GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Lifestyle

July 17, 2013

Popcorn Party

Spice up healthy snack with ranch flavor

America’s love affair with popcorn is rumored to date all the way back to the Colonial era, when Native Americans first introduced British colonists to the delicious and healthy snack. Go back farther, and you will discover that popcorn has been a well-enjoyed snack for about 4,000 years.

Popcorn itself is a kind of corn that expands and puffs when heated. Over the years, popping technology has evolved dramatically; now, most people make popcorn from generic microwavable popcorn bags. Some, however, still find that popping corn on a stovetop is healthier and more authentic.

Jancey Smith, the Hoosier cook from Indiana, a large popcorn producer, demonstrates an easy and natural way to cook popcorn, a snack that usually has only 55 calories without butter and around 100 with. She dresses her pan-popped corn with a mixture of Old Bay Seasoning, dehydrated ranch dressing, garlic powder and sugar, turning a simple snack into a healthy treat to bring to any party.

This recipe makes enough spice mixture to sprinkle over two servings of popcorn, so use half now and save the other half for a movie night at home.

Ranch Popcorn

Ingredients

1 tablespoon oil

1/8 cup corn kernels

1 tablespoon dehydrated ranch dressing

1 tablespoon old bay seasoning

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon oil (for seasoning)

Note: This recipe makes enough spice mix for two servings of popcorn, so any extra can be saved for a later date.

Instructions

1. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat.

2. Add corn kernels to the pan, and shake frequently. Cover the kernels with a lid.

3. Once kernels begin to pop, continue to shake, and keep on the heat until popping slows.

4. Move the popcorn to a large bowl.

5. In a small bowl, combine spices :Old Bay, garlic powder, sugar, ranch, and 1/2 teaspoon oil.

6. Mix the spices together until well incorporated.

7. Sprinkle half the spice on the popcorn and serve. Save remainder in an airtight container for the next batch of popcorn.

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Recipe courtesy of Jancey Smith, 2013.

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