Popcorn time, let’s celebrate National Popcorn Day

It’s National Popcorn Day!

I bet you didn’t realize that.

Luckily I am here to help you out.

What follows are a few of my favorite popped corn recipes.

From the basics to the more involved, I encourage you to explore the many recipes you can use to enhance popped corn.

Popcorn

Hot, buttery, delicious popcorn.

Popcorn Seasoning

I like to experiment with popped corn toppings, some are better than others.

This one skips butters and oils in favor of well-balanced spices, and that means it delivers guilt-free popped corn with tons of flavor.

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons celery salt
4 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
6 teaspoons garlic powder
6 teaspoons salt
6 teaspoons ground savory (for stronger flavor use thyme, or moderate and use 3 teaspoons of each)
2 teaspoons dried marjoram
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground sage

Directions:

Mix the ingredients in a small bowl.

Store in an airtight container, this will have a tight fitting lid.

Stir or shake well before sprinkling atop freshly popped corn.

Italian Breadstick Popcorn

This recipe manages to pack the herby, garlicky kick of restaurant breadsticks without the excess calories or butter.

Ingredients:
8 cups popped corn, hot and fresh
1 tablespoon basil
1 tablespoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon popcorn salt (or fine grain salt)
2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

Mix together the basil, parsley, garlic salt and popcorn salt in a small bowl. Then, put your freshly popped corn to a larger container with a lid and add the spice mixture and drizzle the olive oil on top. Put the lid on and shake until the popped corn is evenly coated with spices.

Do this while the popcorn is hot so the spices stick better and the flavor will be better as well.

Churro Popcorn

A taste of summer, any time.

Ingredients
6 cups popped corn
1/2 cup cinnamon chips, melted
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

Drizzle the melted cinnamon chips over the popcorn and toss to coat evenly.

In a separate bowl, mix the powdered sugar, granulated sugar and cinnamon.

Sprinkle the mixture over the popped corn, then toss to coat again.

Cool completely before serving.

Posted in Recipes | Leave a comment

Chili Cornbread Pie, Aweseome Winter Supper!

Ah chili cornbread, this is one of those awesome supper dishes. You know, the ones for that are made for a cold winter’s night?

Yeah, this is one of those alright.

And despite temperatures here in the 50s and 60s lately, I can still see myself digging into one of these.

It’s very similar to a dish I remember Mom making when we were growing up. It’s flavorful, hot, hearty, and jsut a good all-in-one supper.

Chili
1 lb. 85/15 ground beef
10 ounce pico de gallo
15 ounce can tomato sauce
14.5 ounce can chili ready diced tomato
15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
15.5 ounce can light red kidney beans (rinsed & drained)
1.25 ounce chili mix1/2 tablespoon kosher salt

Cornbread
8.5 ounce box Jiffy Cornbread Mix
1 large egg
1/2 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon chopped jalapeno pepper

Preheat the oven to 350°, lightly spray a 3-quart oven dish with nonstick spray.

Preheat a soup pot over medium-high heat.

Brown ground beef, drain then add pico de gallo. Cook the pico de gallo until tender, this will take about 5 minutes.

Add tomato sauce, diced tomato, crushed tomato, beans, chili mix and salt.

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and cook another 5-7 minutes, stirring often.

Combine Jiffy mix, egg, cheese, sour cream, milk, and jalapeno pepper in a large bowl. Blend well.

Pour the meat mixture into prepared dish. Spoon the corn bread batter evenly to cover the meat mixture.

Bake 35-40 minutes until the cornbread is browned and set.

Serve piping hot with a dollop of sour cream.

Posted in Recipes | Leave a comment

Popcorn Salt: How to Make Your Own

This is a super easy method for making popcorn salt.

Not really a recipe.

Store bought popcorn salt is regular salt that has been ground very fine. This is done so that it sticks to the popcorn.

No need to buy this since you have everything needed to make it already.

