Popcorn Reviews & Recipes Feed

Introducing a new Bachelor on the Cheap category: Popcorn Reviews & Recipes

PopcornThere's a new category now on Bachelor on the Cheap that is dedicated to Popcorn! 
 
Not only will you find reviews of packaged popcorn, but you'll find recipes to try in making your own gourmet popcorn too!
 
No more hunting through the food & drink section!
 
Popcorn is so special, it deserves its own category! 
 

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Making your own gourmet popcorn

By Mike Thayer

Making your own gourmet popcorn
Use your imagination to create flavor

I love popcorn, I typically pop my own, but I appreciate bagged varieties as well.  And while those bagged options provide a variety of flavors to choose from, I can create those same flavors and a lot more in my kitchen.

Taking advantage of my pantry and fridge, I can create just about any flavor you see on the grocery store shelves.  My go-to however and it's easy-peasy, is to use leftover sauce packets from carry-out and delivery meals.  There's all kinds of flavor options available at the ready, all you have to do is add a packet or two and a pinch of salt to the butter when you're melting it while that popcorn is popping!

The sauce packet options are almost endless and the beauty, it's a perfect measurement.  There's duck sauce from a Chinese restaurant (Awesome!), Arby's Sauce, mustard packets (combined with a packet of honey - Delicious!), sweet and sour sauce, BBQ sauce from Papa John's (BBQ popcorn is excellent).  The melted butter sauce created tossed with the popcorn kicks that popcorn up to gourmet status!   Just about any kind of sauce packet will do, Burger King, KFC, Arby's, Taco Bell, Papa John's, Chinese Take-Out, you name it!

From the fridge, whatever kind of hot sauce you have on hand is a good add to the melting butter.  Frank's Red Hot, Tapatio', Sriracha (Sriracha and Parmesan cheese is a GREAT combo, but sprinkle on the Parm AFTER you sauce the popcorn).  You can go with your favorite bottle BBQ sauce if you don't have a convenient sauce packet.  And if you like dill pickle flavored chips, you'll LOVE dill pickle flavored popcorn, just put a little splash of the pickle juice in the melting butter.  You can do the same thing with some vinegar from the pantry if you're into salt & vinegar chips.  Got some leftover bacon?  Chop it up and add it to the melting butter to warm it through (I've been known to have this for dinner...).

From your seasoning cabinet, use your imagination.  You've probably got onion powder, garlic powder (the onion/garlic combo is really nice), maybe some dried dill, or chili powder on hand.  Combined with that melted butter, any one of those is another dose of YUM!  If you decide to use a seasoning mix like Montreal Steak Seasoning, great, but hold off on the pinch of salt when melting the butter, you don't want to create a salt bomb.  Taco seasoning is another good one, but remember, don't add that pinch of salt.

And you're not limited to the powders, sauce packets from restaurants or bottled sauces you see pictured above to create flavor either.  And no, I'm not talking about the popcorn seasonings you can get at the grocery store.  Go fresh!  Dice up a jalapeno and throw that in the butter when you're melting it.  Bell peppers are a nice add too.  Go herbal and chop up some fresh parsley, dill, thyme and/or rosemary.  Chopped green onion or chives work too, super when tossed with some Parmesan cheese. 

Play with it, mix and match the flavors, find new combinations, have fun making popcorn!

BONUS:  Popping your own corn is SO inexpensive, talk about a cheap snack!  A bag of popcorn at the grocery store will typically cost you $3 and up.  Those bagged varieties are good, but you can purchase a bag of unpopped popcorn for about $3 and make a boatload, flavor it how you want to and it's freshly popped and hot to boot! 

Coming soon:  Dessert popcorn options!

Related: Bachelor on the Cheap - Product Review: The Salbree Popper

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Food Review: Skinny Pop Popcorn

Skinny Pop Popcorn
Popcorn is a great alternative to chips

By Mike Thayer

I've been on a bit of a popcorn kick lately, making an effort to snack a little healthier and reduce my carb intake.

