Sauerkraut Chicken Meatballs with Wilted Greens
This is a fun recipe to make with it being the New Year. It has a couple of those age old ingredients that are said to bring luck and prosperity in the year to come. The strands of cabbage in the sauerkraut symbolize a long life. The collard greens in this HCG Diet Recipe represent, what else, money and prosperity. Both auspicious ingredients to start the new year.
Fermentation vs. Pickling
Sauerkraut is low on calories but there is some added sugar so it contains about 7 grams of total carbs per 1 cup with 4 grams of dietary fiber. That being said, it is very nutritious, mostly because it is fermented. Unlike pickling, where you are adding an acidic brine to preserve a food, fermentation begins when yeast and bacteria, already naturally present on the cabbage, start digesting the sugars and converting them into carbon dioxide and organic acids. It provides you a similar outcome as pickling but is a much more natural process.
Sauerkraut fermentation is most beneficial because it creates an environment that promotes the growth of probiotics, similar to those found in yogurt. Probiotics are bacteria that have powerful healthy benefits.
Bacteria have a reputation of causing health problems instead of helping with them. However, some bacteria is good and necessary. These healthy bacteria of the gut are called probiotics (from pro and biota, meaning "for life"). The diet of Northern Europeans is high in these beneficial microorganisms because of their diet of fermented foods and yogurt. Beverages laced with probiotics are also very popular in Japan.
Self-dosing with bacteria isn't as crazy as it seems. An estimated 100 trillion microorganisms with more than 500 different species inhabit every normal, healthy bowel. These microorganisms (or microflora) generally don't make us sick; most are helpful. These gut-dwelling bacteria keep pathogens (harmful microorganisms) in check, aid digestion and nutrient absorption, and contribute to immune function.
Benefits of Probiotics
Not all bacteria in probiotics are the same either. Each strain provides different benefits. Different probiotics strains have been shown to treat or prevent:
Urinary Tract Infections
Recurring Bladder Cancer
Digestive Tract Infection
Pouchitis (side effect of a colectomy)
I know Dr. Zach is interested in adding a probiotic to our supplement line. But as he likes to say, there is no substitute for a healthy whole food diet. As always, my suggestion is that you go to your food source for the best nutrition and health benefits. We know there are benefits from probiotics found in yogurt. I am lactose intolerant so whether you are eliminating dairy while on the HCG 2.0 diet or for other health reasons, there are plant-based yogurts that contain the same good bacteria as dairy yogurt. The probiotics just come from fermented vegetables instead. Sauerkraut is an example. Kim-chi is another, which is a staple in the Korean diet and highly nutritious for the same reasons. Do be aware that both sauerkraut and Kim-chi can be high in sodium if you are watching your salt intake.
Recipe for the Family
If you are eating with family and/or friends that are not on the HCG 2.0 protocol but still want to get into the New Year's spirit, you can serve this with the time-honored tradition of serving black-eyed peas (not to be confused with the popular hip-hop band). They are actually not peas at all, they are type of bean and one of my favorites! I found a few different reasons why they are associated with luck on New Year's Day, but most go back to the fact that in times of war and famine, people were said to often be left with just this bean so, lucky for them...they survived.
To top off this HCG diet recipe is the collard greens. You can use any type of green that you choose or have on hand. There are many. For example, I love beets. Believe it or not, my kids like them too, likely because they die their fingers red. Regardless, in the summer months I buy bunches of them from the Farmer's Market and steam them. Most throw out the greens of the beet, but don't do that. They would be perfect for this recipe and loaded with vitamins and minerals. Everyone that likes greens seem to have their favorite way of preparing them. Mine is a little apple cider vinegar, or lemon and some salt. That's all you need and its a great way to add color to your dish.
Ingredients: Sauerkraut Chicken Meatballs
7 oz ground chicken
1/4 cup onion, minced
2 TBS parsley, finely chopped
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 cup chicken broth/stock
1 cup sauerkraut
Ingredients: Wilted Greens
3 cups collard greens, chopped and packed down
2-3 TBS chicken broth/stock
1 TBS apple cider vinegar (optional)
1/4 tsp paprika
salt and pepper to taste
Combine the ground chicken, onion, parsley, oregano, and paprika into a medium sized bowl and mix well.
Spray a saute pan with a non-stick cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat.
Roll the chicken mixture into balls by the Tablespoon. You should get about 12.
Place them in the pan and brown on all sides.
Add the chicken broth and sauerkraut. Saute for a couple minutes then cover and simmer for 5-7 minutes more.
Heat a separate medium sized saute pan for the greens over medium-high heat and add the chicken broth.
Add the chopped collard greens and saute for a couple minutes.
Add the paprika, salt and pepper. Saute until wilted but still a nice green color.
Serve the sauerkraut meatballs over a bed of the wilted collard greens. Add some hot sauce if you like. Enjoy!
If you're unfamiliar with HCG 2.0, the blog linked here is a great place to learn the differences between HCG 2.0 and the original HCG diet, Pounds and Inches; A New Approach to Obesity.
You can also join our private Facebook group. If you're still bit skeptical of HCG weight loss, it's a great place go for genuine information from people just like you that once had the same questions and concerns that you have now.