Have you noticed that when the smell and sound of popcorn hits the air, the family starts anticipating FUN! A bowl of popcorn gathers people together, whether for a movie, a game night or even for “Let’s sit down and talk time."
As the kids were growing up we often made popcorn on Sunday nights and watched the “Wonderful World of Disney.” On other occasions a bowl of popcorn would lead to conversations about school, friends, or how life was going in general. As we started to munch on the popcorn, they would feel more at ease and talk more freely about what was happening in their world. Since children see the world far differently than adults, these heartfelt conversations were a crucial key to helping us in raising our families—we got insights we likely wouldn’t have gotten, otherwise.
And so we call popcorn a "party in a bowl." We love that there are so many sweet or savory recipes to choose from and it’s always been a family favorite at our houses. And isn’t it great that it’s an inexpensive treat? It’ high in fiber and protein and contains some vitamins and minerals. Popcorn is considered by the American Health Organization to be a healthy, wholegrain snack.
But watch out for those microwaveable popcorns—they all have different levels of fat content, so be sure you are reading the labels. We prefer popcorn that is done on the stove in a whirly pop. The kids love to help crank the handle, which stirs the popcorn. We’ve timed both of them and found the stove top popcorn doesn’t take any longer than the microwave approach, and we prefer the flavor of the stove top method.
If you want seasoned or flavored popcorn, here are a few things to remember:
1. After popping the popcorn and placing it in a bowl, shake down all the un-popped kernels. They will remain in the bottom of the bowl so they can be easily removed. Next, spread the popped corn on a cookie sheet and place in a pre-heated (200 degrees) oven—this will keep it warm while you make the topping. Warm popcorn allows the coating to stick more effectively. Do this step whether you are using wet or dry ingredients to coat the popcorn.
2. If you are using a dry seasoning to coat your popcorn, spray it with a quick spray of butter-flavored nonstick spray. Then put the popcorn and dry seasoning in a paper bag and shake until coated. Return to bowl and enjoy! Try Parmesan cheese, garlic salt, or any seasoning or spices that you think you might like.
Now here's a recipe for a yummy seasoned popcorn you might try for your next family gathering. We found this on the CD Kitchen website:
2 Tbsp garlic-flavored olive oil
3 quarts warmed popped popcorn
1/3 C grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp crushed hot red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 tsp salt
Pop corn using garlic-flavored olive oil. Drizzle butter over warm popcorn. Combine cheese, basil, and red pepper flakes (if using), and salt. Place popped corn in paper bag, sprinkle in seasoning, shake bag well to evenly coat kernels. Return to serving bowl and enjoy. Makes 8 cups.
So the next time you want an inexpensive, healthy treat that can bring the family together, make a batch of popcorn and LET THE FUN BEGIN! And until we meet again, here’s to making family dinner hour possible!