A Healthy AND Frugal Snack – Guest Post

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on August 25, 2009

Joy from Frugal Menu Mamas shares about one of her favorite healthy snacks…and one of ours too!

Wednesday last week was a sad night for me….my popcorn popper died!  We used to go through a lot of microwave popcorn. My parents were getting rid of the “Stir Crazy” popcorn popper we had since I was a kid, so I took it. It just sat around for awhile…then I decided to try it. Did you know that NON-microwave popcorn is much cheaper? In fact, at our local grocery store, 1 box of microwave popcorn costs around $3.59 for store brand and up to $4.79 for the name brand. That was only for 6 bags! The package of popcorn kernels you do yourself cost $4.89 and it makes many more than 6 batches.

So, I made the frugal move to not buy any more microwave popcorn. It took awhile, but I perfected the unhealthy art of melting butter over it and adding salt. Ooh–it is so tasty that I want to make it almost every night after the kids are in bed. :) So, imagine my disappointment when the popcorn popper popped its last.

But wait….what it that on the back of the bag of popcorn? You can make it on the stove top?! Amazing! So, Hubby tried it. Can I just say “YUM!” and even more frugal?! We didn’t have to buy a new popper, we could use something we already have…just a pot! So, now we are being super frugal (and maybe even a little bit healthier) by not buying microwave popcorn OR a popcorn popper.

So, you want in on this amazing secret? Apparently, its not much of a secret. There are all kinds of articles on the internet and videos on YouTube about popping popcorn on the stovetop. Just search for it on YouTube.

Here are some articles about popping popcorn:

How to make Stove Top Popcorn

Make Your Own Microwave Popcorn

Can You Save $100 by Popping Your Own Popcorn?

And what about seasoning your own? I prefer just to melt some butter (I buy Smart Balance 50/50 blend) and sprinkle some salt. If you get adventurous, check out all these seasonings you could try!

Gourmet Popcorn Mixes

So, get to it! Pick a healthy, frugal alternative and munch away!

Joy is a stay-at-home wife and mom to two precious kids. She began FrugalMenuMamas.com in January when she realized how many of her friends did not know how to reduce their grocery bills. Joy says that blogging is fun, but she still has so much to learn. You are invited to check her out at www.frugalmenumamas.com!

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Tiffany August 25, 2009 at 9:51 am

Not only are you being frugal but MUCH more healthy! There are so many bad chemicals in microwave bags of popcorn. I too made the switch last year and it tastes so much more fresh on the stove! I’m going to check out some of those seasoning websites…thanks!

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Lisa Wozniak August 25, 2009 at 10:02 am

I just came in from a walk, and rewarded myself with a big bowl of popcorn!

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Heather Richardson August 25, 2009 at 10:43 am

we recently started making our at home too. dh goes through it a lot but he really does want a popper b/c he says its a LOT of work on the stove top…ok he’s lazy. also the kernals i found about $2 a bag at walmart for their brand.

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Selene Montgomery August 25, 2009 at 10:53 am

Popcorn is one of my favorite snacks. I don’t like the taste of store-bought microwave popcorn, so I make my own on top of the stove. I use a pasta pot (lid has holes in it) which lets the steam out and keeps the popcorn from getting soggy. I don’t need butter on mine, so I spray it with non-stick spray after it’s done to get the salt to stick to the popped kernels.

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Ashly August 25, 2009 at 12:22 pm

I eat this weekly…sometime several times a week :) It is a comfort food for me – when I was young, we used to have family night every Sunday and curl up with a movie or board game and eat popcorn. mmm

I love it with butter, a little salt and parmesan cheese.

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jan August 25, 2009 at 12:31 pm

another frugal benefit is that the pan can multi-task! It doesn’t have to just make popcorn!

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Mary W August 25, 2009 at 12:44 pm

lol. For those of us over 50 on the stove in a large skillet or pot is the *normal* way to make popcorn. I was an adult before air poppers. I must admit that somewhere along the way I switched to microwave popcorn for the relatively rare instances I want popcorn at home.

You’re right the old *normal* way is much better for you and cheaper too.

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B. Keefer August 25, 2009 at 12:56 pm

I can’t remember the last time we made microwave popcorn. Ewww.

We have a Stir Crazy we use most of the time but when you make it on the stove, if you sprinkle about 1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar in the pot when you put in the oil (we buy butter flavored popcorn oil), you will make Kettle Corn. :)

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Anya August 25, 2009 at 1:54 pm

Hi–I am the Frugal Menu Mama’s mama. Just a word of caution. Years ago I too made popcorn in a pan on the stove. One day I got distracted and didn’t pay attention to the oil as it was heating and it caught on fire! That’s when we invested in the Stir-Crazy popper.

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Jenn B August 25, 2009 at 2:16 pm

It’s not just the “over 50″ crowd who’ve heard of this – I can remember my grandparents making us grandkids popcorn like this, and my parents made popcorn this way for years before switching to the microwave kind!!!