Popcorn is an excellent way to do that.  The list of ingredients for a quality bag of popped corn for example is:  Popcorn, Sunflower Oil, Salt, vs. what you see on the label for my favorite chip, Nacho Cheese Doritos:  CORN, VEGETABLE OIL (SUNFLOWER, CANOLA, AND/OR CORN OIL), MALTODEXTRIN (MADE FROM CORN), SALT, WHEY, CHEDDAR CHEESE (MILK, CHEESE CULTURES, SALT, ENZYMES), BUTTERMILK, MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE, ROMANO CHEESE (COW'S MILK, CHEESE CULTURES, SALT, ENZYMES), ONION POWDER, CORN FLOUR, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS, DEXTROSE, TOMATO POWDER, WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, SPICES, LACTOSE, ARTIFICIAL COLOR (YELLOW 6, YELLOW 5, RED 40), POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, LACTIC ACID, SODIUM CASEINATE, CITRIC ACID, SUGAR, GARLIC POWDER, RED AND GREEN BELL PEPPER POWDER, SKIM MILK, DISODIUM INOSINATE, AND DISODIUM GUANYLATE.

That pretty much makes the case of a more natural food, vs. a very processed food.  And another thing that makes popcorn a healthier choice is that carb count.  I can eat about 3 cups of popped corn, that's a total of 15 carbs vs. eating about 12 chips and about 18 carbs.

Eating popcorn rather than chips is a no brainer!

So today I'm snacking on Skinny Pop Popcorn.  No flavored variety, I got the original, just a bag of regular popcorn that's been lightly salted and it's delicious!  The kernels are puffy plump, the amount of salt is perfect and I haven't poured an Old Maid into a bowl yet. That's what sets Skinny Pop apart from the lessor brands like Brim's.  Skinny Pop gives you puffy kernels and very minimal if any old maids in every bowl.  A brand like Brim's, not so much...

Costing me $2.89 for a 4.4 ounce bag, I'm giving Skinny Pop Popcorn (Original) 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It's a Bachelor on the Cheap wallet friendly snack ($2.89 vs. about $5 for a bag of Doritos) and it's a healthier snack.  This company delivers big kernels, good popcorn crunch, popcorn that's perfectly seasoned. It's most definitely worthy of a repeat buy!  I look forward to trying their flavored varieties.

5 stars

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Food Review: Angie's Boom Chicka Pop White Cheddar Popcorn

Angie's Boom Chicka Pop White Cheddar Popcorn
This is a good bagged popcorn

By Mike Thayer

Popcorn, it's great for movie nights, an after school snack, a chip alternative, a road trip food.  You can cook it on the stove top, microwave it, pop it over a campfire or buy it pre-popped and bagged.

The latter is what I did for this sampling, I picked up a bag of Angie's Boom Chicka Pop White Cheddar Popcorn.

I usually pop my own corn using a Salbree Popper.  Done in the microwave, there's no oil involved, just dump some kernels in the Salbree Popper bowl, microwave on high and about 4 minutes later you've got a big bowl of popcorn at the ready for whatever flavors you want to add to it.

But there are those occasions where bagged corn comes in handy.  It's conveniently grab and go, especially for road trips and the flavor options are almost endless.

Boom Chicka Pop
Big, puffy kernels

You have to be choosy with bagged corn though, some of what's available on store shelves it is rather "eh", short on flavor and rife with a lot of Old Maids at the bottom of the bag.  Some of that stuff tastes like styrofoam.  Not so with Boom Chicka Pop!  The flavor on this corn is excellent and not artificial.  The kernels puff out nice and big and the white cheddar flavor is pleasantly sharp, it's a great bite.  The brand sticks to real ingredients all of which you can pronounce.  The bag of corn is fresh and the Old Maid factor is almost non-existent.  Of the bagged popcorn I've sampled, this one is top notch.

Boom Chicka Pop
Bottom of the bag, minimal Old Maid factor

Costing me $2.89 for a 4.5 ounce bag (popcorn is light, that translates to 4.5 servings at 2-1/2 cups each), I'm giving Angie's Boom Chicka Pop White Cheddar Popcorn 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It's reasonably priced, has great popcorn crunch and flavor, it's most definitely worthy of a repeat buy!

5 stars

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Jalapeno butter flavored popcorn

By Mike Thayer

Salbree popcorn popperI am a popcorn fan!  Not only can it be served at a variety of occasions, football tailgate, house party, at the house snacking, an alternative to chips, or enjoying at the movies, popcorn embraces a variety of flavors!

Lately, I've really been into jalapeno flavored hot sauces and incorporating that flavor into a gourmet popcorn is SO easy to do!

