Part 1: Revamping Leftover Cheddar Popcorn

It snowed here in the low country yesterday (something as rare as hens’ teeth), and with the snow I found myself diving into the pantry to come up with a few delicious meals. Like many people, I was given one of those delectable buckets of flavored popcorn for Christmas; you know the ones with cheddar, caramel, and sometime kettle corn. If you have never received one of these, I suggest you ask for one next Christmas and, if not, find one at your local corner store. The trifecta of popcorn is the perfect treat for sitting around a weekend fire, watching Netflix, and snacking. Personally, I like to mix the cheddar and caramel for a sweet & salty treat.

This year I did not quite make it through the entire bucket, even with the help of my husband. So when searching the pantry for a lunch that would warm my soul after playing in the snow for a few hours, I spotted my popcorn tin. Further in the back I located a few cans of tomato bisque, and in my fridge a bit of leftover pesto. Warm tomato soup with a crunchy topping would make for the perfect lunch. I am of the belief that tomato soup should always have a topping; it is a blank canvas for so many things: cheese, sourcream, crackers, goldfish, and apparently popcorn.

First, I placed the soup on the stove to warm. Then, I coated some popcorn in my leftover pesto and heated it to bring the stale popcorn alive. The aroma of garlic and herbs filled my tiny home, very reminiscent of garlic bread. The flavor of the warm pesto popcorn is deeply savory with a tiny bite of garlic. Because pesto is a wet mixture, it is important to heat the pesto popcorn at a low temperature, which dries the pesto out without over-crisping the popcorn.

After success with the pesto coating, I figured my husband would enjoy a topping with little bit of kick to top his bowl. A couple of spices from the spice cabinet with a bit of butter to coat the popcorn, and I was left with a crunchy little ball of firey cheese. The smoke ghost peppar salt that is included in the recipe below is something I had in my pantry, but you can find it online or at a local gourmet spice shop. If you are unable to locate it at all, any spicy seasoning will work, curry powder, harissa, etc.

Spiced Cheddar Popcorn

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 teaspoon of paprika (smoked or not)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of smoked ghost pepper salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon of melted butter
  • 1.5 cups of leftover cheddar popcorn

Directions:

Preheat oven to 250 degrees farienhiet, and line a sheet pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. In a medium Tupperware container, combine all of the spices. Next add in the popcorn, and pour over melted butter. Place a lid on the Tupperware and shake vigorously until all of the popcorn is evenly coated.

Spread into an even layer on your baking sheet, and bake for 10 minutes. Immediately top your heated soup and serve.

Pesto Cheddar Popcorn

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups of leftover cheddar popcorn
  • 2 teaspoons of pesto (you can make it yourself or use store bought)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 250 degrees farienhiet, and line a sheet pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. In a medium Tupperware container, combine the pesto and popcorn. Place a lid on the your Tupperware, and shake vigorously until the popcorn is evenly coated.

Spread into an even layer on your baking sheet, and bake for 10 minutes. If the popcorn is still soggy, place it back into the over for another 5 to 10 minutes. Immediately top your heated soup and serve.

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