Happy National Popcorn Month: The great toppings adventure!

by Terri on October 1, 2012

National Popcorn Day might be in January, but someone along the way named October National Popcorn Month. Of course, every day is popcorn day in my house. I would guess that 5 out of 7 days in the week there is at least one batch of popcorn made. I love it, the weeone loves it, even Maggie-the-pooch loves it.

I’m a bit of snob when it comes to HOW I make popcorn. My absolute favorite is on the stove in a pan and oil, but that isn’t the healthiest way to make popcorn, so I rarely eat it that way. Instead, I have a microwave popcorn bowl. You can find one on Amazon or at Target. It’s the best $10 I ever spent. In fact, if you’re looking for teacher gifts or family gifts for Christmas, this bowl and a few toppings and popcorn striped bags make a fantastic gift.

The microwave popcorn bowl allows me to pop the corn with or without oil, so I generally just put in a wee bit of oil so that my topping will stick to the corn, but not so much that I’m turning a healthy snack into a heart attack. It’s the perfect compromise to great tasting popcorn and popcorn that is great for you.

There are about a million different ways to top popcorn and the weeone and I went diving through our spices and seasonings for ideas. Nine of our potential toppings came out as winners.

Each snack bag of popcorn (I like to use brown paper lunchbags for popcorn so I can reshake topping as I eat) was 4 cups with 1 teaspoon in total of topping. In the case of the hot sauce – it was 1 tablespoon Frank’s and 1 teaspoon of butter.  I’ll leave the nutritional values up to you, but know that in general each of these little brown bags is holding 70-90 calories, 1g fat, 20g carb, and 3g fiber. The toppings will cause variation in the rest, but they’re all under 100 calorie snacks.

Enjoy!

#1 – Sea Salt & Black PepperSea Salt and Black Pepper were as great on popcorn as they are on a potato chip. Sometimes, simple really is the best method!

 #2 – Old BayOld Bay sings as a popcorn topping. I know we’re crustacean-aholics in this house, but we hardly even missed our sea creature friends. This is also my favorite corn on the cob topping. In fact, I’d put Old Bay on just about anything other than ice cream.

#3 – Cinnamon Sugar - Cinnamon and sugar was the weeone’s suggestion. I was doubtful, but pleasantly surprised when I found this to be one of my favorites of the day. It’s a great sweet treat that isn’t really super sweet at all. Yes, that sounds crazy, but try it and you will completely understand.

#4 – Brady Street Cheese Sprinkle - If you’ve never shopped at Penzey’s for spices, this little gem is reason enough for you to start. This blend of Romano cheese, green peppercorns, Italian seasonings and garlic is fantastic on veggies, but truly was sent from heaven for popcorn lovers. It’s a little taste of heaven right here on earth. If you like cheese popcorn and garlic – this was made for you.

#5 – Frank’s Red Hot - I’m the spicy food lover in this house and couldn’t resist the idea of “Buffalo Popcorn.” A blend of Frank’s Red Hot and little bit of melted butter went a long way to coating (and shrinking) this popcorn. Mix the seasoned with a bit of freshly popped corn to still get the crunch you love with the buffalo flavor you crave! I couldn’t get enough of this one.

#6 – Taco Seasoning – I have a friend who swears by taco seasoning (whichever kind your family loves) as a popcorn topping that makes you feel like you ate Mexican food. While I don’t think this would curb any gooey cheesey craving I may have, it was an excellent blend of spicy and savory. A perfect flavor for popcorn.

#7- Kettle Corn Seasoning – Kettle Corn is nothing new, but I wanted to include this Kettle Corn seasoning that the weeone loves. She’s tried 4 or 5 different ones at this point, but this Archer Farm’s brand from Target has stood as her favorite and requested brand for a while now. You CAN recreate the flavor of kettle corn without the giant kettle.

#8 – Greek Seasoning – A favorite on salads and veggies at this house, Greek Seasoning was the “random blind grab” from the spice cabinet. Turns out it’s a great topping for popcorn. It gave it a kick without heat and was a nice blend of flavors that made the popcorn taste bright and yummy. That bright flavor was likely the lemon in this blend of coarse salt, garlic, lemon, black pepper, Turkish oregano, and marjoram.


#9 – Sandwich Sprinkle
– As you can tell from our seasoning bottles, we like Penzey’s for spices. I bought this Sandwich Sprinkle on a whim one day and have still not used it on a sandwich. It’s a great blend of garlic, salt, basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, and black pepper. I’ve used it to make croutons and that was pretty darn good, so it made sense that this same blend would be a great marriage with popcorn. I wasn’t wrong. This may just be my new favorite popcorn topping. Run, do not walk, and get yourself some of this!

 

So it was a full day of popcorn in our house, but that’s nothing new. It was a small price to pay to figure out some new and exciting ways to top our favorite snack. But don’t forget that just topping your favorite bowl of corn with popcorn salt is still a winner and will fit the bill for almost any snacking occasion.

What will you be topping your popcorn with while you celebrate National Popcorn Month?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura October 1, 2012 at 9:08 pm

SO FUN! I am a purist–cook it in extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with fine sea salt, maybe pepper. John would love all the crazy toppings though–one that he loves that you did not try is garlic salt, he especially loves a garlic salt Canice sent us from the SF farmers’ market.

We eat a lot of popcorn too. Recently I cooked it in butter and EVOO. Now THAT was decadent! Special treat obviously. ;)

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Megan - The Gluten Free Vegan October 1, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Yum I *heart* popcorn, or as we say in our household p-corn! Love these ideas.
I usually top mine with melted vegan margarine, a bit of sea salt and a nice healthy sprinkling of nutritional yeast. Sometimes I throw some garlic powder in there too – if I’m not planning on breathing on people in the next few hours!

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Star Fashion Addict October 3, 2012 at 8:40 am

Not even 10 in the morning here and now I am craving popcorn and wondering what spices I have on hand to try.
Awesome post!

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Nancy/SpicieFoodie October 4, 2012 at 6:45 pm

I had no idea there was a popcorn celebration month. What a great idea! I love popcorn-
especially flavored. Love all your versions, great post.

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