September 9, 2013



According to popcorn.org, popcorn has been around for thousands of years. The oldest popcorn was found in the Bat Cave of Central New Mexico. It was estimated to be more than 5,600 years. Today, popcorn is still one of America's most popular snacks.

When I was in elementary school, my perfect Friday night consisted of a slumber party with my friends complete with a movie, popcorn and plenty of girl talk and giggles. Back then it was a big deal if a movie was shown on network TV or if my mom agreed to rent a VCR recorder from the movie theater along with a movie for my friends and me to watch. Before VCRs were in every home, it was really neat to be able to rent one to take it home and watch movies on TV in the family room.

These days my Friday nights are similar, but instead of my girlfriends, I have my two little boys, ages 2½ and 5½, by my side. Our boys are very excited about Halloween next month and have been deciding on their costumes. During this weekend's movie night, we snuggled up on the couch and watched "Spooky Buddies."



Pizza Popcorn

Who doesn't like pizza and popcorn? Combine the two and you have a crowd-pleasing snack everyone will love.

2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon herb seasoning mix (Italian)

1 teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon salt

1 dash pepper

3 quarts popped popcorn, fresh and hot

In a blender or small food processor, blend Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, Italian herb seasoning, paprika, salt and pepper until finely ground (approximately 3 minutes).

Place popcorn in large bowl. Sprinkle with cheese mixture. Toss to coat evenly. Store in airtight container until ready to serve (if it lasts that long).



BBQ Popcorn Seasoning Mix

BBQ popcorn is a healthier way to satisfy a salty craving for BBQ potato chips.

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon cardamom

½ teaspoon celery salt

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Store mixture in an airtight container.

To use: Spray popped popcorn with cooking spray. Sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of seasoning mix for each quart of popcorn.



Greek Popcorn

If you're looking for a zesty way to spice up your popcorn, the flavors of oregano and lemon zest should do the trick.

2 quarts popped popcorn

cooking spray

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon lemon zest

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon salt

freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese

Place popcorn in large bowl. Spray lightly with cooking spray and toss. Sprinkle remaining ingredients over popcorn and toss again. Serve immediately.



Taco Popcorn

Kidshealth.org calls this baked snack, "A Recipe for Kids With Diabetes." It gives the flavor of tacos with only 46 calories and ½ of a carbohydrate exchange per 1½ cup serving.

7½ cups air-popped popcorn

butter-flavored cooking spray

1½ teaspoon cumin

1½ teaspoon garlic powder

1½ teaspoon onion powder

1½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

cayenne pepper (optional)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Put popcorn in a large mixing bowl. Lightly coat popcorn with cooking spray. Toss and coat again. Combine cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle spices over popcorn and toss to coat evenly. Drizzle Worcestershire sauce over popcorn and toss again. Spread popcorn evenly in large baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes, tossing once.



Cheese Popcorn Snack

Cheese popcorn is always a treat especially made using Taste of Home's recipe made with real Cheddar cheese rather than artificial cheese flavor.

4 quarts plain popped popcorn

¼ cup butter, melted

½ teaspoon garlic salt

½ teaspoon onion salt

2 cups (8 oz) shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place popcorn in two 13x9 inch baking pans. Drizzle with melted butter. Combine garlic salt and onion salt; sprinkle over popcorn and toss to coat. Top with cheese. Bake for 5-10 minutes. Serve immediately.



Peanut Butter and Chocolate Hazelnut Popcorn Macaron

One of my favorite flavor combinations is peanut butter and chocolate. Popcorn.org has a way to make it even more sinful by adding hazelnut spread to the mix.

6 cups popped popcorn, unpopped kernels removed

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

½ cup creamy peanut butter

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

4 cups mini marshmallows (or 40 regular)

½ cup chocolate hazelnut spread (like Nutella)

Place popcorn in a large bowl; set aside. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in peanut butter and cinnamon (if desired) until butter is melted and mixture is blended. Stir marshmallows into mixture until melted and well blended. Pour over popcorn and stir until evenly coated. With buttered hands, shape popcorn into about 18 small popcorn balls (1 ½ inches); place onto parchment lined baking sheet.

Flatten each ball slightly. With a serrated bread knife, carefully cut each cookie in half horizontally. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of hazelnut spread onto cut side of one half. Top with 2nd half; repeat with remaining popcorn balls. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container.