviews and reports from their respective doctors since their journey started. Though the 12-week competition is over, their journeys continue and to this day they continue to work as a team.

The group has signed up for various 5Ks, fun runs and off-course obstacle races to help motivate them to continue on the road to health and fitness.

Resort associates celebrated the amazing accomplishment of shedding over 5,000 pounds in a grand finale celebration on Aug. 9. Associates were joined by special guests including Season 10 winner of NBC's Biggest Loser Patrick House, Tribal Chief Phyliss Anderson and Governor Phil Bryant.

The top six individual winners of the competition and their rewards were Scott Bassett, first place, $500; James Jones, second place, $400; Keylon Johnson, third place, $300; Richard Adams, fourth place, $200; Tracy Gosa, fifth place, $100; and Polly Medcalf, sixth place, $50.

Congratulations are also in order to the other top five winners:

Fire Bulls, second place winners, $1,000, Randy Smith, Scott Bassett, Robert John, Charlie Cooksey and Mitchell Reeves; Weight For IT, third place, $750, Keylon Johnson, Shane Adams, Alex Tucker, Harold Farmer, Greg Bell; Beauty & The Beasts, fourth place, $500, Jeff Riggen, Mitchell Skelton, Ashley Riggen, Mack Jimmie and Frank Rash; and Slot Go Gettas, fifth place, $250, Ansen Rush, Lucy Bufkin, Phillip Coburn, Shaunya Waldrip and Evelyn Banks.

Some of the participants have shared favorite recipes.



Spinach, Mushroom and Feta Crustless Quiche

8 ounces fresh mushrooms

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

Non-stick spray as needed

10-ounce box frozen spinach

4 large eggs

1 cup milk

2 ounces feta cheese

1/4 cup grated parmesan

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. If your frozen spinach is not already thawed, thaw it in the microwave. Empty the box into a colander and let it drain while you begin to prepare the rest.

Quickly rinse the mushrooms and slice them thinly. Place the sliced mushrooms in a skillet coated with non-stick spray, add the minced garlic, and sprinkle a little salt and pepper. Turn the heat on to medium-high and saute the mushrooms until they release all of their moisture and no more water remains on the bottom of the skillet (5-7 minutes).

Spray a pie dish with non-stick spray. Squeeze the rest of the water out of the spinach and spread it out on the bottom of the pie dish. Next add the cooked mushrooms and crumbled feta.

In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs until fairly smooth. Add the milk, parmesan, and another small sprinkle of pepper. Whisk to combine. (This step can be completed while the mushrooms are cooking) Pour this mixture into the pie dish over the spinach, mushrooms, and feta.

Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese over top. Place the pie dish on a baking sheet for easy transfer into the oven. Place the quiche into the preheated oven and bake until it is golden brown on top and the center is solid. Every oven is different but this should take between 45 minutes and an hour. Slice and serve!



Southwest Turkey Lettuce Wraps

4 bananas

1-3.4 ounce box vanilla instant pudding and pie filling

1 pound lean ground turkey

1 packet of low sodium taco seasoning (or make your own)

1 cup salsa of your choice

15-ounce can of black beans (drained and rinsed)

1 cup frozen corn

1 head of Romaine lettuce

Cilantro (optional)

Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add ground turkey. As turkey browns add taco seasoning. Break up the turkey as it browns and mix the seasonings in. Once the turkey is browned, drain any excess fat from the pan. Add salsa, corn, and black beans to turkey and stir often. Reduce heat and let simmer for five to ten minutes.

Use lettuce leaves as a wrap by filling a lettuce leaf with the turkey mixture. Top with cilantro and enjoy!



Chicken Broccoli AND Cheese Quinoa

10-ounce can condensed Cream of Broccoli soup (or mushroom), low-sodium if you prefer

2 tablespoons milk

1 1/4 cups reduced fat shredded cheese (cheddar, colby-jack, etc)

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 cups cooked broccoli

1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa

Grated Parmesan cheese



To cook quinoa:

3/4 cup quinoa

1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth

1/4 teaspoon salt

Optional:

Add shredded baked, boneless, skinless chicken breast

Rinse quinoa in a fine sieve until water runs clear. In a small saucepan combine the quinoa, Chicken broth, and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 18-20 minutes, or until fluffy and the white ring/tail is visible. Fluff with a fork.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat a shallow (8×8 in or 5-6 cups) casserole dish - or individual ramekins - with vegetable cooking spray.

