Between the sausage pizzas, fried wings, high-cal dips, greasy chips and sugary cookies on your Super Bowl smorgasbord, it’s nice to offer a snack that won’t bust your guests’ diet plans.
So consider popcorn. Air-popped popcorn has 31 calories per cup, and oil-popped has 55. Plus, it’s a whole grain.
“Because it’s a whole grain, it adds fiber to the diet and makes you feel full fairly quickly,” said Wendy Boersema-Rappel, spokeswoman for The Popcorn Board, a Chicago-based organization funded by popcorn processors. “Not only does it do your body some good, but it tastes good.”
For stovetop popping, heat 1/3 cup oil in a 3- to 4-quart pan to 400 to 460 degrees (if the oil smokes, it’s too hot). Test the oil on a couple of kernels. When they pop, add popcorn to cover the bottom of the pan, one kernel deep. Cover the pan and shake to evenly spread the oil. When the popping begins to slow, remove the pan from the stovetop. The heated oil will pop the remaining kernels.
Pour the popcorn into a bowl, and season it with salt and butter or buttery spray. Or try something different.
“The simplest way is to go to your spice drawer and figure out what you love. If you love Italian flavors, pick out the Italian seasoning or the oregano and basil. You can sprinkle them directly onto the popcorn, or you can mix them with the little butter and drizzle it on. The butter will help them adhere to the popcorn,” said Boersema-Rappel.
Other suggestions: Sprinkle on a little salt and sugar for a sweet and salty snack. Or try popping in a garlic-infused olive oil or other flavored oil.
Here are a few other ideas for flavoring popcorn for Super Bowl snacking, from The Popcorn Board.
Blazing Buffalo Ranch Seasoning Mix for Popcorn
1 tablespoon ranch dressing or dip mix (from a 1-ounce package)
1 tablespoon seafood spice mix (or celery salt)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon powdered sugar (or sugar)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil
6 quarts popped popcorn
Cooking spray (optional)
In a small bowl, blend ranch dressing mix, spice mix, garlic powder, powdered sugar and cayenne pepper. Sprinkle with vegetable oil and blend until well incorporated.
Place popcorn in a serving bowl, and spray lightly with cooking spray. Sprinkle seasoning mix over popcorn to taste, and toss. Store leftover seasoning mix in an airtight container for future use.