When it comes to me and eating healthy, whether I’m just trying to behave myself or if I’m trying to lose weight, I’m great when it comes to mealtimes, but snacks are killer. You can take away my pizza and my sandwiches and my cold cereal, you can even take away my bread and, as much as it hurts, my pasta, but don’t take away my snacks or there’s going to be some Friday Night Lights binge-watching paired with ugly crying and some online retail therapy (goodbye, snack time; hello, Coach Taylor, all my feelings, and exorbitant furry-toed Ugg slippers).
One of the things I love about Food Network magazine (which is currently kind of my favorite food magazine; strangely, I don’t watch tons of Food Network programming, but in the last 2 years or so, the magazine has been top-notch in just about every way–totally my un-paid, un-affiliated opinion) is the little pull-out interior magazine that has 50 easy variations of different recipes in every issue–tacos, pasta, sandwiches, and in this month’s issue it was popcorn. Which goes right along with my desperate and undying love for snacks.
So many of them looked amazing, but the one that really jumped out to me was the Rosemary Parmesan popcorn. The rosemary/parmesan flavor combo is one of my all-time favorites (for instance), but for me, it has to include freshly ground black pepper and a little (or a lot) of garlic. I also decreased the amount of oil by a tablespoon because my first go-around was a little on the heavy side, and I also left the option of cutting down on the rosemary depending on how much you love rosemary and how strong your particular sprigs of rosemary are.
You’re going to need 16 cups of popped popcorn (either air-popped or a couple bags of microwave popcorn; if you use microwave, try to find plain or just salted popcorn), 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (I used our garlic olive oil and it was pretty fantastic), chopped fresh rosemary, minced garlic (optional), grated parmesan (freshly grated or canned, but don’t use the pre-shredded stuff in a bag from the grocery store because it won’t melt or stick to your popcorn), and freshly ground black pepper. You also might want to add some salt to taste, but be careful if you’re using salted popcorn.
Let’s talk for a second about rosemary.
It’s up there with my favorite herbs (maybe just second to cilantro)–I love it for cooking, I love how it smells, I love it in bread, I love it on potatoes, I love it in butter, I love that it doesn’t die when I grow it no matter how bad I am at taking care of it. Rosemary and I are there for each other.
There are a few things to keep in mind with rosemary. 1) It’s on a woody stem, so strip the needles off the stem before chopping it. 2) It’s hard to chop, kind of like pine needles. Don’t give up with the chopping, lest you wind up with a lot more than you were really interested in in your mouth. 3) Some rosemary is stronger than other rosemary, particularly if it’s a little older (it lasts forever and grows in extreme weather conditions), so use your other senses–if it’s tough and very strong-smelling, cut back a little and then you can throw some more in later if you want to. Better to have to have to add it than figure out how to take it away, right?
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, minced garlic, and chopped rosemary.
Pop the popcorn and place in a very large bowl.
Grate the parmesan
and evenly sprinkle the hot popcorn with the grated parmesan and toss to combine, then drizzle the rosemary olive oil over the popcorn. Season generously to taste with fresh coarsely ground black pepper and, if desired, add some additional salt. This actually tastes better when it’s been sitting for a few minutes, so let it hang out for 5-10 minutes before serving (or eat it right away, no biggie). Makes 4 4-cup servings (which is pretty generous for a snack if you’re trying to lose weight–a 2-3 cup serving is probably a little more in line with most diet plans).
Rosemary, Black Pepper, & Parmesan Popcorn
Recipe adapted from Food Network Magazine, February 2014
16 cups popped popcorn (either air/oil pop it or use about 2 bags of plain or salted microwave popcorn)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (or garlic flavored olive oil)
2-3 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 clove minced garlic (optional)
1/2 cup grated parmesan (freshly grated or canned, but don’t use pre-shredded)
Additional salt to taste (be careful if you’re using salted popcorn)
Fresh coarsely ground black pepper
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, minced garlic, and chopped rosemary. Pop the popcorn and place in a very large bowl. Evenly sprinkle the hot popcorn with the grated parmesan and toss to combine, then drizzle the rosemary olive oil over the popcorn. Season generously to taste with fresh coarsely ground black pepper and, if desired, add some additional salt. This actually tastes better when it’s been sitting for a few minutes, so let it hang out for 5-10 minutes before serving (or eat it right away, no biggie). Makes 4 4-cup servings.
Nutritional information (calculated using air-popped popcorn and 2 tablespoons oil):
WW Points: 6
South Beach Phases 2 & 3