In a large bowl combine the soup, milk, shredded cheese, and pepper until well mixed. Stir in the quinoa and broccoli and (Chicken optional).

Spoon mixture into prepared casserole. Sprinkle on a couple tablespoons of Parmesan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until bubbly on the edges and golden. Makes 8 generous 1/2-cup servings.



Southwest Stuffed Bell Peppers

Olive Oil

1/2 pound lean ground turkey breast

1 cup chopped onions

1 heaping tablespoon of homemade taco seasoning (or you can use the packaged type if you like)

2 cups of cooked brown rice

3-4 bell peppers, halved and seeds removed

1 can of black beans, drained & rinsed

1/2 cup of frozen corn

15 -16 ounce jar of salsa

Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Toppings

•fresh cilantro

•sour cream

Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly coat the peppers with olive oil and roast in a baking dish about 20-25 minutes just until cooked thru. Remove the peppers from the oven and allow to cool until you can handle them.

*****Note - make sure you cook your turkey ahead of time that way you do not have to worry about it later. Also, I sauteed the onions until cooked thru, I then added in my cooked rice, black beans and corn.

In a bowl add the taco seasoning, cooked ground turkey, chopped onions, black beans, corn and rice. Add in the jar of salsa and mix well.

Carefully spoon the turkey mixture into each half of the bell peppers and place back into the baking dish. Cook the peppers for another 15-20 minutes or until the peppers are cooked all the way thru. Before removing from the oven sprinkle the tops of each pepper with shredded cheddar cheese. Place back into the oven just until the cheese has melted.



Roasted Shrimp Enchiladas with Jalapeno Cream Sauce

1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small onion, diced

2 cups shredded green cabbage

1 carrot, peeled and grated

3 cups baby spinach

2 tablespoons chipotle pepper, in adobo sauce

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

12 (6-inch) corn tortillas, warmed

2 cups Monterey Jack cheese

For the jalapeño cream sauce:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

3/4 cup sour cream

2 jalapeños, seeded and minced

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the shrimp onto the prepared baking sheet. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper, to taste, and gently toss to combine.

Place into oven and roast just until pink, firm and cooked through, about 6-8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool before dicing into bite-size pieces.

Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9x13 baking dish or coat with nonstick spray.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions become translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the cabbage, carrot, spinach, chipotle pepper, oregano and cayenne. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach just begins to wilt, about 1-2 minutes. Add the shrimp and gently toss to combine.

To make the sauce, melt the butter in a large saucepan. Whisk in the flour until lightly browned, about 1-2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the chicken stock and cook, whisking constantly, until incorporated, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in the sour cream. Add the jalapeños and garlic powder and simmer until the sauce has thickened, about 2 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro.

To assemble the enchiladas, lay the tortilla on a flat surface and spoon 1/3 cup of the shrimp mixture in the center; sprinkle with cheese. Roll the tortilla and place seam side down onto prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas and shrimp mixture.

Pour half of the jalapeño cream sauce evenly over the top. Place into oven and bake, covered, until lightly golden and bubbly, about 20 minutes.

Serve immediately with remaining jalapeño cream sauce, garnished with cilantro.



Chicken Fried Quinoa

2 cups dry quinoa

4 cups low sodium broth or 4 cups water (broth will add more flavor)

16 ounce bag of mixed frozen vegetables (peas and carrots or peas, carrots, green beans, corn)

1 pound chicken breast, baked or sautéed, shredded

1/2 large onion, chopped

1 or 2 large eggs (or egg whites)

1 clove minced garlic (1/2 teaspoon or more because I love garlic)

Low sodium soy sauce

Add quinoa and broth (or water) to a large pot. Boil until quinoa becomes translucent and all liquid is gone (About 20 minutes or time recommended on box).

Bake, grill, or sauté chicken breast until cooked thoroughly. Shred.

While quinoa is cooking, sauté onion and garlic in a large wok (or pan) with olive oil until onion becomes translucent. Add frozen vegetables and sauté until thawed. Add eggs (or egg whites) and stir until eggs are completely cooked/scrambled. Add shredded chicken, quinoa and soy sauce, to flavor (2-4 tablespoons).



Banana Ice Cream

Frozen bananas

1 teaspoon vanilla flavor

Splash of almond/soy milk (optional)

Peel bananas and put into zip lock bag and let freeze overnight. Take frozen bananas and put into a high powered blender Blend then use a spatula to push unblended bananas to bottom and keep blending until smooth.