It used to be a big family affair to help make popcorn on the stove before movie night. :)

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Ray August 25, 2009 at 3:48 pm

Joy, great article and thanks for including a link to my popcorn article on Tip Hero. One thing I’ve found is that if your popcorn popper sits in some drawer you don’t use it as much (out of site out, of mind i guess). I leave mine out on the counter and I have a clear container of popcorn kernels sitting right next to it. I’ve found that I use my popcorn popper a lot more when it’s right in front of me. This saves me a bunch because popcorn is one of the cheapest snacks around. I read on somewhere that popcorn became popular in the great depression due its low cost. Thanks, Ray

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Georgetta August 25, 2009 at 5:57 pm

I spent about 6 dollars on a microwave popper that uses non-microwave kernals. I LOVE it. A big bowl of popcorn in 2 minutes, and not as noisy as my old air popper!

A year ago I quit putting butter on my popcorn –and the kids popcorn– and I use light-tasting olive oil instead (just as healthy as extravirgin olive oil, but lighter tasting). I sprinkled parmesan cheese on the popcorn and the kids NEVER NOTICED that I hadn’t used butter. I don’t use the cheese anymore, and they still love it.

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Karen August 25, 2009 at 6:58 pm

Our family loves popcorn. The kids especially liked it when I would make it special by adding some cinnamon sugar to it. As a matter of fact, they are in college and are sharing that with their friends too.

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Heather August 25, 2009 at 9:55 pm

Wow, now I feel old….even tho I’m only 35. When I was little, my mom made popcorn on the stovetop too. We even had a contraption to make popcorn over a fire…long handle with a metal basket on the end. :) The stovetop was normal until we upgraded to an air popper when I was probably in high school…which we thought was the coolest invention ever. I was in college before I had microwave popcorn.

My mom had the best popcorn salt…no clue what kind. No other popcorn is as good. :) Thanks for the memory lane trip….

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Crista August 25, 2009 at 11:17 pm

I have a friend (age 28) who’s favorite way to make popcorn is on the stove – she does it several times a week just for herself. I have a Stir Crazy. I use the popcorn oil to make it, our favorite kernels are $1.89 for a 4-lb bag, and I buy seasoning that costs $1.79 and lasts us a while. I have 4 kids and we eat 2 batches (12 qts) in one sitting. It has definitely saved us a ton of money, and we all like our personally flavored popcorn better than the microwave stuff!

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Laurie August 26, 2009 at 6:29 am

Stove top popcorn with real butter and salt is awesome!!

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Afolayan December 8, 2012 at 8:57 am

to put down, there’s a block where a bag is thicker?? it’s to make a buettr or oil in a bag feverishness up sufficient to pop a popcorn you do not have this with a unchanging paper bag, so not usually will we have a glow in your microwave though you’ll have unpopped popcorn not really tantalizing if i do contend so myself

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Linda August 26, 2009 at 6:30 am

I have been making my own microwave popcorn for about 6 months now. I use about 1/3 cup popcorn kernels. Toss gently with a very small splash (1/2 tsp, maybe?) canola or olive oil. Add some salt to taste, stir gently. Dump in a lunch size brown bag, fold down the top twice. Place in microwave standing up (not on side!). Cook for about 2 minutes. You will want to keep a close eye on it – you don’t want to over cook it, like I did the first couple times! :) It makes great popcorn!

I got some store-bought m/w popcorn the other day because I had a coupon. It doesn’t taste nearly as good as my homemade m/w popcorn! And more expensive (even with a coupon and sale).

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Mary August 26, 2009 at 9:12 am

My son dared me to tell this, I bought a 50lb bag of popcorn at Sam’s club in february. They said I was nuts but we have eaten 3/4 of the bag already. At this rate it won’t last a year. Mary

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Blakely August 26, 2009 at 10:22 am

I have had the best luck finding bags of popcorn kernels at Big Lots. Each time I have gotten them they have been Jolly Time for $0.89 a bag.

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Joy@Frugal Menu Mamas August 26, 2009 at 9:11 pm

Mary-We went to Sam’s on Sunday and I decided to look for popcorn. We found that 50 lb. bag. We laughed about it, but decided against it. The only way I could figure to store it was in a dog food container and my husband said no way. :) When we read your comment, we just cracked up! You go! I now wish I’d had the guts to buy the 50 lb. bag! :)
Joy

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The Prudent Homemaker August 28, 2009 at 11:14 pm

Joy,

We buy the 50lb bag of popcorn at Sam’s. We store it in a 6-gallon food-grade bucket with a gamma lid. For easy access to our Sunday snack (which it is here), we keep a quart jar full to take into the kitchen from our pantry. The 50lb bag last my family of 7 one year. You can also grind it in a grain grinder for fresh cornmeal if you want.

The popcorn oil at Sam’s is fantastic, too! We use that (2 TBSP per batch) and some salt. We have found that we don’t have use any butter with it.

You can see pictures of my buckets in my pantry pictures; the popcorn is in the bucket with the yellow lid :)

I have several links on my grains page for sources for food-grade buckets and gamma lids. I use them for flour, rice (the 50lb bag from Sam’s, also), beans, oats, sugar, powdered milk and wheat. They are wonderful to have!

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