Put one cup of kosher salt into a food processor. 10 3-second pulses should perfectly blend this to the correct consistency.

Store in an appropriate shaker or dredge.

Dredge Shaker for Popcorn salt

I have a number of these, I use them for salt, pepper, popcorn salt, confectioner’s sugar, etc.

Posted in Recipes | Leave a comment

Staple Recipes You Need to Use: Chili Powder

Homemade Chili Powder

Freshly made chili powder, what a great way to add a kick of flavor to your next meal.

I love how the flavors in this come together as it all toasts in the pan.

The aroma in nothing short of amazing.

Ingredients

3 ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded and sliced
3 cascabel chiles, stemmed, seeded and sliced
3 dried arbol chiles, stemmed, seeded and sliced
2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Directions

Place all of the chiles and the cumin into a medium nonstick saute pan or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
Note, while a cast iron pan works great for this, the weight may be a concern. Nothing wrong with using a noinstick pan for this.

Cook, moving the pan around constantly, until you begin to smell the cumin toasting, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.

Set aside and cool completely.

Once cooled off, place the chiles and cumin into a blender or coffee grinder repurposed as a spice grinder, along with the garlic powder, oregano, and paprika. Blend until a fine powder is produced.

Allow the powder to settle for at least a minute before removing the lid of the grinder.

Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Example of a spice can with a see through lid. Most have a magnet attached so you can store them on the side of your refrigerator or on your stove's hood.

Example of a spice can with a see through lid. Most have a magnet attached so you can store them on the side of your refrigerator or on your stove’s hood.

A note about staple recipes:
Staple recipes are ones I like to think of as a pantry item. Something that is used regularly and is akin to salt and pepper. You have to have it in your pantry or something feels wrong.

Besides chili powder, I like to keep taco seasoning, garam masala, and chili mix onhand in my pantry.

Posted in Recipes | Leave a comment

Staple Recipes You Need to Use: Chili Mix

Chili mix is something I make a point of keeping onhand ready to go. One never knows when you’ll want to make a pot of chili.

And a good chili mix is the foundation for it.

I know it may seem extreme to make a chili mix from scratch, but I like that I can modify the amount of salt in it. And that I can modify the ingredient’s ratios to be more to my liking or mood.

Chili Mix

Mix your own, it’s not hard and is more flavorful than a store bought mix.

Some day, I will do the math and breakdown the cost involved. I’m not positive it’s much cheaper than buying pre-packaged, but I like the flavor more. And flavor is what it’s all about.

1/4 cup chili powder, you can use less for milder chili but I tend to use more
1-2 teaspoons ground cumin, I tend to use more as I really like the flavor of cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container. I like the spice cans with see through lids and the magnet on the back. Makes storage easy and I can see what’s in them without having to hunt for what I need. I recommend storing no longer than 3 months.

Spice can with a see through lid.

Example of a spice can with a see through lid. Most have a magnet attached so you can store them on the side of your refrigerator or on your stove’s hood.

If you’re like me, this time contraint will be of no consequence as I always use it well in advance of it’s “expiration’ date.

A note about staple recipes:
Staple recipes are ones I like to think of as a pantry item. Something that is used regularly and is akin to salt and pepper. You have to have it in your pantry or something feels wrong.

Besides chili mix, I like to keep taco seasoning, garam masala, and chili powder onhand in my pantry.

Posted in Recipes | Leave a comment

Mix of my Youth, Original Chex Mix

This is a classic snack mix you will want to make over and over again! Read on for details on what makes this recipe slightly different and in my opinion, better!

One of the differences some may notice in this recipe is the amounts of many of the ingredients are doubled.

I think some explanation is needed here.

I grew up eating Chex Mix as a snack. Every Christmas, my Mom would make a big batch of it and we would all feast on it throughout our Chistmas vacation. And we loved every bite.

