Wednesday, July 14, 2021

My New OPTAVIA® Healthy Lifestyle...Featuring Creamy Queso Chicken #optavia #Healthy2021 #chickenleanandgreen #yummyanddelish

I need to take a moment to apologize for being a bit MIA around here so far this Summer. I've been focusing pretty much exclusively on my health the past few weeks...and now I want to share my experience with you! As a stroke recovery patient, my cardiologist and pulmonologist have strongly encouraged me to lose weight -- at least 50 pounds -- for a couple of years! The trifecta of reduced endurance post stroke...medications that make it difficult to lose weight...and hazards of cooking/recipe development + eating out as a busy food blogger! I've tried several diet plans over the past couple of years, with mixed results. When I saw my cousin this Spring, she looked amazing and had lost 60+ pounds. When I asked what she had done to achieve weight loss success, she told me about the OPTAVIA® plan. Based on her successful results, I decided to give the plan a try, so I started on May 7th. As of July 9th, I've lost 28.2 pounds and 13 total inches! Even better? I have tons of energy, and I'm sleeping better than I have in ages. 

I personally follow the OPTAVIA
® 4&2&1 Plan. Every day, I eat four OPTAVIA® Fuelings, two healthy Lean & Green meals that focus on lean proteins and vegetables, and one healthy Daily Snack. Fuelings include shakes and smoothies, protein bars, savory items like mashed potatoes, and even desserts like pudding or brownies. I literally eat every 2-3 hours during the day, so I'm rarely hungry. As the picture at the right shows, my skin is clearer...and my face is already looking less full. This is truly the easiest weight I've ever lost. I wanted to share a sample Lean & Green recipe with y'all today so you can see how I'm eating these well as the types of recipes you can expect to see me share here going forward. Creamy Queso Chicken is my personal spin on an OPTAVIA® recipe. I made it for us to enjoy while watching the Astros-Yankees game last weekend. It's warm and creamy...and very hearty. 

This warm dip is served with crudite veggie dippers in the original recipe. However, I used the Creamy Queso Chicken to make chicken guacamole tostadas using cauliflower round thins instead of tortillas for dinner. This recipe is simple to whip up and makes four generous servings. Tweaks I made to the original recipe include using scallions in place of chopped cilantro, subbing 2% four-cheese Mexican blend for sharp cheddar...and adding a bit of dry Ranch dressing mix for extra flavor. The end result is a creamy, versatile dish everyone loved!

Creamy Queso Chicken
adapted from OPTAVIA®
Ingredients (makes four generous servings):
  • 12 ounces cooked, shredded chicken breast
  • 1.5 cup shredded 2% Mexican four-cheese blend
  • 6 ounces 0% plain Greek yogurt
  • 4 TBS reduced fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes with green chilies, drained
  • 1/3 cup sliced scallions [NOTE: can use an equal amount of chopped fresh cilantro if you prefer]
  • 2 tsp. dry Ranch dressing mix
For dipping: celery sticks, cucumber slices, and wedges of sweet mini peppers...OR baked tortilla chips

For tostadas -- two per each serving of the chicken mixture
  • 8 cauliflower sandwich thins [NOTE: I use Outer Aisle brand]
  • 1/2 cup mashed avocado (1 TBS per tostada)
Step 1: Preheat oven to 375℉. Add the chicken, cheese, yogurt, cream cheese, tomatoes and green chilies, scallions/cilantro, and Ranch dressing mix to a large bowl. Stir until the ingredients are completely combined.
Step 2: Generously spray an 8x8 casserole dish with olive oil non-stick spray. Evenly spoon the creamy chicken mixture into the casserole dish and spread evenly. Bake the dip for 30 minutes, until the mixture is bubbly around the edges and starting to brown on top.
Step 3: Divide the cooked mixture into four even portions -- spooning into ceramic serving ramekins or small bowls. You can serve with cut up veggie crudite for dipping. 
To use the mixture to make tostadas, toast the cauliflower rounds in a 425℉ oven until crispy and browned...about 10 minutes per side. To serve, place two toasted cauliflower rounds on a plate. Spread each with 1 TBS mashed avocado, then top with half a serving of the Creamy Queso Chicken. Simple and delish!
This recipe is an excelling example of how my OPTAVIA® Lean & Green Meals are structured: low in fat and carbs...high in lean protein and healthy vegetables. The portions are usually quite generous as well. I love showing my family and friends that healthy food can taste delicious AND be very filling. I'll be sharing many more recipes like this in here over the coming weeks and months: big on flavor...AND healthy ingredients and preparations! I'll be sure to share a monthly update on my OPTAVIA® health and weight loss journey so my readers stay current with how it's progressing.

Disclosure: OPTAVIA® did NOT compensate me for this post. I'm simply sharing my experience and results following the OPTAVIA® 4&2&1 plan for the past 9 weeks. All opinions expressed are solely my own. I am not a medical doctor and am NOT providing any health or weight loss advice via this article.


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