I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus due to a vacation, followed by damaging storms, which was then followed by illness. Yes folks, life has a way of getting in the way of things you might otherwise be aiming to accomplish. Little things like making at least an occasion appearance on your blog! So without further ado I’m back to cooking and sharing the good things I make tailored to not serve 8 to 10 giants.
As much as I love to cook, there are times I simply don’t want to. Nights when I’m worn out, or especially when it’s the hottest days of summer. (Those aren’t far away I’m sure.) However I’m not a fan of fast food and in an effort to eat somewhat healthy I often avoid the frozen or processed quick-fix meals. And there are times where I’m just not that hungry, so something snack-worthy becomes dinner. One of my go-to favorites for those nights is popcorn.
If you’ve read much of my blog so far or know me personally, you know packaged microwave popcorn just won’t cut it. Something else to know – I’m
frugal cheap. So a recipe to make good popcorn that’s tasty, somewhat healthy, and costs less is a winner all around in my book. If you remember going to the theater in the days where you could get really good popcorn versus the stuff they pass off at absurd prices and call it “popcorn,” this recipe heralds back to those days of fluffy, buttery goodness in paperboard container. Make it once and you’re in for a treat. And you’ll be entirely hooked, so consider yourself warned.
Hot Buttered Popcorn
Let me say first thing, this makes a questionable number of servings. With popcorn, how do you gauge a “serving?” One cup (are you crazy!)? This will easily feed two plus a dog. If you’re particularly hungry or it’s a long movie, don’t share with the dog. Leftovers can be stored and enjoyed later, if there are any.
3 tablespoons oil (canola, vegetable, or peanut – don’t use olive oil here)
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1/4 tsp popcorn salt or fine sea salt (or to taste)
2 tbsp unsalted butter (also to taste)
Heat the oil and 3 or 4 kernels in a large uncovered pan over medium-high heat until all the kernels pop.
While the oil is heating, melt the butter in the microwave (approx 30- 45 seconds.) Set aside.
Remove the pan from the burner.
Pour in the rest of the popcorn kernels.
Cover the pan and wait 30 seconds (OFF the burner. )
Return the pan to the burner, tip the lid slightly ajar to let steam out but not enough to let popcorn escape the pan. (Otherwise you get soggy popcorn, which is no good.)
Continue cooking over medium-high heat until the popping slows to about 2 seconds between pops.
Remove popcorn from pan into a bowl sprinkle with salt and toss. Drizzle with butter and toss.
The only tricky part of this recipe is not burning the popcorn. The best thing I’ve found to avoid burning it is to give it a shake or two as it is cooking. Also if you see a single burned kernel remove it from the heat right away. The exact timing varies a bit with the heat level, pan, and even from one brand of popcorn to the next. My suggestion is to pick one setup you like and use it consistently. It will make for the most consistently good results.
While it does take more time to do this than just simply tossing a bag of microwave popcorn in and rip open about three minutes later, the giant leap forward in taste alone makes it worth it. If you want to capture more of the “movie theater” taste, use peanut oil. I typically use canola because it has minimal flavor and I have it handy for these sort of applications. I also think the popcorn salt is worth using.
For those like me who look at the list of ingredients in a typical microwave popcorn bag and cringe, you can feel vastly better knowing there’s a whopping 4 ingredients going into your snack. Go hard-core and make your own butter, or change it up entirely and skip the butter. Cooked this way it’s honestly good sans butter. It might break Paula Dean’s heart to see you do it, but trust me, she will move on.
So with the summer season on us, have a cheap date night complements of this new recipe in your arsenal of culinary skills. Queue up a good movie on Netflix, break out the popcorn, and enjoy! Your spouse or date will be impressed, and the dog will love you even more.