Homemade microwave popcorn (and a little basketball)

March Madness is one of my favorite times of year–and I’ve been looking forward to this college basketball season in particular, because I feel so connected to my family and friends in the States. We’re all watching the same games, all (mostly) rooting for the same teams and celebrating or commiserating together–though we’re thousands of miles apart.

Super Bowl, whatever. Stanley Cup, yawn. This is my sports season.

My favorite team. Hint, hint.

My favorite team. Hint, hint.

I also love March Madness because it feels like I’m allowed to sit in front of the television and eat a lot of popcorn.

Growing up, my family didn’t have a microwave until I was practically in college, so I didn’t know the wonders of microwave popcorn. My dad made homemade popcorn in our biggest stock pot with olive oil, sea salt and kernels. (Recipe here). It is still my favorite way to eat popcorn, but when I moved to Switzerland…I couldn’t find a stock pot big enough to replicate the recipe, so we fell back on the microwave version.

No offense to Orville Redenbacher, but have you ever read the ingredients in microwave popcorn? Suffice to say, it is a little disconcerting for a product that should be “kernels, salt, butter.” Even the “natural” flavor includes a litany of unpronounceable chemicals. I’d all but given up, until I came across this recipe for homemade microwave popcorn. Inexpensive, healthy and virtually no clean-up. Genius! 

popcornHomemade Microwave Popcorn

  • 1/2 cup of plain popcorn kernels
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil (my favorite EVOO)
  • Sprinkle of sea salt
  • Paper lunch sack

In a small bowl, toss together the kernels, olive oil and salt. Pour the kernels into the brown paper bag. Fold the top of the bag closed at least three times. (You may have an urge to staple the bag–fight that urge.) Put the bag into the microwave for 2-3 minutes. Like store-bought microwave popcorn, listen until the kernels have stopped popping every few seconds before turning the microwave off. Voila!

Kettle corn? Add a teaspoon of sugar into the mix. Spicy popcorn? Add Old Bay Seasoning (my husband’s favorite). Plain and healthy? Don’t add anything to the bag, just the kernels. This video explains how it all works.

My excitement is not equal to the size of our "TV"...but it'll do.

My excitement is not equal to the size of our expat “TV”…but it’ll do.

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