Holiday Popcorn

Posted at: 11/27/2012 10:46 AM

Popcorn is a whole grain and perfect for parties.  Low in calories but high in fiber, it makes the perfect snack.   Let Jen, your Hy-Vee Registered Dietitian, enlighten you on the many ways with popcorn.

A Poppin’ Good Snack
  • Did you know that a full serving is three cups of popped corn?  This provides an excellent source of fill-you-up fiber and not fill-you-out calories.  At 30 to 120 calories per cup, you will find out the difference in the way it’s popped.
  • So many ways to pop!  Jen will share a few recipes (Snickerdoodle, Gingersnap and Cranberry-Orange) made with popcorn that your family and friends will love.  Even a Popcorn Party Pizza – you won’t believe how easy it is to create a festive treat the whole family will enjoy.
  • Why not set up a popcorn bar?  Jen will share quick and easy ways to make this a favorite holiday food station.

Cranberry-Orange Caramel Corn        
Serves: 20 (about ½ cup each)

10 cups popped popcorn
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup whole almonds
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate, undiluted
1 teaspoon orange or vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

All you do:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Place popcorn, cranberries and almonds in a large bowl; set aside. In a medium saucepan heat butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and orange juice concentrate over medium heat until butter is melted. Bring to a boil and boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in extract and baking soda (mixture will foam).
Pour syrup mixture over popcorn mixture in bowl; stir to coat well. Spread evenly in a large, rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan, lined with foil and sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake 30 minutes, stirring twice during baking time. Stir caramel corn as it cools on baking sheet. Store in an airtight container.

Snickerdoodle Snack Mix

12 cups popped JOLLY TIME® Crispy 'n White Microwave Pop Corn
1-1/2 tablespoons cinnamon-sugar
2 cups mini teddy bear-shaped graham snacks
1/2 cup cinnamon chips

Here's How:
Pop popcorn according to package directions. Carefully open bag and pour into a large bowl. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar; toss to coat. Gently stir in graham snacks. Let cool. Gently stir in cinnamon chips. Transfer mixture to individual food-safe cellophane bags; tie closed.

Popcorn Party Pizza
Yield: 8 slices

All you need:
3 tablespoons butter
1 (10.5 oz) bag mini marshmallows
2 quarts (8 cups) popped popcorn
1 package red strawberry fruit strip
Various candy decorations: green jelly beans, coconut, candy-coated chocolate pieces

All you do:
1.    Spray a 12-inch pizza pan with cooking spray; set aside.  Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in marshmallows until marshmallows are melted.  Stir in popcorn until well-coated.
2.    Spread mixture evenly onto prepared pizza pan.  Cut small circles (1.5-inch diameter) from fruit strip and place on pizza for “pepperoni” slices.  Decorate as desired with various candies.  Allow to cool completely before cutting into wedges to serve.

Nutrition Facts per Serving: 190 calories, 5 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 40 mg sodium, 38 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 2 g protein.

Gingersnap Popcorn Snack Mix     Serves 8 (1/2 cup each)
All you need:
2 quarts popped popcorn (2 oz. un-popped kernels)
Butter-flavored cooking spray
1/3 cup granulated sugar substitute
2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black or white pepper
All you do:
Preheat oven to 325° F. Spread popcorn on baking sheet and spray lightly with the cooking spray. Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over popcorn. Spray again with cooking spray and toss to coat evenly.
Bake 7 minutes and serve warm.

Nutrition per serving: 35 calories, 0 fat, 0 saturated fat, 0 trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 sodium, 8 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 1 g protein.

Maple Pumpkin Spice Popcorn        Serves: 4 (1 ¼ cup each)

All you need:
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin spice mix
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional
5 cups popped popcorn

All you do:
In a large saucepan or pot, heat brown sugar, maple syrup and pumpkin pie spice mix over medium heat.  Cook, stirring, 3 minutes or until sugar is dissolved and mixture is bubbling.  Stir in butter until melted and well blended.  Add pecans, if desired, and popcorn and stir until well coated. Allow mixture to cool before serving.  Serve immediately or store.
Nutrition per serving: 120 calories, 3.5 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 0 trans fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 0 sodium, 22 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 13 g sugar, 1 g protein.

Popcorn Bar
Popcorn (for a crowd, a galvanized tub of popcorn) with scoop
Paper lunch bags (write the mixture right on the bag)
Non-stick cooking spray
Herbs & spices:  
Sweet:  Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice or pumpkin pie spice, coconut sugar, Truvia, ginger
Savory:  Pizza or Italian seasoning, rosemary, powdered ranch packets, powdered reduced-sodium taco seasoning
Spicy:  Chili powder, black pepper grinder, Oriental five spice, cayenne pepper
You could also do add-ins like dried fruit, dark chocolate chips, nuts and seeds, chia, toasted flax.


Jen Haugen represents Hy-Vee as a nutrition expert working throughout the community to promote healthy eating and nutrition. Jen is a Registered Dietitian and member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.