If you're sitting down to watch your favorite sporting event, planning a party or just need a change of pace popcorn snack, here's an easy peasy to prepare popcorn recipe for you to try.

20220712_144054
Ordinary looking buttered popcorn, but with a Jalapeno hot sauce kick!

Ingredients:

  • One cup of un-popped popcorn (I like to use the Salbree popper, it's made for the microwave and does a fantastic job!)
  • Two tabs of unsalted butter
  • A couple dashes of Jalapeno flavored Hot Sauce
  • A pinch of Kosher salt
  • A couple shakes of garlic powder
  • A couple shakes of onion powder
  • Generous shake of Parmesan cheese (Parm pairs really well with the butter and jalapeno)

Directions:

While the popcorn is popping, melt the butter, adding the salt and hot sauce.  Stir continuously until incorporated.  Once the butter gets to melting and is covering the bottom of the pan, add the garlic and onion powder.  Pour popped popcorn into a large bowl and top immediately with the melted butter mixture and Parmesan cheese, stir or shake the bowl to incorporate. 

Enjoy for the game, enjoy for movie night, enjoy for whatever!  This recipe kicks popcorn up a notch!

Related: Kicking popcorn up another notch - Duck Sauce Popcorn - Bachelor on the Cheap

Related: Arby's Bronco Berry Sauce & Popcorn - Bachelor on the Cheap

Related: Craving chips but counting carbs? Eat some popcorn.

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Craving chips but counting carbs? Eat some popcorn.

By Mike Thayer

Salbree Microwave Popcorn PopperOK, so you're counting carbs and you've got a craving for chips, that crunch, but you're tired of pork rinds......  What do you do?

Eat some popcorn.

When I first started counting carbs again, I had almost forgotten how relatively low carb it really is.  At only about 5 grams of carbs per cup, it's WAY better than any kind of chip and very do-able for the diet if you've behaved all day.   Bonus:  Popping your own corn is WAY cheaper than buying bags of chips!

The classic of course is buttered popcorn and a little salt.  That's good, but try this:

Mike's 'Hot Parm Popcorn'

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup popcorn
  • 3 Tablespoons of butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Parmesan cheese
  • Several dashes of Louisiana Hot Sauce
  • Kosher salt to taste

Directions:

Pop some corn using a microwave popper per instructions.  While that's popping, heat up the butter in a small skillet, along with the Louisiana Hot Sauce and salt.  Pour all that popped popcorn goodness into a large bowl and toss with half the butter, and half the Parmesan cheese.  Repeat for good coverage.  That Parm and hot sauce takes that popcorn up to a whole nuther level!  It's a nuther does of YUM!   It will be tough to eat just one cup of that corn......  

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Food Review: Popcorn Indiana - Black & White Fudge Drizzle

Popcorn, Indiana
It's another dose of YUM!

By Mike Thayer

I love popcorn!

Knowing this, a friend of mine brought me over a few bags of Popcorn Indiana to try.

I've never had this brand of popcorn before and I have to be honest here, I don't usually buy bagged popcorn, there are a lot of them out there that just aren't all that good.  Buying bagged corn has been hit and miss for me, with some coming out flat in the flavor department or chewing a bit less than fresh and who wants to eat what equates to Styrofoam for a snack?  Then there's the old maid issue at the bottom of the bag.  Some can't be helped, it's popcorn, but the amount of old maids and popped kernels that have been reduced to itty bitty kernel crumbs should be minimal with a quality corn.

Enter Popcorn Indiana - Black & White Fudge Drizzle

Popcorn is a great alternative to a chip snack and here's one that's both savory and sweet with salty kettle corn topped with a double drizzle of chocolatey goodness.  This stuff rocks, I became a fan after the first bite! 

Popcorn, Indiana
This stuff is addicting

Next time I see this in the store, I'm not going to hesitate to pick up a bag.  Available for about $3 for a six ounce bag, I'm giving Popcorn Indiana Black & White Fudge Drizzle 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It's most definitely a repeat buy!  And old maids?  What old maids?  I got whole popped kernels dressed so nicely in chocolate throughout the bag. 

5 stars

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Food Review: Cookie Pop Popcorn made with real Oreo cookie pieces

By Mike Thayer

Oreo Cookie Popcorn
1 oz. trial size pictured

Oreo cookie popcorn, what a great idea!

