Obsessed. With. Popcorn.
And it’s probably a good thing.
Along with many others, the Serious Foodie has resolved to put more healthy eating and a bit of weight loss on the menu for 2018. We started our plan first off looking for a snacking routine that was low calorie, satisfying, and delicious. This is a tall order, but popcorn is literally made to fit the bill.
Problem is, healthy delicious popcorn seemed to be an oxymoron (no, we’re not talking about politicians). We tried so many pre-made brands claiming to be healthy, but there was a still a lot of crap stuck to the bottom of the bag with most of them. Nothing deadly, but still not what we wanted. And never tasting really fresh.
Then we tried various “just popcorn” brands with low or no salt, low fat. No thank you, I’ll just eat the bag – much more flavor, just as much fiber.
How about microwaved popcorn? Been there, done that – smells bad, tastes, and it has nasty stuff in the bag/on the bag.
Then we went back to the old-fashioned, make it on your stove top version. Turns out, once you have a few tricks down, it’s really easy, healthy, and makes the kitchen smell great. Not hard, and quick. Just what the dietitian ordered.
Let’s get started. Go buy some honest to goodness real popping corn. Go high end if you like (there are so many interesting versions), or go cheap. We bought 50 pounds for about $20 at one of those big box stores that we normally loath. We found that most of the flavor comes in the last two steps anyway.
- Trick 1– Know your oil. Grapeseed is best, sunflower is good, peanut works in a pinch. Don’t use low temperature oils such as coconut oil, EVOO, butter. Use 2 tablespoons per ½ cup of corn will do. (1/2 cup kernels will be enough to last all day for 1 person, or get 2 people through at least one movie).
- Trick 2/Step 1 – Wait. Add oil to the pot. Heat up the oil on medium high. After about 3 minutes, add one or two kernels – when they pop, the oil is ready. Take the pot OFF the heat, add the remaining kernels, put a lid on, shake, and wait 30 seconds. The hot oil will heat up the kernels evenly before popping. Place back on the heat. Shake, shake, shake. Pop, pop, pop.
- Trick 3/Step 2 – Flavor. If you want, this is when you want to add salt. Ho, hum. Dull. Let’s move on to much more fun stuff. While this is a shameless plug for our associated products from Serious Foodie, spice rubs really rock on popcorn. Take 1 tablespoon of spice rub, sprinkle it onto the hot popcorn, close the lid, and shake – up and down, sideways – the get the rub distributed. Lid off, another tablespoon of spice rub. Lid on, back to that shaking thing. Click HERE to check out all the Serious Foodie Spice Rubs. Our favorite rubs for popcorn are West African, Asian Fusion, and Kentucky Bourbon.
- Trick 4/Step 3 – More Flavor. We bought two oil spray bottles. One we use for oils – EVOO, garlic oil, basil oil, whatever. The other we use for vinegar. Be creative here – like spraying on garlic oil, and using nutritional yeast instead of spice rub for Step 2. Yummy garlic/Parmesan flavored popcorn (real parm also works). Or back to an old staple – vinegar and salt. Use your favorite salt for Step 2 (ignore my comment on salt being ho hum), then spray popcorn with vinegar. You won’t need much – don’t soak the popcorn. Spray, toss, spray, toss.
Now time for some guilt-free snack attacking.