Popcorn Five Ways

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It’s no secret that popcorn is one of the healthiest snacks out there. Popcorn only has about 30 calories per cup and more fiber and antioxidants than many fruits and vegetables, you can eat enough to fill yourself up without feeling guilty.

The bad news is this: microwave popcorn, the go-to solution for many who snack on this popular treat, is not actually so good for you. It’s loaded with saturated fat and artificial ingredients, which ultimately dilutes the health benefits and can even double the calories of the seemingly healthy snack. But the ease and convenience of microwave popcorn are hard to resist for even the most health-conscious snacker.

Luckily, it’s just as easy to pop popcorn at home. With just two ingredients and five minutes, you can get a giant bowl of popcorn that’s just as tasty as the microwave kind, without all the unnecessary additions.

Traditional Microwave Popcorn

You’ll need:
A saucepan and lid
Popcorn kernels
Vegetable oil

  1. Heat oil in saucepan over high heat. Most recipes call for about 1 tablespoon; I generally use much less than this. You want just enough to coat the popcorn kernels so they do not burn.
  2. After about a minute, add enough popcorn kernels to cover the bottom of the saucepan in a single layer. Stir/shake to coat with oil.
  3. Cover saucepan with lid and move back and forth over eye of the stove to keep kernels from burning or sticking.
  4. Kernels will start to pop after about one to two minutes; continue to shake or move saucepan until the kernels have filled it. Transfer to bowl.
  5. Sprinkle with salt (I prefer sea salt) and enjoy!

Not satisfied with plain old popcorn? Here are some ways to make it a more exciting snack option:

  • Make homemade kettle corn: In step 2, after you add popcorn kernels, sprinkle with about a teaspoon of sugar. This will melt and coat the popped corn, giving you a deliciously salty and sweet treat.
  • Make cinnamon sugar popcorn: Make kettle corn as described above. After transferring it to the bowl, toss with cinnamon. Enjoy!
  • Add chocolate: Without fail, my family always has peanut M&Ms with our popcorn. The heat from the popcorn melts the chocolate of the M&Ms (leaving the candy shell hard), making them a sweet surprise in the middle of a salty handful. If you don’t like peanuts, plain M&Ms are also a delicious addition.
  • Spice it up: Add garlic salt, herbs (such as rosemary), or cheeses (like parmesan) to make a savorier snack.

In what creative and delicious ways do you enjoy popcorn?

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