Freshly popped popcorn is drizzled in real butter and sprinkled with a savory mixture of Parmesan, dried herbs, and spices for Parmesan Ranch Popcorn, a perfect movie night treat!
Between three crazy kids, two busy jobs, and a partridge in a pear tree, movie night is one of our favorite ways to unwind after a long, hectic week — and reconnect as a family — come Friday evening. Granted, due to the varied ages and interests of our offspring, it’s sometimes hard to arrive at a consensus as far as what to watch. When the boys vote for The Sandlot, the girl votes for Moana, and the parents resign themselves to watching Disney movies for many years to come.
But one thing we can always agree on is that Family Movie Night requires a tasty snack! All the better if that snack calls to mind some of the (ridiculously overpriced) fare at an actual movie theater. Popcorn is an appropriate-if-not-stereotypical choice, and some of our family-favorite homemade flavors include Brown Butter Cinnamon Sugar Popcorn and Rosemary Parmesan Popcorn.
But I recently decided that we need to shake things up a bit with a new flavor. Enter Parmesan Ranch Popcorn. It starts with fresh, air-popped popcorn, tossed in decadent butter and sprinkled with a mixture of Parmesan cheese and ranch dressing-esque herbs and spices.
The result is scrumptious, addictive popcorn with the overt salty-cheesiness of Parmesan and a decidedly ranch undertone. The kids scarfed it down. And the adults were so enamored with it that we could almost pretend we were watching an Oscar-worthy flick as opposed to a movie catering to the under-10 set. 😉
There are a few easy tricks behind this recipe. First off, I like to pop my plain popcorn kernels in a brown paper bag in the microwave. No fuss, no mess, and no icky chemical additives like those found in microwave popcorn. However, if you have an alternative popcorn-popping method that you prefer, feel free to use that instead.
Next, I’ve figured out a butter-related trick that diminishes the chance of soggy popcorn. Once your butter is melted (in a glass measuring cup in the microwave or in a little saucepan on the stove), let it sit for a couple of minutes. Then use a spoon to skim (and discard) the foamy layer from the surface of the melted butter. When you’re ready to drizzle the butter over the popcorn, do so slowly, and stop just short of allowing the thick butter solids to pour out. Leave those at the bottom of the measuring cup/saucepan.
The purpose of only using the clear, bright yellow layer of melted butter is that you’re essentially drizzling your popcorn with clarified butter. And since clarified butter is pure butterfat — with excess water and milk proteins removed — your popcorn is less likely to become wet and soggy. Yay!
My final Ranch Parmesan Popcorn secret is that I like to measure out the Parmesan, dried herbs, and spices into a mini food processor or blender. Then I whirl everything together until it’s all pulverized into a fine powder.
The powder distributes the flavors and coats the popcorn more evenly than would be accomplished by simply mixing everything together.
So who’s ready for movie night? And what’s on your marquee? Let me know which recent grown-up movies you recommend (since I haven’t seen one of those in a theater since, ohhhh, circa-2006), and perhaps our next Ranch Parmesan Popcorn-fueled movie night will occur after the kids go to bed! 😉
More movie night snacks…