WHAT’S POPPIN’ IN OUR RV KITCHEN?
It never fails, whenever hubby James and I meet people familiar with our website on the road, they ask us about our favorite RV recipes. It makes sense. Our website’s devoted to healthy RVing, so checking into our own personal eating is a natural curiosity. While we eat healthfully and smartly on the road, don’t think we’re hard-core nutrition extremists who’ll tell you to never look at sugar again. No sir (or ma’am), that’s not how we roll. Life and RVing should be awesome!
Luckily, when it comes to our favorite RV snacks, James and I don’t veer off the healthy bandwagon one bit. One of our most-favorite, never-leave-home-without-it snacks on the road is popcorn.
And rightly so! Did you know popcorn is chock-full of healthy nutrients? It is! It’s also whole-grain, ridiculously low-cal, and has almost as much fiber as bran flakes.
Since one of the great things about camping in an RV vs a tent is that WE HAVE APPLIANCES, popcorn’s perfectly doable for RVers. Just make sure to avoid the pre-packaged kind. Those store-bought microwave bags are loaded with goop of who-knows-what masquerading as butter. And besides, making your own homemade bag of popcorn is as simple as this:
Basic Homemade Microwave Popcorn Bags:
- Measure out ¼ cup of popcorn kernels in a brown paper bag.
- Fold the top lip of the bag over twice.
- Stand it up in the microwave, and nuke it up to 2 minutes (90 seconds works perfectly in my microwave).
That’s all it takes! Makes you wonder why you’ve ever bothered buying the store-bought ones, doesn’t it? Now, it isn’t a perfect system. Chances are, there’ll be a few unpopped kernels. I just live with them. Plus, plain popcorn is pretty…well, plain. You aren’t quite done once you’ve popped your bag.
As a homemade popcorn professional (not really), I’m pretty sure I’ve tried about 10 million different popcorn toppings added to these homemade popcorn bags. But, luckily I’ve narrowed that list down a bit. I’m going to share my three most amazing popcorn recipes with you. All 3 have that “wow factor”; you know, recipes that go beyond just okay and so-so. These definitely have it, I promise.
I’m starting with the most fun of all 3 recipes: waffle corn! When James tasted this for the first time, he exclaimed, “It tastes like waffles!” and quickly ate the whole bag. Hence, the name.
When I was choosing my 3 “wow factor” recipes for this article, I had the kids and grandkids come over to be taste-testers. Everybody snacked on a peanut butter option; it was just okay. And a chocolate option; that was liked well enough, too. But the mood in the room totally changed when they got to the waffle corn. My daughter-in-law exclaimed, “Oh. My. Gosh!!! You have GOT to choose this one!” And just like that, I knew waffle corn passed the “wow factor” test.
“Warning: Waffle corn incites running in grandchildren.”
Waffle corn, in all its scrumptious simplicity, is just awesome as it is. But, like waffles, you can go crazy and jazz it up to your heart’s content. Strawberry and toasted coconut, anyone?
Or how about bananas and pecans:
Waffle corn is great for campground gatherings. Set out a bunch of add-ins, and let everyone mix up their own bag of awesome. And even better, waffle corn can be eaten right from the bag. No dishes or clean-up for you!
- One prepared bag homemade microwave popcorn
- 1 tablespoon real maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
Microwave the oil and syrup about 20 seconds, so the coconut oil is almost (but not quite) liquefied. Remove from microwave and stir until the oil liquefies. Pour over popped popcorn right inside the brown bag. Shake it up thoroughly. If using optional add-ins, add immediately.
Super-Fun Optional Add-ins for Waffle Corn:
- 2 tablespoons chopped freeze-dried fruit
- 1-2 tablespoons pecans or walnuts
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut (toasted is amazing!)
- Anything you might try on a waffle…be adventurous!
BBQ Ranch Popcorn:
If you love the flavor of BBQ potato chips, then you’re going to be oh-so-happy when you try this recipe. It really does have that same taste as chips, only healthier and on popcorn! It’s a great way to satisfy a craving for chips and still stay on the healthy eating wagon.
On popcorn-taste-testing day, this recipe really surprised me. Even the grandkids (preschool-aged) wolfed this one down. I thought this would be more of an adult-pleaser-only recipe, but not so.
- One prepared bag homemade microwave popcorn
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 TBS powdered Ranch dressing or dip mix
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
In a small dish, mix the ranch, smoked paprika, brown sugar, and cayenne. Drizzle the oil over the popcorn right in the bag. Sprinkle the seasoning on the popcorn and thoroughly shake the bag.
Spicy Thai Popcorn
Don’t let the strange mix of ingredients in this recipe turn you off, because spicy Thai popcorn has the “wow factor” in spades, especially if you’re a Pad Thai fan.
Peanut butter, vinegar and soy sauce come together in almost a magical way, and once you taste it you’ll be completely entranced. You can make it spicy or not, depending on how much Sriracha sauce you use.
- One bag homemade microwave popcorn
- 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce (or tamari)
- 1 – 2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce
Optional (but delicious):
- Chopped fresh herbs: cilantro, basil, or green onions
Whisk the peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce, and Sriracha in a dish. Pour over popcorn in a large bowl and toss thoroughly. If adding herbs, add them last.
Note: Make sure to use real peanut butter. Besides being healthier and free of added sugars, the real stuff has a runnier consistency, which you’ll need to make this sauce.
By George, I think he’s got it!
So, there you go. Hope you’ll try these jazzed-up popcorn recipes on your own camping adventures!
Got other ideas? We’d love to hear them (and try them), please share!