But somewhere during those times, I noticed this Chex Mix wasn’t always giving me all the flavor I was hoping for.

So, when I decided to make it on my own, I experimented with it. And doubling the flavors portion of the ingredients was the solution.

Therefore, I present to you Chex Mix, kicked up a notch.

Chex Mix

Savor the flavors in this classic snack mix, better make a double recipe!

Ingredients

3 cups Corn Chex cereal
3 cups Rice Chex cereal
3 cups Wheat Chex cereal
1 cup dry rosted peanuts
1 cup bite-size pretzels
1 cup garlic-flavor bite-size bagel chips or regular-size bagel chips, broken into 1-inch pieces
12 tablespoons butter or margarine
6 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 teaspoons seasoned salt
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder

Directions

In a large bowl, mix cereals, peanuts, pretzels and bagel chips; set aside.

In a small microwavable bowl, microwave butter uncovered on High for about 40 seconds or until melted. Stir in seasonings.

Then pour the butter mixture over the cereals and stir until evenly coated.

Pre-heat oven to 250°. Put cereal and seasoning mixture into ungreased roasting pan and bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Now, remove from oven and allow to cool.

Store in airtight container.

There are probably a thousand variations of this classic recipe, here are a few of my favorites.
Add some Tabasco sauce for a spicy kick.

Posted in Recipes | Leave a comment

Granola You Will Love to Eat

Granola, in my opinion, gets a bad rap.

And yes, if you are buying granola from the grocery store and look at the label and can’t pronounce half of the ingredients, it deserves a bad rap.

So, make a batch of this and you will never want to eat store bought granola again.

Yes, I am serious.

Oats in the Field

Oats, ready for harvest.

Ingredients

1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
3 tablespoons coconut oil
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
Pinch of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup raw slivered almonds
1/4 cup golden flax seed meal (you can grind flax seeds in a coffee grinder to make this)
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup dried sour cherries, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup golden raisins

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the brown sugar, coconut oil, canola oil and maple syrup.

Microwave on high for 30 seconds.

Add the baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Stir until smooth. Add the almonds, flax meal, and oats.

Stir until completely coated.

Next, spread the mixture out on the baking sheet and bake in the center of the oven, stirring occasionally, until toasted and golden This will take about 40 minutes.

Let cool completely, then add the cherries, cranberries, and raisins.

Store the granola in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

If you’re like me, you will wonder how it was determined this lasted two weeks, mine was gone over the course of a wintery weekend at home.

Second, because this will be eaten soon after it is made, make a double batch. You won’t regret it.

I use as a TV snack, as a snack at work, and whenever I feel the need for a little energy that isn’t all sugar.

Enjoy!

Ready to eat Granola

Serving suggestions, blueberries and fresh granola as a breakfast cereal.

Posted in Recipes | Leave a comment

A Most Excellent Marinade

My go-to marinade. This is an easy chicken marinade recipe. This marinade produces so much flavor and still keeps the chicken moist and delicious!

Ingredients

½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup balsamic vinegar (or other vinegar)
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
⅛ cup lemon juice
¾ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 tablespoons Dijon or Spicy Brown mustard
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder

Instructions

Marinate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

If you bring the remaining marinade up to a boil, let simmer until slightly reduced, it makes a wonderful sauce to go on top of the chicken.

Posted in Recipes | Leave a comment

Turkey Vegetable Soup

Turkey Vegetable Soup

Nothing better than a bowl of soup to warm up on a cold winter day.

This past weekend it was cold here, like single digit low temperatures.

I had been thinking I needed to use the last of a smoked turkey I’d frozen from Christmas dinner.

Soup was in the plan for the weekend.

Saturday morning, I began to think about what I was going to put into my soup, so I checked to see what I had on hand.

Most of the times I make soup, it’s from whatever I happen to have, I don’t buy ingredients with soup in mind.

