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Hi.

Welcome to my blog. Front Range Fed is a blog about eating fresh, local food in and around Colorado's Front Range. Each week, I try new recipes, using as many local ingredients as possible. Join me as I discover the amazing things our local farms have to offer, and the delicious ways to enjoy them...one meal at a time. 

Popcorn For Dinner

Popcorn For Dinner

Popcorn For Dinner - 4 Ways

Yes, you can have popcorn for dinner – don’t knock it till you’ve tried it!  Try these four delicious ways of dressing up your popcorn for a healthy snack or light dinner!

You know those days when you just don’t feel like cooking. When the thought of chopping and slicing and preparing and even just turning on the oven feels like too much? Those are exactly the kinds of nights when popcorn for dinner is appropriate, and it’s just the kind of night we had last weekend. 

It was just the kiddos and I last weekend and I had promised them a movie night. And while I don’t normally serve popcorn as a full-blown meal, since it was just us and we wanted something easy, popcorn it was. Plus, the boys love it and it’s always a special treat for them.

I grew up eating this combo often (waaay before Olivia Pope made it a thing). I have vivid memories of spending the night at my grandparent’s house with my siblings and my cousins, my grandma violently shaking the oiled pan of popping corn over the gas burner so that it wouldn’t burn. She’d pile the popcorn high in our bowls, but it didn’t stop there. Next came “the toppings”.  What – you didn’t know that popcorn could have toppings?  Read on my friend.

First, a little background; my grandpa was a butcher, and the owner of a meat market/grocery store in the small town where they lived called Eckert’s.  His father had owned the store too, and my grandpa had grown up, alongside his brother, working in the store, which is what they both did until they finally sold it years later. In the old days, they used to butcher the hogs and steer (and probably scores of other game) right in the back of the store! They were known for their quality meats and cheeses, but the store also stocked a small selection of grocery items, and I loved stopping by grandpa’s store with my Mom when we were little to pick up our essentials.

Grandpa’s store, Eckert’s Meat Market, is in the right frame of this picture, where the men with aprons are standing.

Grandpa’s store, Eckert’s Meat Market, is in the right frame of this picture, where the men with aprons are standing.

So, back to the toppings. Being a butcher, my grandpa naturally brought home lots of delicious deli meats and cheeses with him from the shop. And they all managed to find their way atop our popcorn bowls on these nights we’d stay with my grandparents.  Salami, and ham, cheddar, Swiss and Munster….the saltiness and sharpness of the meats and cheeses mixed so well with the oiled corn, and the combined texture made it completely addicting. 

 My kids have grown to love this combo, so it’s always on the menu at our house, especially during movie nights. I decided to play around with a few more mixes for variety and came away with some definite winners. Serve these gussied up popcorn bowls at your next party, movie night, or whenever you feel like taking a night off from the kitchen. 

Prosciutto And Gouda Popcorn

 All of the popcorn recipes above are made by heating the oil in a large pan over the stove along with the popcorn, which is my preferred method. Yes, you can air-pop the corn, and it’s probably healthier (ok, definitely healthier), but the flavor with that method is lacking and for a special treat, the oil popped corn can’t be beat.  And, even if this isn’t as healthy as air-popped corn, it’s definitely healthier than a store bought microwave bag.

A word of caution – once it gets going, the corn pops FAST! You’ll need to be ready and waiting by the stove, with one hand holding the pan (shaking it back and forth as it pops to avoid the corn from burning) and another hand holding a lid over the popping corn so the oil doesn’t splatter. And, just a little goes a long way. Fill your pan too full of un-popped kernels and it will be overflow (resulting in popped corn all over your kitchen!). Also, be wary of stray kernels popping out of the pan – they’re hot little suckers!

Popcorn For Dinner Recipes

 

Popcorn For Dinner

Salami And Colby Jack Popcorn

Combo #1: Deli Meat And Cheese Popcorn

  • 2 Tablespoons canola oil

  • 2 Teaspoons salt

  • ½ Cup popping corn

  • ¼ Cup butter, melted

  • A Healthy Dose of chopped deli meats and cheeses – we used a couple of different mixtures here - Salami and Colby Jack for one, and Prosciutto and Gouda for the other, which was my favorite.

Note: I find that meats like salamis, hams or prosciutto work better than something like turkey, and sharp cheeses, like cheddar, Gouda, Swiss, or pepper jack work better than a soft mild cheese.

 
Italian Style Popcorn

Combo #2: Fancy Italian-Style Popcorn

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

  • ½ Cup popping corn

  • ¼ Cup butter, melted

  • 2 Teaspoons rosemary

  • ½ Teaspoon garlic powder

  • 2 Teaspoons salt

  • ¼ Cup grated Parmesan cheese

 

 
Trail Mix Popcorn

Combo #3: Trail Mix Popcorn (Also known as dessert!) 

  • 2 Tablespoons peanut oil (coconut oil could also work well here)

  • 1/3 Cup dark chocolate chips

  • 2 Tablespoons coconut flakes

  • ¼ Cup roasted peanuts





 

Directions: 

  1. Pour oil into a large pot over medium heat.

  2. Once oil is hot, add popcorn to oil and cover the pan with a lid.

  3. As popcorn starts popping, shake pan to prevent it from burning.

  4. Once all corn has popped remove the pan from heat immediately and pour popcorn into a large bowl.

  5. If using butter, pour the butter very slowly over the popcorn in a circular motion, while at the same time stirring the popcorn to mix it.

  6. Add all other ingredients and stir to combine.

  7. Serve and enjoy!

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