(Family Features) Whether you're gathering the neighborhood kids for a backyard celebration or going on a weekend hike with family, you can make fueling up for the fun easy with snacks the whole family can enjoy.
Everyone loves popcorn, and this tasty treat is easy to incorporate into a wide range of nibbles perfect for summer. Popcorn's wholesome taste makes it an excellent partner to ingredients that tease your taste buds with flavors that are sweet, salty or even zesty.
Creating a delicious trail mix to carry on an adventurous hike is a cinch when you combine fresh popcorn with your favorite sweet dried fruits and lightly salted nuts. Or, if you're staying closer to home, use popcorn treats as a more nutritious alternative to traditional party desserts.
Each of these recipes features freshly popped popcorn paired with common ingredients that appeal to both kids and adults for summery snacks that are big on both flavor and fun.
For more creative recipes that give some pop to your summer, visit www.popcorn.org.
Sweet N Salty Popcorn Pretzel Sticks
Yield: 6 sticks
6 tablespoons peanut butter
6 large pretzel rods
3 cups popped popcorn
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
Spread 1 tablespoon of peanut butter over each pretzel, leaving a two-inch "handle" without peanut butter.
Press and roll popcorn onto peanut butter to coat. Sprinkle with sugar sprinkles.
For optional chocolate drizzle, place chocolate chips in small sealable plastic bag and seal. Microwave 30 seconds or until chocolate is melted. Clip small corner from bag and squeeze to drizzle chocolate over popcorn.
Sprinkle with additional sugar sprinkles. Allow chocolate to harden before serving.
Chili Lime Popcorn Snack Mix
Yield: 1 quart
1 quart popped popcorn
1 teaspoon brewer's yeast powder
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 300°F.
Spread popcorn on baking sheet. Sprinkle yeast powder, lime juice, chili powder and salt over popcorn.
Heat about seven minutes and toss just before serving. Serve warm.
Blueberry & Pomegranate Power Bars
Yield: 12 bars
8 cups popped popcorn
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup dried blueberries
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup toasted and coarsely chopped whole natural almonds
2/3 cup honey
2/3 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
6 ounces melted bittersweet chocolate
Line 13-by-9-inch pan with foil; spray with cooking spray.
Combine popcorn, oats, blueberries, pomegranate seeds and almonds in large bowl.
Combine honey, brown sugar and butter in small saucepan. Cook over low heat to boiling; boil two minutes. Pour over popcorn mixture and mix thoroughly.
Using damp hands, press mixture firmly into prepared pan. Refrigerate until firm, about two hours. Cut into 12 bars.
Dip bottoms of bars into melted chocolate. Place on wax paper-lined pan. Store in tight covered container in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Popcorn Trail Mix
Yield: 5 cups
1 quart popped popcorn (air popped)
6 ounces diced, dried fruit (apricots, apples, etc.)
8 ounces raisins
Place freshly popped popcorn in large bowl. Add diced fruit and raisins. Toss popcorn and fruit until combined thoroughly.
Note: Add whatever fixings your family enjoys: dried fruits, seeds, nuts, etc.
Yield: 20 pieces
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
10 cups freshly popped popcorn
1 package (10 1/2 ounces) miniature marshmallows
2 cups mini graham cookies (teddy bears)
1 cup chocolate chips
Combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup in medium saucepan. Cook over high heat for five minutes; remove from heat and stir in baking soda.
Combine popcorn and marshmallows in large bowl. Pour sugar mixture over popcorn to coat.
Gently stir in graham cookies and chocolate chips.
Spread mixture evenly into greased 15-by-10-inch pan. Let cool completely, then break into pieces. Store in airtight container.
Source: The Popcorn Board