So, I had celery, carrots, onions, potatoes, bok choy, garlic, and napa cabbage. Those were the fresh ingredients. In the freezer, I had whole kernel corn and leftover smoked turkey. And from the pantry I had some green beans.

What follows is an approximation of quantities. It’s soup, you can get away with nearly anything as long as you don’t over season it.

Ingredients

4 stalks celery, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
3 carrots, peels and sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
1 medium onion, coarsley chopped
2 medium potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 stalks bok choy, cut into 1/4-inch pieces. Use the leaves for garnish.
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup napa cabbage, chopped coarsely
1 can green beans
1 cup whole kernel corn
2 cups chopped turkey, I used a drumstick, thigh, 2 wings, and some meat scraped from the leftover smoked turkey.
1 quart turkey stock
1 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
1/4 cup liquid smoke
8 cups water
1 stick butter
1 cup pearl barley

Put 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in your soup pot and heat over a medium flame.

Once hot, add the onions and the garlic. Stir to keep from burning.

Once you can smell the aroma of the onions and garlic being released, add the celery, carrots, and the bok choy stalks. Saute until soft.

Add the potatoes, corn, and the green beans, mix everything together.

Add the salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, and parsley flakes, stir so the vegetables are coated.

Add the liquid smoke, turkey stock and the water, let the mixture come to a boil.

Add the stick of butter. I know, a whole stick. But this will give the soup a nice texture and the barley will soak the flavor in.

Cook at a simmer for approximately 2 hours.

Add the barley and cook for an additional hour.

The soup will thicken up as the barley cooks, adjust with water or stock to your liking.

Serve and enjoy.

Posted in Recipes | Leave a comment

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes. Who doesn’t just love ’em?

And it’s really easy to make them. I promise the tough part is peeling them. Honest!

So let’s get started.

First, determine how many people you are serving. You will want to have about 1 medium potato for each person.

I prefer nice large russet potatoes for my cooking.

Next, peel them. Steady there, this is the tough part.

Make sure to trim or peel away any dark or bad spots as you are peeling.

As you peel the potatoes, put them into some sort of large vessel with enough water to keep them covered. Potatoes will start to oxidize and turn an unsavory brown color if you do not do this.

Notice the potatoes are mostly under water.

Once all the potatoes are peeled, then take them one by one and cut them into large chunks, keeping the size fairly uniform. Having them all a similar size will ensure they cook at the same pace and thus will all be done at the same time.

Once they are all cut up, and in the pan, make sure there is plenty of water. I like to add a few tablespoons of salt to the water to let the potatoes get their first attempt in at absorbing some flavor.

All ready to get into the pan. Make sure to toss some salt in your water.

Cook the potatoes for about 25 minutes, you can test for doneness by sticking a fork into a chunk, you’ll know they are done when the fork slides in easily. Drain the potatoes and put back into the pan.

Test for doneness with a fork. Also, look for a flaked look to the cooked potatoes.

I like to pot a little more flavor into my potatoes, this time I am putting fresh garlic, fresh cilantro, smoked paprika, and to get them creamy a stick of butter and about 1 1/2 cups of half-and-half.

Butter, garlic, and some fresh cilantro are my primary flavor ingredients for this batch.

I start the post-cooking work by using a potato masher to break the chunks up. If the potatoes are cooked right, this will be easy. These are perfect.

Use the masher to break the chunks up into properly mashed potatoes, I move it around the outside of the pan, through the middle, to and fro, back and forth.

Then I add the butter and mash it in good, doing my best to work it through the entire dish.

Mmmm, butter. Paula Deen would be proud. Slice it up so it melts faster.

Then I add the half-and-half and use a hand mixer to blend that in with the butter.

I add about 1 1/2 cups of half-and-half to the mixture.


Use your hand mixer to blend it until smooth. You can add more salt and pepper at this point if you wish. Just make sure it all gets mixed in well.

Smooth, creamy deliciousness! <drool>

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment