Years ago I could always tell when my kids had been hitting the Cheese Popcorn. First of all I didn’t buy it often. When I did I was like the ultimate control freak and would dole it out in small, plastic bowls in an attempt to make it last. You could have a bowl or two and you had to promise, swear to me, sign on the dotted line in blood (nearly) that you would never, never, never as in not even once, lick your fingers. Yuk! So if I came in from the garden, or in from hanging laundry on the line, or something else nearly as liberating back then I would notice the forced smile and lack of eye contact from my children. Both were done simultaneously which in itself was an acquired art. I swear my kids secretly coached each other on the fine details of this task. My kids didn’t immediately pick up on their tell-tale orange fingertips, or the tiniest orange smudges around their little rosy lips that stood out to me like a newly charged neon sign proclaiming, ‘I snuck cheese popcorn while you weren’t looking’. If I questioned the small amount I just ‘happened’ to notice was missing, they would roll their eyes toward their Dad. It was quite sophisticated how they could non-verbally blame their Dad without ever actually blaming him. I had to secretly applaud how clever they were to never take more than just a bit out of the bag. These kids had ‘leave no trace’ down before they ever even heard of it! Anyway, I knew popcorn was a good snack, but I think it was the fake orange, non-washable, color, all the trans fats and the artificial flavorings, etc.that just made me hate that large, cylinder-shaped bag of cheese popcorn. I mean seriously, who wants their babies to glow in the dark anyway? Yet I kept buying it from time to time. Cheese Popcorn held a special power. “You can have a bowl if you get your PJ’s on quickly. You can have some Cheese Popcorn if you color quietly for ten minutes. You can have some Cheese Popcorn if you eat all of your cauliflower.” You get the idea. So now that I have grown up, as well as my kids, I better value the healthy choice popcorn can be as a snack. Not drenched in a butter/oil coating, or covered with so much salt it is gritty; but clean, healthy popcorn. Yes it is okay to embellish it once in a bit. But when you do, do it smart. Try my Cheesy Popcorn. It will not turn your fingers orange, it will not tattoo a little orange blush around your lips, and I promise it won’t make you’re ‘babies’ glow in the dark.
Pop 1/3 cup dry popcorn kernels to yield about 8 cups of popped corn.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a jelly roll pan that has an edge with parchment paper.
Place popped corn on the lined baking sheet.
Place the baking sheet with the popcorn in the oven for 5 minutes.
Remove pan and sprinkle popcorn with 1 1/2 cups finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Do not stir. Turn off oven and return pan to the oven for 2 minutes.
Sprinkle popcorn and cheese mixture with remaining cheese and the 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
Stir and enjoy!
8 cups popped corn
2 cups finely shredded sharp cheddar* cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon black pepper**
*You can mix up the cheeses to use your favorite type. A bit of pepper-jack is good.
**Add your favorite spice blends one seasoning salt when you sprinkle on the black pepper to put your own flavor signature on this tasty snack!