Pop Up Healthier Snacks

MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - May 17, 2012) - (Family Features) Sweet, savory, crunchy or salty -- whatever your snack cravings are, it's possible to satisfy them with something that's actually good for you. Popcorn is a versatile treat that you can feel good about eating.

These recipes let you enjoy popcorn several tasty ways: stove-popped with a satisfying, cheesy flavor; air-popped with a sweet and sour lemon glaze; baked into a power-packed sweet cookie; and mixed into a cranberry-almond muffin. Four delicious ways to pop up a healthier snack.

For more recipes the whole family will enjoy, visit www.popcorn.org.

Good and Good for You
--Air-popped popcorn has only 31 calories per cup; oil-popped popcorn has only 55 calories per cup.
--Popcorn is a whole grain, making it a smart snack choice.
--Popcorn contains fiber, which your body needs every day.
--Popcorn is naturally low in fat and calories.
--Popcorn is ideal for between-meal snacking since it satisfies and doesn't spoil your appetite.
--3 cups of popped popcorn equal one serving from the grain group.

Cheesy Popcorn
Yield: 10 cups

2 tablespoons garlic flavored oil or vegetable oil
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1 tablespoon melted butter, optional
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (found at health food stores, it adds a cheese-like flavor without the calories or fat)
1 teaspoon curry powder, optional

In large, heavy-bottomed pot (with a lid), place oil and about 3 popcorn kernels.

Heat over medium-high heat until a kernel pops. Add remaining popcorn; cover.

Once corn begins to pop, shake pot constantly over heat.

When popping slows, remove pot from heat and transfer popcorn to a serving bowl.

Pour butter over popcorn, if desired, and toss.

Sprinkle yeast and curry powder, if desired, over popcorn and toss to distribute evenly.

Serve immediately or store in an air-tight container.

Cranberry Almond Popcorn Muffins
Yield: 12 muffins

5 cups popped popcorn
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries
1 cup milk
1 egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper liners; set aside.

Blend popcorn in blender or food processor until finely ground. Pour ground popcorn into large mixing bowl.

Add flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cranberries and stir until blended; set aside.

Beat milk, egg, oil and almond extract together and pour over dry ingredients; stir just until combined.

Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling each about half full.

Divide almonds among muffin tops and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until tops are lightly browned; serve warm with butter.

Power Packed Popcorn Cookies
Yield: 4 dozen cookies

1/4 cup whole wheat or all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup toasted wheat germ
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup flaked coconut
3 cups popped popcorn
1 cup raisins, dried cranberries or other dried fruit, chopped
1/2 cup sunflower seeds or chopped nuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Lightly spray baking sheets with cooking spray and set aside.

In small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, soda and salt; set aside.

Cream butter and sugar together and add egg and vanilla; mix well.

Stir in flour mixture, wheat germ and oatmeal until well blended.

Add coconut, popcorn, raisins and sunflower seeds, if desired, and mix until well blended.

Drop by rounded teaspoons onto baking sheet, with 2 inches between cookies to allow for spreading.

Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

Allow to cool on pan 5 minutes before removing to racks to cool completely.

Glazed Lemon and Poppy Seed Popcorn
Yield: 4 quarts

4 quarts unbuttered and unsalted popcorn
1 egg white
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 teaspoon poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Line large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (or foil sprayed with cooking spray). Spread popcorn onto prepared baking sheet.

In small bowl, whisk together egg white, sugar, salt and lemon extract until foamy. Pour over popcorn and toss to coat evenly. Sprinkle with poppy seeds; mix.

Bake 20 minutes, stirring once midway through baking time. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Note: The use of egg white helps the flavors adhere to the popcorn, without adding fat through the more traditional use of oils.

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Contact Information:

Wendy MacDonald
1-888-824-3337 ext. 235

Photo courtesy of Popcorn Board