If you're in the mood for a sweet and savory snack, this one nails it!

Combining popcorn and Oreo cookies, what's not to like, right?  The popcorn is drizzled with vanilla and covered with ground up Oreo cookie for a VERY delicious sweet and savory treat!

Available in a variety pack at Sam's Club for $10.48, you get an 18 bag (10 oz. bags) assortment of Oreo, Chips Ahoy and Nutter Butter!  I'm looking forward to trying the other flavors. 

Cookie Pop Popcorn - Oreo
A great sweet & savory snack!

Very tasty, this is a Bachelor on the Cheap wallet friendly snack at about 58 cents a bag and I'm giving Cookie Pop Popcorn made with real Oreo cookie pieces 5 out of 5 stars!

5 stars

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This bacon and Parmesan popcorn is football ready

By Mike Thayer

Salbree popcorn popperTailgate food, football party at the house snacking, or party for two, boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife because of frick'n COVID and hesitate to invite anybody over for eats & football fun.....  This COVID thing SUCKS!  'jus say'n....

Gourmet popcorn fits the bill!

If you're sitting down to watch your favorite team, or ANY football game for that matter (yours truly, it doesn't matter who is on the tube, I'm probably watching it!), here's an easy peasy to prepare popcorn recipe for you to try.

Bacon and Parmesan Popcorn
Popcorn, bacon, Parmesan, what's NOT to like!

Ingredients:

  • One cup of un-popped popcorn (I like to use the Salbree popper, it's made for the microwave and does a fantastic job!)
  • Two tabs of unsalted butter
  • A couple dashes of Louisiana Hot Sauce or Sriracha
  • 1/4 cup leftover crumbled bacon
  • A pinch of Kosher salt
  • Generous shake of Parmesan cheese

Directions:

While the popcorn is popping, melt the butter, adding the salt and hot sauce.  Stir continuously until incorporated, add the bacon bits to warm through.  Pour popped popcorn into a large bowl and top immediately with the melted butter mixture and Parmesan cheese, stir or shake the bowl to incorporate. 

Enjoy for the game, enjoy for movie night, enjoy for whatever!  This recipe kicks popcorn up a notch!

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Kicking popcorn up another notch - Duck Sauce Popcorn

By Mike Thayer

20190210_190755-1Why is popcorn one of my favorite snack foods? 1. It tastes great, 2. It's WAY cheaper than a bag of chips, 3. You can add just about any flavor to it by popping your own, turning it into a gourmet treat!

Don't buy those pre-packed popcorn seasonings, create your own flavor with whatever you have on hand.  Today, I'm using some "Duck Sauce" packets I have leftover from enjoying some Chinese take out the other night.

20190411_140943-1Try this the next time you pop some corn.... When melting butter while that popcorn pops, add two packets of "Duck Sauce" to the butter.  Add a pinch of salt, stir to incorporate.  After mixing the melted butter with the popcorn in a big serving bowl, give that bowl a healthy shake of Parmesan cheese!  It's another dose of YUM!  Yessssir.....  popcorn, tasty, tasty, tasty!

Take advantage of all those leftover flavor packets from restaurants, be it mustard, honey, honey mustard, bbq sauce, sriracha, you name it!  Combine it with butter and you've got some rockin' flavors for seasoning popcorn! 

Product Review: The Salbree Popper

Related:

"Sweet Heat" popcorn

"Honey Butter" popcorn

BBQ popcorn

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Kicking popcorn up another notch - "Sweet Heat" Popcorn

By Mike Thayer

Why is popcorn one of my favorite snack foods?  1.  It tastes great,  2.  It's WAY cheaper than a bag of chips,  3.  You can add just about any flavor to it by popping your own, turning it into a gourmet treat!

20181101_163628Try this the next time you make popcorn.... When melting butter, add one of those honey packets you've got stashed in your 'fridge, like from Chick-fil-A or KFC.... along with a pinch of Kosher salt, then add in a generous splash of Louisiana Hot Sauce!  It's sweet heat baby and another dose of YUM!  Yessssir.....  'Sweet Heat' popcorn, tasty, tasty, tasty!

And if you're looking for a GREAT popcorn popper, check this out: 

Product Review: The Salbree Popper

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