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I was invited to do a cooking demo this weekend focused on fall appetizers. The audience was working moms {this is my jam} so I completely understand time constraints, grocery delivery and working with little kiddos at your feet. I carefully selected four recipes for their ability to either be made ahead and stored in the freezer or thrown together at the last minute. It was this Thanksgiving-themed popcorn that was almost gone before I could snag a picture. The original recipe comes from Food Network Magazine, but I've made tweaks that I feel simplify the entire process.

Thanksgiving-themed popcorn

What drew me to this popcorn recipe was that I can have all the ingredients on hand and whip it up from seemingly nowhere to feed a hungry crowd before dinner is ready. You may be thinking, popcorn as an appetizer? Once you taste these ingredients together, you will understand why it totally fits in this category.

The original recipe has us putting vegetable oil in a dutch oven and popping the kernels on the stove. I personally have a silicone air popper that goes in the microwave thanks to my sister in law, and I prefer making popcorn that way. Orville Redenbacher's microwave popcorn is lovely too.

Adjust the measurements for the other ingredients for your taste, I am basing these amounts on 16 cups of popped popcorn. Depending on how old the kernels are, will determine how many don't pop. 1/2 cup of kernels, which is equivalent to 4 ounces, will make approximately four quarts (or 16 cups or 1 gallon) of popped popcorn.


Popcorn - 1/2 cup kernels or 16 cups popped

4 tablespoons butter

2 teaspoons poultry seasoning

2 cups roughly chopped pecans *See extra note at bottom

2 cups crushed apple chips (Buy this where dehydrated fruit is sold, near the raisins, and break the apple chips into small pieces)

1 1/2 cups dried cranberries

Melt the butter in the microwave and then whisk in the poultry seasoning. Combine the popcorn, pecans, apple chips, and dried cranberries in a large bowl. Drizzle with the butter mixture, season with salt and toss.

Optional Toppings

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme

12 Sage Leaves

The fresh herbs are listed as optional because the poultry seasoning has dried sage, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, and nutmeg. If you are feeling "extra" then, by all means, go for it, but I don't think the fresh herbs are a necessity.

If I were to pick one to use from the list, it would be the fresh sage. Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Fry 6–8 fat sage leaves at a time until crisp, 2–3 seconds. Transfer with a fork to paper towels and sprinkle generously with coarse salt. When you assemble the popcorn, crumble the fried sage over the top like a garnish.

Speaking of extra, if you have time to candy the pecans first, it would completely elevate this fancy popcorn. Follow the directions for Quick Candied Pecans here, made on the stove-top in 5 minutes.

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Cheryl Clise
Cheryl Clise
Nov 12, 2018

Mandy!!! What i love about your recipes is the shortcuts!!! Buy microwave popcorn, precut veggies, etc to still make amazing meals and snacks that taste amazing and don’t take forever to do! Thanks for the inspirations sister

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