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I’ve always been somewhat of a snacking machine. It’s just the way my body works. I need to have something to eat every three hours or so or I succumb to crazy hangry, low blood sugar side effects. I’ve also been known to faint from time to time if I ignore this need. For years I had an after-school snacking routine that was a bit gluttonous – I would eat an entire bag of Pop Secret’s Homestyle Popcorn with extra salt. And I would eat an entire bag almost every day. Yeesh!
I recently checked on the nutritional facts of said popcorn and oh dear, let me tell you, there really couldn’t be a more unhealthy popcorn to eat. Not only is it high in saturated fat and sodium per serving, it also contains some weird ingredients like propyl gallate and artificial flavors. What is “homestyle” about Pop Secret’s recipe, I will never understand.
A few months back I decided to make the switch from microwave popcorn to stovetop popcorn because I can better control the ingredients and what I’m putting into my body (I still overeat the stuff, but some things just can’t be changed). Preparing kernels the real “homestyle” way ensures you really gain the value of a healthy, whole grain snack that popcorn can be. One of my favorite ways to prepare stovetop popcorn is to sprinkle it with a bit of freshly grated manchego cheese, a dash of salt, and a healthy amount of crushed red pepper flakes. It only takes about 5 minutes to pop the corn on the stove so really, you’re hardly losing any time that could be saved by using a microwave.
½ cup white or yellow corn kernels
3 tablespoons of your preferred cooking oil
Freshly grated manchego cheese
Dash of salt
Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
Heat the oil and corn kernels over medium in a tall, covered, saucepan with the lid slightly ajar. In about 5 minutes the kernels will begin to pop. Keep the pot over the heat until the popping begins to slow down. Remove the pot from the heat and transfer the popcorn to a large bowl, or individual bowls for sharing. Top the popcorn with a dash of salt, freshly grated manchego cheese, and crushed red pepper flakes. Other options include parmesan, freshly ground black pepper, rosemary, cayenne, smoked paprika, etc.