Pop Up Cooking Creativity

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As an important life skill, learning to cook and becoming familiar with kitchen basics can be an exciting adventure for kids from toddlers to teens. Using a delicious childhood favorite like popcorn as the key ingredient at the center of your lessons can spur interest and enthusiasm. 

While it’s important to start with easy techniques that introduce future chefs to the culinary world, it’s also helpful to ensure they’ll enjoy eating their first creations so they’ll be eager for more time in the kitchen. 

­­­­These simple yet delicious recipes and tips can help you get your kids involved in the kitchen.


ENCOURAGE CREATIVITY 

Making learning fun is an important introduction to the world of cooking. Starting with a versatile base ingredient like popcorn that’s naturally low in fat and calories, encourage your child to get creative with a recipe like Pop-a-rific Popcorn Balls. With simple variations like adding food coloring or mixing in candies, nuts or dried fruit, it’s a colorful way for little ones to build confidence in their skills. 

MEASURE INGREDIENTS 

A key component to recipes of all difficulty levels, teaching measurements from teaspoons and tablespoons to cups, ounces and more is valuable knowledge. Start with the basics like ­Simple Popcorn S’mores that call for popcorn and graham crackers to be measured out in cups so your child can focus on one unit of measurement. Then, if little ones are helping, have an adult melt the chocolate and drizzle for a family-favorite snack. 

GET MESSY

Learning how to create and explore is often productive (and fun) when children can get their hands dirty. Sweet ‘n’ Salty Popcorn Pretzel Sticks are a perfect canvas for letting kiddos work directly with the ingredients as they can roll pretzels in peanut butter, add sprinkles to their heart’s content and press popcorn into their newfound favorite treat. ­­Find more kid-friendly recipes to get the whole family involved in the kitchen at popcorn.org.




SWEET ’N’ SALTY POPCORN PRETZEL STICKSServings: 6

  • 6 tbsps peanut butter
  • 6 large pretzel rods
  • 3 cups popped popcorn
  • sugar sprinkles
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

Spread 1 tablespoon peanut butter over one pretzel, leaving 2-inch “handle” without peanut butter. Repeat with remaining peanut butter and pretzels.

Press and roll popcorn onto peanut butter to coat each pretzel. Sprinkle with sugar sprinkles.

To make optional chocolate drizzle: Place chocolate chips in small resealable plastic bag and seal bag. 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.




POP-A-RIFIC POPCORN BALLS ~ Yield: 14 Balls

  • 3 quarts popped popcorn, unsalted
  • 1 package (1 pound) marshmallows
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine

Place popped popcorn in large bowl. In large saucepan over low heat, cook marshmallows and butter or margarine until melted and smooth. Pour over popcorn, tossing gently to mix well. Cool 5 minutes. Butter hands well and form into 2 1/2-inch balls. 

VARIATIONS: To color popcorn balls, add 3-4 drops of food coloring to smooth marshmallow mixture. Mix well to distribute color evenly then pour over popcorn as instructed.

Mix in candies, nuts or dried fruit after mixing popcorn and melted marshmallows. Stir to distribute then form into balls.

Place nonpareils in shallow bowl or plate. Roll popcorn balls in nonpareils after forming.



#16274 ~ Source: Popcorn Board (Family Features)