Invite your friends and neighbors over, spread out some comfy seating and dim the lights. Whether it’s a kids’ birthday party, an adult gathering or nearly anything in-between, hosting a movie night in the comfort of your own home — or on a projector in the yard — can be the perfect escape. Of course, tasty snacks only add to the fun.
Light and airy popcorn is a movie watching staple, and one you can feel good about eating. At only 30 calories per cup, whole-grain, freshly popped popcorn is naturally low in fat and calories, non-GMO, gluten-free, contains no artificial additives or preservatives and is sugar-free.
Enjoyed a handful at a time or as part of creative, flavorful snack recipes — like Popcorn Pepperoni Pizza Dippers, Sweet and Salty Popcorn Party Mix and Maple Bacon Popcorn Mix — popcorn offers plenty of versatility to fit nearly any theme.
Sweet and Salty Popcorn Party Mix
Yield: 14 cups
10 cups popped popcorn
2 cups miniature pretzel twists
1 cup pecans
1 cup peanuts
2 cups rice, wheat or corn cereal squares
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Heat oven to 300 F.
In large bowl, combine popcorn, pretzels, pecans, peanuts and cereal squares; set aside.
In medium saucepan over medium heat, heat butter, brown sugar and corn syrup. Stir mixture until it begins to boil. Boil 3 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. Note: Mixture will foam.
Pour syrup over popcorn mixture and stir until evenly coated. Pour mixture onto large, rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan. Bake 30 minutes, stirring twice during baking. Stir mixture several times as it cools. Store in airtight container.
Popcorn Pepperoni Pizza Dippers
Yield: 16 squares
Nonstick cooking spray
1/2 cup tomato and basil reduced-fat cooking cream
1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
10 cups popped popcorn
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup thinly sliced pepperoni, coarsely chopped marinara sauce, for dipping
Heat oven to 350 F. Spray 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In large bowl, whisk eggs, cooking cream, parmesan cheese and black pepper. Stir in popcorn, mozzarella cheese and pepperoni.
Spread mixture in prepared pan, patting down with spatula or spoon.
Bake about 15 minutes until set and lightly browned. Let sit 5 minutes. Cut into 16 bars. Serve warm with marinara sauce.
Maple Bacon Popcorn Mix
Yield: 2 quarts
6 slices thick-cut bacon
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
8 cups popped popcorn
2/3 cup pecan halves, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon maple extract
Heat oven to 400 F. Line jellyroll pan with foil. Place wire rack in pan. Arrange bacon in single layer on rack. Bake 15 minutes until ends of bacon start to curl.
Remove and reserve 2 tablespoons bacon drippings. Brush bacon with 2 tablespoons maple syrup; bake 15 minutes until browned. Cool then coarsely chop bacon.
In large bowl, combine popcorn, pecans and cranberries.
Combine butter, black pepper, maple extract, remaining maple syrup and reserved bacon drippings. Cook over low heat until butter is melted. Drizzle over popcorn mixture and mix thoroughly.
Spread popcorn mixture in jellyroll or roasting pan.
Bake 5 minutes. Toss in bacon pieces. Serve warm.
Find more recipes perfect for serving at your next movie night at popcorn.org. (Family Features)