Zap popcorn in the microwave for healthy snacking anytime

Just about everyone loves popcorn, right? Whether outdoors at a ballgame, at the zoo or at a neighborhood park concert, it’s portable and easy to take wherever you go. When you settle into a theater seat, popcorn and a movie naturally go better together.

When I crave a midafternoon snack, a bowl of popcorn is a favorite. It’s low in calories and tastes great, so what’s not to like? And it’s a casual welcome treat for anyone who stops by — even the neighbor kids! They happily grab a handful after school and continue with their active play with a “Thanks Donna!” between munches.

When we host a last-minute barbeque supper get-together at our house and I’m focused on getting food on the table, I don’t fret appetizers. Along with simple crowd-pleasing cheese, crackers, nuts and fruit on a board, I’ll set a giant bowl of popcorn to the side. Gone in minutes.

When my three kids were young, I popped it using the traditional method: on the stove in a big pot with kernels swimming in a glob of oil. It worked, but there was always a greasy stove, pan and lid to clean up. Nowadays, I don’t have an air popper, nor do I buy the store-bought butter-laden microwave bags with too much salt for my taste.

Instead, my new strategy uses the microwave, but I pop good-quality popcorn in a bowl instead of a bag. I can have 5 cups in just about five minutes. Yes, this homemade easy recipe is my go-to and the best! A dab of oil, quality kernels, no fuss.

It’s easy, healthy and perfect every time. Just add personal toppings when it’s done for more popcorn pizzazz.

EASY MICROWAVE POPCORN

Makes 5 cups

1/4 cup fresh popcorn kernels

1/2 teaspoon canola or vegetable oil

In a microwave-safe glass bowl that’s 6 cups or larger in size, kids can measure and stir the popcorn kernels with the oil.

Cover the bowl with a microwave-safe plate, and microwave on high for about 4-6 minutes (microwaves and popcorn vary), or until there are only three seconds between the pops.

An adult should carefully remove the bowl and top plate with oven mitts, as it will be VERY hot. Pour popcorn into a serving bowl, season to taste and enjoy!

¯¯¯

Donna Erickson’s award-winning series “Donna’s Day” is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit www.donnasday.com and link to the NEW Donna’s Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is “Donna Erickson’s Fabulous Funstuff for Families.”