Monday, October 26, 2009

Snacking on the cheap

I really do like potato chips: salty and crispy Lays, crunchy and vinegary Miss Vickies, home-baked and toothsome sweet potato chips. Satisfying and indulgent for my savoury tastebuds – and they tend to bully the sweet-loving ‘buds into submission.

White Gold
Popcorn as modeled by Bri.

However, as you’re probably aware, chips are just not particularly nutritional, nor particularly cheap. And homemade ones take a lot of effort, even if you have a fancy mandolin to slice ‘em them tantalizingly thin.

Homemade popcorn, on the other hand, is cheap. Compare a $3.50 bag of chips, or a $6 box of microwavable, chemical-laden corn to a simple $2-$3 bag of unadulterated, whole-grain popping corn! Plus, some places (Superstore) sell it in bulk, which is sometimes even cheaper. It shows up on Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating because it’s high in fibre and iron, low in calories and there’s no sodium or sugar at all…until you spice it up!

Here’s my take on stove-top popcorn.

Hot and Tasty Popcorn
Makes 2 perfectly generous servings

  • Generous 1/3 cup popcorn kernels
  • 3 tbsp canola or other vegetable oil
  • 1-2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • ¼ - ½ tsp lemon pepper seasoning
  • ¼ - ½ tsp paprika, or cayenne if you like it hot

  1. Set a 2-quart (1.89 L) lidded pot on stove. Add oil and turn heat to med-high. Immediately add popcorn and shake to distribute the kernels across the bottom of pan. Cover lid and gently shake back and forth to roll the kernels in the oil. Don’t lift the lid of the pot as you will let the heat out which could result in your popcorn burning before it can pop, or never getting hot enough to pop. Don't let the pan or oil heat up before adding the popcorn, or you will just burn stuff. I've been there. Repeatedly.
  2. Stop shaking the pot for a couple of minutes, until the popping starts. Then, continue to gently shake the pot, with your hand on the lid if necessary. If you were a bit generous with the popcorn, or if you used a smaller pot, then you may need to dump some of the popcorn into the serving bowl so it doesn’t topple all over the stove.
  3. Dump about half of the popped popcorn into your large bowl. Sprinkle half of the nutritional yeast on top, and repeat with the lemon pepper and paprika or cayenne. Shake your bowl or use a spoon to distribute the seasonings further. Pour the rest of the popped popcorn to fill bowl, and repeat the seasoning process.

Of course, you can skip the nooch if you don’t have any, and just use whatever seasonings you’ve got. Other options from the spice cabinet include: curry powder, mustard powder, dill weed, pepper, sea salt, Tabasco sauce (makes it a bit soggy though).


  1. Nooch? Last time I used nooch it was a dark and cold night. Really am I alone in not knowing nooch? Anyway, you can also try parma cheese and garlic; yumm. Butter and cinnimon-sugar is good too. I also heard ,in college, if you just diet on popcorn and kool-aid you will loose weight, but your arms and legs become very, very tiny. ~Mama

  2. YUM. I miss stovetop popcorn SO much. I make mine with rosemary and black pepper. Delish.